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Travel insurance for UK

Travelling to the UK? Here's how to find insurance with COVID benefits, trip cancellation cover, protection for your personal belongings and more.

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If you're visiting the United Kingdom for your next trip, you'll want to make sure you're protected against a range of mishaps. Travel insurance can protect you from many of these. Let's take a look.

Why do I need travel insurance for the UK?

Comprehensive travel cover has a range of key benefits for Australian visitors to the UK. These include:

  • Trip cancellation and delays. For example, flights can often be cancelled and many airlines will make you purchase a new ticket - just one reason why travel insurance is pivotal.
  • Overseas medical expenses. Travel Insurance covers the cost required to pay for private medical treatment and hospital stays if they arise.
  • Repatriation cover. If you need to be evacuated and go back to Australia unexpectedly, travel insurance can protect you against the financial implications.
  • Loss of luggage and personal belonging. In faraway countries like the UK, you may lose personal items. Several travel insurance options are designed to cover these circumstances.
  • Rental vehicle damages. If you rent a vehicle, you are exposed to many risks especially in a country with different road rules.
  • COVID-19 benefits. A growing number of insurers are offering specific cover for coronavirus. For example, trip rearrangement costs if you or your travel companion gets COVID either before or during your trip.

Get a quote for UK travel insurance

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Worried about COVID-19?

You're not the only one. Travel insurance companies are now offering some cover for coronavirus. So you can travel with more peace of mind.

Get travel insurance for COVID-19

Key insurance questions you'll want to ask yourself

If you're in the market for a comprehensive travel insurance policy for your next trip to the UK, ask yourself:

  • Am I covered for overseas medical expenses? This includes emergency ambulance, medical, hospital and dental expenses you incur while overseas. If necessary, medical repatriation back to Australia will also be included in your cover.
  • Are my luggage and personal effects covered? If your luggage and personal effects are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip, you’ll receive cover for the cost of their repair or replacement.
  • What happens if my luggage is delayed? If an airline loses or misplaces your luggage for more than a minimum period of time, you’ll receive an allowance to purchase emergency clothing and toiletries.
  • What if my travel is delayed. If your pre-paid scheduled transport is delayed, cancelled or rescheduled, you’ll receive cover for additional meals, transfers and accommodation expenses you incur.
  • Am I covered for cancellation? If unforeseen circumstances (for example illness) force you to cancel your trip, you’ll be reimbursed for any cancellation fees and lost deposits.
  • Are additional expenses covered? This covers the additional expenses you incur as a result of certain unforeseen circumstances, such as the death of your travelling partner, natural disaster or strike.
  • What happens if my cash is stolen? You will be covered for cash stolen from your person.
  • Are my travel documents covered? If your passport or travel documents are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be covered for the cost of their replacement.
  • Am I covered for personal liability? This covers you when you are legally liable for injuring a third party or damaging their property.
  • Do I need rental vehicle excess insurance? If your rental car is crashed, stolen or damaged, your policy will cover the cost of the rental company’s insurance excess.
  • Am I covered for accidental death? Your beneficiaries will receive a benefit if you die due to an injury suffered on your trip.
  • Will you cover my pre-existing medical conditions? This is an important question if you have a long or complicated medical history
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How do I find the right policy?

  • Should I get cover through a travel agent? While it may be convenient to take out a policy through a travel agent, agents may charge commissions on top of the price of your policy. It is worth reviewing your options direct and comparing the prices with what you're being offered by a travel agent.
  • What do I need out of my cover? Ask yourself: are you looking for no-frills cover or a comprehensive policy? Do you need cover for one trip or would you save money by opting for an annual multi-trip policy? What activities do you plan on participating in during your trip to the UK? Finding answers to these questions may help you when it comes to sorting through the travel insurance policies out there.
  • Should I shop around? Like with any financial product, it pays to shop around. Comparing your options helps you get an idea about which policies offer value for money.
  • Why should I read the PDS? It’s important that you read all product disclosure statements closely to find out the exact level of cover offered by each policy. This will ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises in the future and will also help you determine the true value of the quotes you are given.
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What to look for in a single travel insurance policy

Doesn't the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement cover me in the UK?

The Australian Government has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement in place with the UK.

This means that:

  • The cost of some of your hospital treatment in the UK’s public health system will be covered while you’re overseas. This is similar in some ways to how Medicare helps cover some of your medical expenses in Australia.

However:

  • You will not be covered for unlimited medical expenses or the treatment of any existing medical conditions you may have
  • You will only be covered medical costs you incur in the UK if it would be unreasonable for you to delay treatment until you return to Australia
  • If a doctor recommends that the right course of action is for you to be medically evacuated to Australia, the cost involved will not be covered

There is no substitute for travel insurance.

The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement should by no means be considered a replacement for travel insurance. Not only does it not provide sufficient coverage for medical emergencies, but it also doesn’t cover any of the other risks that travel insurance protects against, such as cancelled or delayed trips, lost or stolen luggage and personal liability. For a peace of mind and protection against such risks, travel insurance for the UK is highly recommended.

