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Cover yourself properly for UK holidays

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As the number of people planning on staying in the UK for their holiday rises, holidaymakers have to ensure they are covered by travel insurance.

Domestic holidays, particularly the short break kind, are growing in popularity as people look closer to home for their rest and relaxation. Recent domestic tourism stats show that the number of people planning a short break in the UK has increased from 40% to 46% as they look for alternatives to taking short breaks abroad and to supplement the annual holiday abroad. Furthermore, 21% of holidaymakers plan on switching their foreign holiday to a domestic holiday in order to cut costs. 51% of people are put off from travelling abroad because of flight costs and 36% are worried about the unpredictability of tour operators1.

What holidaymakers may not realise is that travel insurance has a place in the UK holiday market – many of the mishaps that occur abroad can equally occur closer to home and can help prevent a well-earned break turning into a costly experience. For a single trip policy in the UK prices start at around £12.

AXA’s own claims data shows that cancellation, baggage and curtailment are the most common claims made for domestic holidays. Half of all claims AXA receives for domestic holidays are for cancellation, at an average cost of £396, although claims can be much higher if you’re going for a week or a fortnight.

Loss or damage of baggage and personal belongings are the second most common claim, costing £183 on average. If you’re taking any valuables on holiday, it’s always advisable to keep them on you or in a locked safe, as claims for lost or stolen items will otherwise be declined.

Curtailment claims, which are made if you need to cut short your holiday, cost £339 on average. However, medical curtailment, when you need special transport home after an accident, could cost as much as £2,000 depending on the circumstances. Travel insurance can also help to bring a friend or family member to assist you if you fall ill or are injured.

Alison Patrick, Head of Travel at AXA, says: “People really value their holidays and aren’t looking to forgo them altogether even though times may be tough. Domestic tourism research shows that more people are looking to holiday in the UK to cut costs. But even if you’re only flying up to Scotland or taking a beach holiday in Cornwall, having travel insurance can help provide security and assistance. Buying an annual travel policy will ensure that you are covered for those short UK breaks as well as any trips abroad.”

UK Holiday Tips

  • Check if you’re covered: Some annual policy automatically includes UK cover, but a single policy doesn’t. UK single trip cover for a couple for 10 days from 14-24th of August without baggage cover is £12.34, with baggage and independent travellers cover it’s £18.52. For a single person and the same time period the cover without baggage is £11.75 and with baggage and independent travellers cover it is £13.23. When you book a weekend break for a couple in the UK at the end of July the price, including baggage and independent travellers cover is £11.75. An annual multi trip policy for a couple under 65 to Europe excluding baggage cover (but including UK trips) is £40.19.
  • Declare any medical conditions – even though treatment is covered by the NHS, getting yourself home after an accident will come out of your own pocket if you haven’t declared these.
  • Most insurers require you to have several nights of pre-booked accommodation in order for a claim to be valid. So if you’re staying with a friend, it won’t count. However, if you’re one of those who’ve taken up the recent trend of house-swapping, this normally involves a pre-booked element and will be valid.
  • Be aware that your policy may have different limits depending on whether you’re in the UK or abroad. The limits on AXA’s direct policy are the same apart from kennel/cattery fees and missed departure.
  • If you’re planning on doing any sports or activities on holiday, check what you’re covered for.
  • Do you need baggage cover? If you have home contents insurance, you won’t need this on your travel insurance and can bring the cost of your policy down.
  • And if you’re taking bicycles with you then you these may be covered by your home insurance or even your car insurance.
  • If you’re using your car to get to your holiday, check you’ve got breakdown cover on top of travel insurance. If you need to be towed, your travel insurance won’t cover you.
  • For those taking a caravanning break, ensure you get yourself proper caravan cover as well as your car insurance and travel cover. Travel policies will not cover you for damage or theft of the caravan although will cover you for possessions in the vehicle.

1 – ‘Economic Downturn: Impact on Domestic Tourism’, carried out by Olive Insight Feb/March 2009, online questionnaire, 1000 GB respondents. Undertaken for Visit Britain, Visit London.