UK Citizens Urged to Arrange Travel Insurance As Soon As Trips Are Booked

| March 26, 2024
UK Citizens Urged to Arrange Travel Insurance As Soon As Trips Are Booked

A travel insurance provider reminded British holidaymakers to avoid making a common mistake when planning their trip.

According to, travel insurance coverage should begin immediately after booking your trip.

This means travel insurance should be arranged “ASAB” or as soon as booking, rather than days before departure.

Jason Whelan, a representative of, said waiting until close to the departure date to purchase travel insurance can be costly.

Delaying insurance arrangements could prevent reimbursement of holiday expenses in case of cancellations.

“That’s why we always urge holidaymakers to take out travel insurance as soon as they book their flight or holiday,” Whelan told the Daily Express.

He added that when arranging travel insurance, “it’s crucial to consider the level of cancellation coverage” travelers require.

It ensures the trip is protected in case they encounter any issues that would require them to cut their trip short, such as a medical emergency. revealed that 63 percent of policies purchased from them were bought less than seven days before departure.

Martin Lewis, the founder of, issued the same urgent call to arrange travel insurance “as soon as you book.”

On his show, The Martin Lewis Money Live, he explained that travel insurance covers events before the trip, not just the trip itself.

This comes after a woman lost £5,000 on a planned trip due to a high-risk pregnancy advisory against traveling. She had not yet arranged for travel insurance.

Travelers who need to cancel a trip without travel insurance cannot expect a refund from airlines or hotels.

Is travel insurance required for travel to the UK?

Travel insurance is not mandatory for short-term UK visitors or travelers staying in the UK for six months or less. However, it is strongly recommended that they obtain one.

Medical expenses for foreigners in the UK can be costly, particularly regarding prescriptions.

Many health insurance plans afforded through travelers’ local employment or government also do not cover health insurance when traveling abroad.

UK-bound travelers have many travel insurance options, ranging from single to comprehensive medical coverage.

The type of travel insurance varies depending on a person’s needs. Below are some aspects a travel insurance package can cover.

  • Transportation cost
  • Baggage loss
  • Lost or damaged items
  • Travel disruption
  • Trip cancellations
  • Medical expenses
  • Personal injury
  • Emergency medical evacuation

Lewis recommended using comparison sites like Compare the Market or MoneySuperMarket to find the most up-to-date travel insurance prices.

Travelers who plan to visit the EU’s Schengen Area through the UK must obtain travel insurance. This is a must when applying for a Schengen visa.

Post-Brexit healthcare coverage for EU visitors

One of the primary coverages of travel insurance is healthcare if a traveler falls ill or has an accident in a foreign country.

This was not typically a concern for UK citizens visiting European Union (EU) countries and vice versa.

When the UK was still part of the EU, British citizens could access healthcare in EU clinics and hospitals, and UK hospitals could also treat EU citizens.

Health treatment costs are usually free or minimal due to a reciprocal arrangement between European countries.

After Brexit, EU citizens will need to apply for a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before traveling to the UK by the end of 2024.

Similarly, the EU will impose its European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) on non-visa nationals, including UK citizens in 2025.

EU nationals can still use their valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cards to access emergency care services at the UK’s National Healthcare Service (NHS).

The NHS is a publicly-funded healthcare system in the UK that provides free medical services to its citizens.

On the other hand, UK citizens can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) when their EHIC expires. They can use these to access healthcare when traveling to the EU.

However, the EHIC of the UK GHIC does not cover travel insurance. It will also not cover private medical care, planned treatment, being flown back home, or lost or stolen property.

NHS care for non-EU nationals visiting the UK

The NHS may also provide free care to visiting non-nationals who are residents of countries with a reciprocal agreement with the UK.

Registered refugees or asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their status can also avail of free NHS healthcare.

However, those eligible must pay for prescribed medications as they are not covered under free NHS treatment.

On the other hand, visa nationals without travel or valid healthcare insurance can still receive free medical care in the UK during their trip.

Still, it will only cover treatment for medical emergencies, accidents, or maternity-related issues.

If the care treatment is not deemed urgent or life-threatening, the visitor must pay for it before it is provided. This is where separate travel insurance coverage is a must.

Immigration health surcharge fees

International students or workers in the UK may also be eligible for free NHS treatment, subject to specific criteria.

They can do so because of the immigration health surcharge (IHS) fees they paid upfront as part of their UK visa application.

However, some care services, like prescriptions and dental treatment, may still require payment.

To receive free NHS treatment, migrants must prove their immigration status or right to stay in the country.

They can do so by showing a biometric residence permit or using an online share code from their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.

Full-time students must provide proof of enrollment in a course that lasts at least six months.

Non-British workers must show proof of employment, such as a work contract or a recent payslip.

In February 2024, the UK government raised the IHS fees.

The annual IHS surcharge for adults is £1,035. The fee for children under 18, students, and applicants for the Youth Mobility Scheme is £776 per year.

When traveling outside the UK, migrants must still obtain travel insurance—ideally, as soon as they book their trip.