Travel items on desk

Travel insurance: Why you
should buy when you book

Don't leave travel insurance to the last minute! Here's why it's worth buying when you book your trip away...

Sometimes, it just makes sense to do things together – like taking unwanted clothes to the charity shop during a spring clean, or checking your car’s tyre pressures when you top up your fuel.

If you’re about to book this year’s holiday it makes sense to buy travel insurance at the same time, and this guide explains why. But first, some stats...

Don't be one of the great uninsured

As many as a quarter of Brits travel without insurance, according to research. Travel insurance may not be required by law, like car insurance is, but that doesn't make it any less important.

Say, for instance, you injured yourself on holiday and spent time in hospital. Without cover, you could end up paying thousands of pounds in medical costs.

Why you should buy when you book

There's one big advantage to taking out travel insurance when you book your holiday: most policies cover you if you have to cancel your trip or cut it short, even for holidays in the UK.

Think about that: if you needed to cancel your holiday - perhaps because you were ill or injured - and you didn't have travel insurance, you would stand to lose all of your money. Sounds pretty brutal, but it's true.

On the other hand, taking out travel insurance immediately means at least some of your money is protected from the off. So you’d be able to reclaim losses from any cancellations through your insurer (provided it’s included under your policy, of course!)

How much cancellation cover you could receive would depend on your policy. Some insurers offer different levels of travel insurance (think: gold, silver, bronze), with the amount you could claim for in the event of cancellation likely to be different for each.

Make sure you check out your policy’s key features.

You may pay a little more for sorting out your cover early - most insurers discount their rates if you buy closer to your trip - but you wouldn't be covered for cancellation.

Buying when you book has another advantage: it'll stop you from forgetting altogether and travelling without realising you're uninsured.

Taking out annual multi-trip cover

If you're lucky enough to have several trips away lined up this year, you may be better off with an annual travel insurance policy.

Annual multi-trip travel insurance removes the hassle of having to take out a policy every time you travel, and may be more cost effective.

With an annual travel insurance policy, you're covered for cancellation or cutting a trip short from the moment you book your (first) trip, not your policy ‘start date’, which may be earlier.

So your best bet might be to start your annual policy on the day you book your trip, which will mean your holiday is protected straightaway.

And here's a tip: if your annual policy expires while you're away, renew it with the same insurer to ensure continuity of cover.

What now?

Find out more about Zurich travel insurance

This article was first published in April 2019

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