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Does travel insurance for the UK cover working in the UK?

There are specialist travel insurance brands available that offer working holiday travel insurance policies. These are much the same as regular travel insurance policies but they also offer cover for claims related to the work you engage in overseas.

Some working holidaymakers plan to take extended trips overseas, perhaps for up to 18 months e.g. you may plan to base yourself in the UK and then take several trips to destinations throughout Europe during the course of a year. If you’re planning such a trip there are points you need to consider.

  • Check the maximum trip duration that your policy covers. There are other policies available (sometimes called backpacker insurance) that will cover you for trips up to 18 months duration.
  • You may wish to consider annual multi-trip cover. These policies provide travel insurance cover for all the journeys you take during a 12-month period, and they can be a lower cost option than taking out a separate policy for each trip. However, keep in mind that such policies, if purchased in Australia, will usually only cover you for trips that start and end in Australia — so if you’re based in the UK for an extended period of time you will need to purchase your insurance over there.

You can read more about working in the UK here.

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I want to travel to the UK as well as the surrounding countries – am I covered for this?

Happily, many insurers will include the UK and the rest of Europe in one region. For example, FastCover offers coverage for Europe, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom as one region. This makes it easy to make sure that you will be covered for the entirety of your trip. However,, note:

  • Provide full details of itinerary. When you apply for a travel insurance policy it’s important that you provide full details of countries you intend to visit. This is because the type of policy many insurers offer is affected by where you plan on travelling.
  • Some insurers class regions differently. There are some insurers that class the UK in a separate region to continental Europe.
  • Read the fine print. Read your policy closely to work out exactly where and when you will and will not be covered.
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What are the UK specific risks I am exposed to when travelling in the UK?

Although the UK can be considered a safer travel destination than many other places around the world, there are still some potential risks you should consider before travelling including:

  • Terrorism risk. Terrorism is currently a potential threat, motivated by conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Additionally, authorities in the UK have currently set the international terrorism threat level to ‘severe’.
  • Delay risk. Because of increased security precautions, checks for baggage at airports could cause extensive delays and subsequent costs.
  • General travel risks Regardless of where you are in the world, luggage can be lost or stolen, flights can be delayed and accidents can happen. With this in mind, having the right cover in place before you leave for the UK is essential.

Be smart when you travel to the UK and do the following:

  • Organise adequate travel insurance.
  • Register travel and contact details with Smartraveller.
  • Remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.
  • Pay attention to the media.
  • Take the safest, clearest routes when commuting.
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Who do I contact in an emergency?

You can contact your travel insurer in cases of emergencies as they should have a 24 hour number and is usually the ideal party to talk to in assisting with financial emergencies. If the emergency does require consular assistance, you can contact the Australian High Commission in London. Contact details are as follows:

Australian High Commission in London

Address: WC 2B 4LA, United Kingdom Phone number: (44 20) 7379 4334 www.uk.highcommision.gov.au Other information resources:

City Information Centre

St. Paul's Churchyard, City of London. Phone: +44 (0)20 7332 1456

Edinburgh And Scotland Information Centre

249 High Street, Edinburgh, City Of Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ. Phone: 0131 473 3820

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Are there any travel tips that can help me?

The UK and Europe might seem like fairly similar places to Australia in a lot of ways, but there are a number of handy tips that all travellers should be aware of to help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip:

  • While they drive on the left-hand side of the road in the UK, remember that the rest of Europe drives on the right
  • It’s strongly recommended to carry certain safety items in your vehicle, including a warning triangle, reflective jacket or waistcoat, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, winter tyres and snow chains
  • If you’re in the far left lane on a motorway in Italy, France or Germany, know that this lane is for overtaking only
  • If something goes wrong overseas, you are not entitled to any Australian Government assistance
  • Keep copies of receipts, police reports and other pertinent documents to back up any insurance claims
  • Make use of the tube system in London, and pre-book to save money
  • Ferry system is the quickest way to get to Europe from the UK
  • A visa is required if you are going there for more than 6 months. Make sure you apply in advance, as travel insurance can't cover you for cancellations due to visa denials.
  • Shop around for UK travel insurance cover. This will ensure that you find a great deal for your needs.
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Are there any exclusions I need to be aware of?

Just like any other type of cover, UK travel insurance policies also contain a list of exclusions. Your claim will typically not be paid if:

  • you leave your belongings unattended and they are lost or stolen
  • you have a pre-existing medical condition that you didn’t disclose to your travel insurance brand when you applied for cover
  • you engage in reckless activities, for example drinking to excess or taking drugs
  • you engage in high-risk activities, for example skydiving
  • you travel to a region where the Australian Government has issued a travel advisory warning against visiting such a place
  • you fail to comply with the road rules
  • your claim results from you participating in criminal or unlawful activity
  • you travel in the last trimester of your pregnancy and then suffer related complications
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Questions you might still have about UK Travel Insurance

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