What to look for in travel insurance

5 minute read

A sign pointing to worldwide destinations

Before you head off on any travels, it’s important to consider taking out travel insurance, as this can provide financial and medical cover. But how do you choose the right policy for your journey? And what are the key features that you should look out for? Let’s explore these questions so that you can be sure that your travel insurance is right for you

Before purchasing travel insurance, it is crucial to research and compare policies to ensure you find the best coverage for your needs. In this article, we’ll break down what to look for in travel insurance, as summarised here:


Key features to consider include:

  • Medical cover
  • Emergency medical cover
  • Loss/theft of personal items
  • Personal liability
  • Cancellation cover
  • Repatriation service
  • Missed departure
  • Delays

Additional features to consider include:

  • Trip interruption coverage
  • Rental car insurance
  • Dental emergency coverage

Factors to consider when buying travel insurance include:

  • Cost
  • Excess
  • Geographical limits
  • Exclusions


What travel insurance should I get?

Start by researching and comparing different policies before you buy. Insurance companies offer different levels of coverage and you want to make sure the policy you buy covers all of your needs.

We recommend reading the terms and conditions carefully and look out for the following features:


Medical cover

This coverage can provide financial support against medical expenses should you experience an injury or illness during your trip. According to the Government’s latest figures, getting a stomach bug in America (that requires treatment and new flights home) can cost as much as £100,000. Medical insurance ensures you’re protected from these costs. However, different policies will cover a different range of medical expenses. You should always the terms and conditions to understand what protection is in place.


Emergency medical cover

When travelling abroad, you will be reimbursed for any immediate medical care costs that occur, such as hospital fees. Some providers may even offer guidance in emergencies via advice and helplines.

Loss/theft of personal items

The amount and items that are covered will depend entirely on your policy, but ideally, you want this to include baggage, passport and cash. There may be an opportunity for extra add-ons so that more personal items can be included in your policy. Don’t forget to consider excess costs should you need to claim loss or theft.


Personal liability

This will cover the costs for anything you are liable for, such as if you are held responsible for an accident that has caused injury or damage.


Repatriation service

This service refers to the arrangement made by the insurance company to get you back to your home country if you suffer a severe illness, injury or on the rare occasion a death occurs during your travels.


Missed departure

This provides compensation if you miss your pre-booked transport due to situations beyond your control, such as a vehicle breakdown on your way to the airport.



If you experience a significant delay, typically those over 12 hours, you can be provided with reimbursement for additional expenses you may incur as a result. This usually includes food, drink, and potentially even accommodation. Some policies may also offer a lump sum payment if your delay extends beyond a certain period.

A plane flying overhead

Travel insurance extras you might want to include

When evaluating a travel insurance policy, several features may be beneficial to you and should be considered as part of your selection, depending on your circumstances.


Trip interruption cover

This will cover costs associated with a trip that is interrupted due to an uncontrollable circumstance.

Car insurance

Whether you’re renting a car during your travels or taking your own vehicle with you, you’ll want to make sure you’re protected on the road.

In the case of taking your own car, check your car insurance policy first to see if you are already covered. Your policy may include European travel. Some providers also offer Car Hire Excess Insurance, so look into which policy makes the most sense for your trip. Either through your travel insurance provider or your car insurance, make sure you have the right cover while you drive.  


Dental emergencies

Having travel insurance that covers dental emergencies can provide relief and allow for immediate treatment without worrying about out-of-pocket costs. Whether it's a severe toothache, a lost filling, or a traumatic injury, emergency dental cover in your travel insurance can take care of the treatment costs.


Cancellation cover

Should your trip be cancelled or cut short, you can claim back pre-paid costs, for example for accommodation or transport.


Speciality add-ons: Cruise, Golf and Winter Sports

Different types of holidays can benefit from additional add-ons to a standard premium. For a skiing holiday, it's essential to find a provider who offers winter sports protection, either as standard or as an optional extra. Likewise, there are also specialised policies and add-ons for golfing and cruise holidays. While these additional features might raise the cost of your premium, they will help keep you protected during activities that might otherwise not be covered by standard travel insurance. 


What to look out for when buying travel insurance

When purchasing travel insurance, there are certain factors to consider before committing to a policy. These include:



When you're comparing different policies, it's important to carefully evaluate various factors, to make sure you find the best value for your money. It's not just about the cost, also consider the coverage, excess payments (see below) and any additional benefits offered. Analysing these details will help you make an informed decision that meets your specific needs; keeping in mind that the cheapest policies aren’t always the best choice.



Excess refers to the amount you’ll be liable to pay in the first instance of a claim. Agreeing to larger excess figures can help bring down the cost of your premium. However, you should take some time to consider whether you can afford this if the worst happens. For example, if you have an item insured that is worth less than the excess, then you won’t receive money from your provider, should it be lost or stolen.

Geographical limits

Different policies can provide coverage for various regions, so making sure your policy encompasses all the places you intend to visit during your trip is essential. If you’re purchasing single-trip coverage, you will have to state where you’re going before receiving a quote. This may not be the case for annual policies, so be sure you’re fully covered for your trip locations by reading the policy documents thoroughly.  


To avoid any potential gaps in protection, it’s key to familiarise yourself with any exclusions that may apply. For instance, some travel insurance policies won’t provide cover for cruise holidays or pre-existing medical conditions. You may also find when trying to take out a new policy, that some providers have age limits in place. This is when it can be useful to explore specialist providers, who have protection suitable for both yourself and the trip you plan on taking.


The most important thing of all is to take the time to evaluate these factors to make an informed decision that provides you with the right coverage for your trip. For more advice to help with your next holiday, check out the rest of our Useful Articles or learn more about Age Co Travel Insurance here.