More and more Brits are choosing to holiday in the UK – but should you be taking out travel insurance if you’re not going abroad? Three quarters (75%) of UK adults have been on or were planning a UK-based holiday last year – up 70% in 2016, according to research by Barclays. But while more people are opting for a staycation instead of jetting off abroad, most are unaware that they may need to travel insurance.
This means that as the late May Bank Holiday approaches and summer holiday season gets underway, lots of people could find themselves losing out. Whether you’re planning on trekking through the Scottish Highlands or heading to the Cornish coast, we take a look at whether or not you need travel insurance for a UK holiday.
Top UK Holiday destinations
UK-based holiday makers are flocking to locations all over the nation.
New research, from Travelodge, has revealed the top 10 most popular holiday destinations in the UK last year. Cornwall took top spot while Devon and The Lake District came in second and third place.
Do you need insurance for UK holidays?
Lots of UK-based holidaymakers assume that you don’t need travel insurance since you’re essentially staying in the same country. But unexpected and costly problems are could arise on a staycation just as they could on a trip abroad.
While access to the NHS can make insurance unnecessary for unexpected illness or injury, additional protection may be needed for other aspects of your holiday and anyone else travelling with you – including cover for lost or stolen luggage, travel delays or cancellations. Whether you need travel insurance will depend on how much you’re planning to spend and the risk of something going wrong. It’s worth thinking about how much money you’re likely to lose if the trip – or any portion of it – is cancelled, what valuables you’ll have with you, and the likelihood of issues arising.
Not all trips will need cover – a weekend away at the seaside may not require insurance cover, while a week-long bicycle adventure in the remote countryside may make it worthwhile.
What does UK travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance for UK holidays covers the same breadth of scenarios as when you’d get when travelling abroad. Most policies will include the following:-
Cancelling your holiday can be extremely costly and could cause you to lose the entire cost of your trip, including accommodation and transport. But if you had no choice – for example, if you or a family member becomes ill or injured – cancellation cover can help you claim back any money you might lose.
Be sure to check your policy wording though, as some insurers will only protect you from the start date of your trip. This means you won’t be covered for cancellations due to problems you had before your cover was due to start.
Travel delays and cancellations
If you’ve had to book transport in advance – including ferries, coaches, trains and planes – a travel insurance policy will cover you if you run into unexpected delays or cancellations. Keep in mind that transport providers may not need to refund you if a trip is cancelled due to factors beyond their control – including some weather events – so insurance cover can provide peace of mind.
Some travel insurance providers exclude cover for internal flights so make sure you check with your insurer first.
Some holidaymakers assume that their home contents insurance policy will cover their belongings when they’re away – but this isn’t always the case. While personal possessions cover is designed to protect portable belongings, expensive items like a bike, mobile phone, tablet or even jewellery might fall outside of the limits of your policy. Things like your passport are unlikely to be covered by your contents insurance if it’s lost or stolen while you’re away either.
But another point to consider is that you could lose your no claims bonus on your contents insurance if you have to make a claim – so make sure the value of the item is worth the increased cost of your cover in future.
Thanks to the NHS, the cost of treating unexpected illnesses or injury during your UK stay isn’t so much of a worry. Issues may arise, however, when it comes to the location of your treatment. Should you need to go to hospital, you will be taken to one closest to your holiday location rather than where you live for treatment.
Some travel insurance policies will cover the cost of having you transferred to a hospital closer to your home, as well as covering the cost of travel for your friends or family to accompany you there too.
What doesn’t UK travel insurance cover?
Certain UK holidays won’t be covered by travel insurance. These include:
Most travel insurance policies will only cover a UK holiday if the accommodation is pre-booked and your stay is for more than two or three consecutive nights.
Staying close to home
The majority of insurers require you to travel at least 50 miles away from your home for a policy to be valid. So make sure you double check that your holiday destination is far enough away from your home before taking out a policy.
Staying with family
Most travel insurance policies will only cover stays at commercial establishments like a hotel or B&B.
