Whether you’re into Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit or J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or the British royals, no one does it better than the UK. Many Australian travellers use London as their gateway to the rest of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
As for sightseeing and activities, where do you start? With a pint at the local pub perhaps, or a trip to a Premier League football match? The opportunities are endless.
First up, make sure nothing derails your United Kingdom holiday. Before you leave Australia, organise your UK travel insurance so you and your belongings are covered while you’re away.
Source: Love GREAT Britain
Before we get into the details on travel insurance for the UK, here are a few quick UK facts:
- Capital: London
- Land area: 241,930 km2
- Official language: English
- Population: 65.1 million (2015)
- Currency: Pound sterling (GBP) £
- Fun fact: Every day, the British drink 165 million cups of tea, which is over 20 times more than the average American. Would you like some tea guvnah?
The table below shows a snapshot of travel insurance products for the UK, with links directly to the provider’s websites. These results are based on a single traveller to the Uk under 70 years of age.
Travel insurance for the UK
Even in a country where the native language is also English (as well as Irish, Welsh and Gaelic), accidents and illness can happen. It’s a huge relief to know your travel insurance policy will cover you for the most likely things that could derail your sightseeing.
Travel insurance is about more than health cover, so no matter how fit and healthy you are, a comprehensive travel insurance policy can give you peace of mind that’s worth its weight in sovereigns.
Some other reasons why you might need travel insurance for the UK include:
Cancellation costs for flights, accommodation and tours.
Many things could disrupt your UK travel plans, from an unexpected illness before you leave, to an illness in the family, to your employer putting their foot down about your annual leave.
It would be terribly sad to cancel the trip, but at least you know travel insurance for the UK can help reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses such as cancellation fees.
Overseas emergency medical expenses.
Getting sick or having an accident while in the UK could send you on a trip to the local doctor or even the hospital. Thankfully, Australia has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the United Kingdom, which means that Aussie travellers to the UK can be entitled to free in-patient or out-patient treatment at public hospitals, subsidised medications and Medicare-equivalent benefits for seeing a doctor outside of the hospital.
Since not everything to do with your treatment would be free, travel insurance for the UK can help cover those emergency overseas medical costs, as well as medical repatriation to Australia (a flight home) if needed.
Cover for theft or lost luggage and personal items.
Theft is a risk wherever you travel, and Southern Cross Travel Insurance says theft of personal items such as laptops, tablets, cash and jewellery make up the bulk of their property claims. Travellers to any destination also run the risk of having luggage go missing or losing their personal items.
Travel delay/changed travel plans.
The widespread storms and flooding that occurred across much of England last year were a stark reminder of the damage that can be done in a relatively short space of time. Travellers unwittingly caught up in this type of unforeseen event would have had their travel schedules interrupted. That’s where travel insurance can step in and cover you for any last-minute and unavoidable changes in your travel plans.
Case Study: Brian
However, as he discovered at the airport, all flights were cancelled due to an ash cloud covering most of Europe, caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland. That meant Brian was forced to pay a premium rate for additional accommodation for the lengthy period while flights were grounded.
After reimbursements from the airlines, he was up for $10,000 AUD in additional costs – which his travel insurer paid.
What does UK Travel Insurance cost?
Travel insurance is a necessity when travelling to the United Kingdom. And compared to the cost of your 20-plus hour flight, accommodation and Harry Potter tours, travel insurance doesn’t cost much at all.
To give you an idea of what you will be up for, we’ve crunched the numbers on policies from 79 providers to calculate the minimum, maximum and average travel insurance premiums you’ll pay for a 10- or 21-day jaunt to the UK.
All premiums below are based on the premium data collected for Canstar’s 2017 Travel Insurance Star Ratings. Premiums have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
What does UK travel insurance cover?
Cheapest is not always best, so make sure you buy the travel insurance cover that suits your particular situation. Canstar’s research shows it’s undeniable – you get what you pay for. Policies with a 3- to 5-Star Rating tend to cover most things, while 1- and 2-Star policies have various exclusions, sometimes even excluding accidental death.
With a typical policy, you will want, at a minimum:
• Medical or dental emergency – hospital admission, emergency care and medical evacuation.
• Repatriation – if tragedy strikes while you are away, repatriation covers the cost of flying your body and belongings back home to Australia. Some travel funds also include a separate sum for funeral expenses.
• Lost or stolen luggage, passport or other items – replacing luggage and travel documents is the most common claim for travel insurance.
• Cancelling your trip unexpectedly – due to illness, accident, holiday leave being revoked or a natural disaster at home or at your intended destination.
• Legal liability – if you break a local law and need a lawyer/interpreter.
What does UK travel insurance NOT cover?
There are a number of general exclusions you need to be aware of when travelling to the UK, or most countries for that matter. Some of the most common exclusions include:
- Irresponsible behaviour under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Pre-existing conditions you were aware of before purchasing your insurance policy
- Unattended items
- Claims that weren’t lodged with your provider within 24 hours
- Driving a motorbike without a license/helmet
The bottom line is to compare travel insurance and check the fine print carefully to make sure you’re covered for the things that matter to you in case you have to make a claim.
Risks in the UK
Visiting the iconic Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Stonehenge are at the top of many to-do lists. As these locations are very public, it’s important to remain vigilant to the terrorist threat England and many European countries are facing at the moment. However, government advice levels remain normal across the UK.
Of course, there’s always petty crime such as pickpocketing and street theft, which can occur at many tourist destinations, and common sense with normal personal safety precautions should prevail.
The Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website advises normal safety precautions when travelling to the UK – nothing out of the ordinary. That said, it never hurts to look at travel insurance policies which account for higher risk. The table below shows policies that offer cover for terrorism, as this is currently a major concern when travelling to the UK.
Getting help in the UK
There are several important phone numbers to know when in the UK:
Emergency services: 999
(This includes Firefighting & rescue, ambulance and police)
Local police (non-urgent): 101
Crimestoppers hotline: 0800 555 111
For embassy matters including passports while in the UK, contact the Australian embassy:
Australian High Commission, London
Address: Australia House, Strand, London WC 2B 4LA, UNITED KINGDOM
Telephone: +44 (20) 7379 4334
Fax: +44 (20) 7887 5559
See the High Commission’s website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
In a consular emergency, if you are unable to contact the Australian High Commission in London you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 (2) 6261 3305 (from within London) or 1300 555 135 (from within Australia).
The usual risks aside, the UK is a rich and rewarding region. The palaces and cathedrals, the Tower of London, picture-perfect rural villages … and did we mention fascinating Royal traditions? Start your UK adventure by researching comprehensive travel insurance now: