Travel tips

Understanding your travel insurance policy

Last updated 8th June 2017

Jasmine Birtles guides us through some tricky travel insurance questions and gives advice on what to look out for when choosing your provider.

Medical expenses

This is absolutely the number-one feature you should look for in travel insurance. Typically, a good policy will cover you for medical costs of up to £1 million in Europe and up to £2 million in the USA.


This is another essential that safeguards your finances should you have to cancel your trip. A good policy will cover you for any travel and accommodation costs that you’ve paid for and can’t use (and can’t claim back once you’re back in the UK).

Missed departures

You should be covered for the cost of additional accommodation and travel expenses if you miss your flight, boat or train due to situations beyond your control – such as a hurricane or the Icelandic ash cloud that grounded all flights back in 2010. A good policy will cover you for £500 or more.


There are loads of sneaky ways that insurers will try to get out of compensating you here!

You’ll typically be covered for disruptions caused by industrial action, bad weather conditions or mechanical breakdowns by the airline. But you should expect the policy to cover you for £200 or more. There will be separate limits for the first 12 hours of delay and every 12 hours after.  

Travel abandonment

This is similar to cancellation in the sense that, if you have to abandon your trip or cancel your journey, you’ll be reimbursed for your travel and accommodation expenses. A good policy will cover you for at least £2,000.

Personal liability

This ensures you’re covered if you have to pay for damages for which you’re responsible. So, if you accidentally cause someone a bodily injury or damage someone’s property while on holiday, the insurer will stump up. Around £2 million is a sufficient level of cover.


You need to be covered if your baggage is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed. Look out for policies that insure you for £1,500 or more – and offers separate limits for single articles, valuables and baggage delay.