Getting the right level of cover
When it comes to travel insurance, getting the right level of cover is key.
It’s important to start looking early on – ideally around the time that you’re finalising the details of your trip. This will give you enough time to shop around, clarify what the insurer will and won’t cover, and ultimately find the best policy to suit your needs. Avoid just going for the cheapest deal, as it may not suitable for your holiday and fail to protect you should things go wrong.
A travel cot may seem a simple piece of kit you pop up while on holiday, then pack away. But keeping an eye on safe sleeping practices is just as important when you’re on your travels with your baby as it is when you’re at home. With the Easter holidays looming and parents heading off for a break with little ones, follow the five tips below from our travel cot experts to keep your little one safe while sleeping on the go.
Travel cot safety tips:
1) Keep it stable
Use the mattress that comes with the travel cot, as this is a key component in helping keep the travel cot stable. Some may seem thin, or hard, but using a different mattress may alter how well your travel cot holds up.
2) Don’t make escape too easy
Buy a new mattress, as lots of parents or carers do, and you could be inadvertently shortening the height between the top of the mattress and the cot, making it easier for determined toddlers to escape.
When we put this to the test on a number of travel cots, the distance between the mattress and the top of the cot ended up too short on just about all those we tested.
3) Beware of travel cot corners
Your baby’s clothes can snag on travel cot corners, which could lead to strangulation. Especially if your little climber decides to scale the sides in the night, or attempts an escape while your back is turned. All travel cots we review have to pass a snag test, where we dangle a heavy metal ball from a chain on the corners to check your baby can’t get caught.
4) Watch out for flexible sides
Pop-up tent-style travel cots may be super-easy to put up and take down again, and look pretty cool, but the lack of rigid sides on these travel cots means they may not take your weight if you accidentally stumble in the night and fall onto the cot. So, if you’re using this style of travel cot, be extra vigilant.
5) Keep an eye on zips
Stay alert of little people around any zips on your travel cot. The zips can sometimes easily detach from the mattress.
They shouldn’t, but on some of the mattresses tested in our latest travel cots reviews, the zips came away. If a zip finds its way into your baby’s mouth, it’s a potential choking hazard or, worse still, it could then be inhaled by accident.
6) Try before your trip
Lastly, whether or not it’s a new travel cot, it’s worth popping it up before you pop off on your travels. Lisa Galliers, Which? baby & child expert says: ‘Set it up in advance of your trip and you can check it’s sturdy, that all the locking mechanism works and it will be a safe and comfy place for your baby to rest while you’re away.’
Best travel cots
Our latest, just published, travel cot reviews put big-name brands such as BabyBjorn and Nuna through a range of tough tests based on British Standards testing – making sure they’re safe, sturdy and durable for your baby.
Follow the links below to read more on your favourite:
Not sure what sort of travel cot you need and how much to spend?
With the pound weakening against the euro, just over half of Brits are planning to stay in the UK these summer holidays. But a ‘staycation’ can still cost you a hefty sum – here’s how to keep your costs down when holidaying in the UK. An annual holiday index from Travelodge found that 55% of Brits are planning to holiday in the UK this year rather than travelling overseas, with Cornwall proving the most popular local destination.
But even without flying to distant shores, taking the family on holiday can be a major expense. Which? explains the best tips for saving cash on your British getaway. Find out more: 50 ways to save money – find out how to save up for your holiday
Take advantage of free sites and events:
Britain boasts sightseeing opportunities which are among the best in the world, according to a Which? survey. Avebury in Wiltshire – which is free to visit – was rated as providing a better visitor experience than the Taj Mahal and the pyramids of Eqypt. While popular cultural events such as the Edinburgh Fringe have seen their ticket prices increase in recent years, most festivals will offer an array of free pub shows and street performers.
Free events are also offered by many local authorities throughout the summer.
2. Look into multi-site passes for city-breaks
Many destinations in Britain offer ‘city passes’, which promise discounted or free entry into a number of major tourist sites. The York Pass, for example, offers 3-days of site-seeing for ?58.50, including entry to over 30 attractions.
The London Pass, which comes at varying price points, will get you into over 70 sites. But before you buy, work out what you actually want to see and how much you might realistically spend – otherwise, a bundle ticket may not be worthwhile. Find out more: Travelling with children – our guide to bringing along the family
Secure discounted theatre tickets
If your holiday plans include a night at the theatre, you can save money by taking advantage of discount ticket options. In London’s West End, many shows offer rush tickets – often sold an hour before the show starts – which provide seats at a low cost. Many shows also offer ticket lotteries, which allow you to enter for a chance to win ?20 tickets the same night.
However, be cautious around ticket re-sale sites – you may be denied entry if you do not buy your ticket from an official vendor. Find out more: How can I protect myself from dodgy ticket selling?
4. Book your train ticket in advance
You can save up to 87% on your train fare if you book in advance.
The following train companies offer discounted tickets for advance bookings: CrossCounty, Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Northern, Transpennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Virgin West Coast and Caledonian Sleeper. Which? research from earlier this year found you can get fares for less than ?20 on popular routes.Examples of Advance ticket savings Journey Anytime fare Advance fare % saving London Kings Cross to Leeds ?119.50 ?15.50 87% Manchester Oxford Road to Glasgow ?69.00 ?13.00 81% Ipswich to Sheffield ?80.50 ?30.60 80% Birmingham New Street to London Euston ?88.00 ?22.00 75% Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston ?142.00 ?37.00 74%
Fares gathered on 4 January 2017. Advance fares based on first train after 8am on 29 March 2017.
5. Consider a house swap
As an alternative to hotels, consider swapping your house with another family who live in a destination you’d like to visit. A number of new online platforms have made it easier than ever to organise a house swap.
6. Rent your home out on Airbnb
If you’re going away for a longer time, you could consider renting out your home on Airbnb to earn a bit of extra cash. However, many landlords will not approve of tenants sub-letting their property.
If you own your home, but have a mortgage, you may also find that listing on AirBnb may breach your mortgage contract terms and conditions. If you do decide to use Airbnb or another accommodation platform, make sure you know the local regulations and have comprehensive insurance that covers paying guests.
7. Avoid bank holidays
Prices tend to skyrocket over school holidays – but bank holidays tend to attract even higher premiums.
The weekend of 28 August is the last bank holiday in England this summer. If possible, plan your holiday to avoid that date, as you could face higher accommodation and travel costs.
8. Book over a Sunday night
People tend to check out of hotels on Sunday, so you may get a bargain by booking over Sunday night.
If you’re considering a weekend break, see if you can incorporate Sunday into your stay – many hotels offer an overall discount for Sunday nights.
9. Stay in university rooms
In many cities, university halls offer cheap accommodation to travellers during the uni breaks. While the rooms might not be the most luxurious, many are well-located in the city centre and you can nab them at fairly low rates – in Bath for example, rooms at Eastwood Halls are offered for as little as ?36 per night.
Book your UK hire car before you leave
Booking your rental car in advance and online can save you a substantial amount – and there are a number of other ways to cut the cost of your car hire. If you’re planning to book a rental car, have a look at our recent checklist on slashing car hire costs. Find out more: Car hire tips – how to get the best rental deal
Walk or bike around
While getting to your destination can be expensive, many people forget to factor in the cost of getting around while on holiday, including train fares, tours and bus tickets.
If possible, plan your accommodation to make it possible to walk to major sites.
Alternatively, London offers a cheap cycle sharing scheme, while many destinations offer affordable bike hire.
- ^ 50 ways to save money (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ providing a better visitor experience than the Taj Mahal and the pyramids of Eqypt (conversation.which.co.uk)
- ^ Travelling with children (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ be cautious around ticket re-sale sites (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ How can I protect myself from dodgy ticket selling? (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ 10 tips for finding cheap train tickets (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ a comprehensive contract (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ may breach your mortgage contract (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ recent checklist on slashing car hire costs. (www.which.co.uk)
- ^ Car hire tips (www.which.co.uk)