Do You Need Travel Insurance for the UK or London? The truth

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Do I need travel insurance for the UK?

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for this answer as I live in the UK and help my friends and family who come to visit me answer this all of the time.

To answer your question, is travel insurance mandatory for the UK?

The answer is legally, no, you don’t have to have UK travel insurance to visit.

However, travel insurance is always a good idea, and often much more than that – a giant lifesaver when it comes to things that can go wrong when you’re overseas and out of network for your regular insurance.

If you don’t want to read the whole article, the travel insurance I recommend for the UK is Travel Insurance Master.

You buy it for your own peace of mind and because you’re not out here trying to roll the dice unnecessarily.

You want to just enjoy Big Ben and an afternoon tea without fretting about how much you’re going to be charged if you forget to look the right way when you’re crossing the road, you know?

So the answer to, should you get travel insurance for the UK is – absolutely, yes you should.


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What are the Best Travel Insurance Companies for the UK?

There are two main ones I recommend: Travel Insurance Master, and Safety Wing.

They both serve different types of travelers, which I go into in my guide to the best travel insurance providers for visiting the UK, but the brief notes are:

Option 1: Travel Insurance Master (short term visitor)

This is for you if you are a short-term visitor to the UK.

They make it incredibly easy to get a quote and compare different packages, depending on your age, travel dates, and home country, and this is who I recommend to the vast majority of my readers as this suits most people the best.

>> Click here to get a free quote from Travel Insurance Master (no e-mail required)

Hey! Want more honest UK tips and planning advice? Click here to join my London and UK Travel Tips Facebook group, where I can answer more of your questions!

Click here to check out my custom itinerary planning service with local suggestions to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime!

Option 2: SafetyWing (digital nomad or longer term visitor)

Traveling to the UK for a longer period of time as a student or digital nomad?

If you’re going to be in the UK for longer than a regular tourist visit, but not long enough to be on a visa that qualifies for health insurance in the UK, then SafetyWing is for you.

They cater primarily to digital nomads and longer term travelers with a monthly plan, rather than a one-off price for your travels, and is the best option in this space for this kind of insurance.

>> Click here to check out the SafetyWing plan options

3 Reasons you Should Buy UK Travel Insurance

Let’s talk about the reasons why buying travel insurance to visit the UK is a great idea.

Sometimes, people overlook this, as the UK is a safe and secure country – you’re hardly going to be galivanting across the savanna with wild lions or encountering major unrest, but you still need travel insurance.

Here’s why.

1. Travel Medical Insurance Coverage

As a short term visitor to the UK, you may have heard wonderful (or mixed) things about the NHS, and while they will absolutely treat you and help you out if you get into any sort of health trouble, it isn’t at no-cost to you like it is to residents and UK citizens.

No, you’re a visitor, which means that you can get a bill from the NHS for services you may have had to use, and you won’t be covered by your insurance from home in most cases.

While UK medical insurances are much less expensive than those in, say, the USA, you still don’t want to be out-of-pocket for these expenses when the cost of a travel insurance package is almost always going to be WAY less than what you would pay direct.

Of course you don’t plan to have any sort of medical emergency abroad, but then that’s what insurance is for – because things don’t always go to plan, and it takes one less thing off your plate to worry about.

2. Trip Cancellation Coverage

Many travel insurance policies offer trip cancellation coverage for a variety of reasons, including ones of your own (say there is a death in the family and you can no longer travel) or cancellation due to world events (do I even need to give you an example?)

It costs a lot to plan a trip to the UK, including hotels, tickets, flights, the list goes on – this isn’t necessarily a cheap trip, and getting a travel insurance package with cancellation insurance can help make sure that if you do have to cancel, you have the option of being covered and being able to get that money back.

Note: always read the fine print to your policy and make sure it does include the types of coverage you want, as you can pay more for more comprehensive policies with a wider range of things covered, or less for just the basics.

3. Loss of luggage or stolen belongings

Before you even get to the UK, travel comes with inherent dangers from the airlines!

Mostly having to do with that precious cargo, your luggage!

How many horror stories have you heard of lost luggage from airlines over the years?

Travel insurance can help reimburse you for things like lost luggage or stolen belongings while abroad, and, again, while you don’t plan for that to happen, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars you took the time to take out a policy before you find that the entire contents of your luggage has gone missing and you need to buy a whole new wardrobe in London (cha-ching!).

UK Insurance FAQs

How much is travel insurance to the UK?

This varies based on the length of the trip and the extent of your coverage, but you’re looking at anywhere from as low as $20 for 2 people for a week to $100+ if you want to add on more comprehensive cancellation coverage.

It’s super easy to get a quote using Travel Insurance Master to see what prices you’re looking at, which is why I suggest them for ease (and is who we use when we go abroad).

Is travel insurance legally required for UK travel?

No, it is not legally required, only suggested.

What happens if I travel without travel insurance in the UK?

Nothing will happen – if nothing goes wrong.

If you end up needing medical care, have cancelled plans, lost luggage, or other travel mishaps, you will need to pay for this out-of-pocket.

Can I use my U.S health insurance in the UK?

No, your U.S health insurance is not applicable to the UK.

You may find you have an international policy option with your U.S travel company, but this isn’t most people and the cost of this is usually much higher than taking out a single travel insurance package for the UK for the duration of your trip.

What isn’t covered by UK travel insurance policies?

Typically, travel insurance companies won’t cover pre-existing medical conditions and the cost related to them.

So if you have cancer, your cancer treatment abroad would not be covered.

If you broke your leg while crossing the street or come down with a virus or a one-off medical condition (or one you didn’t know about), you’d be covered.

Other than that, you can find policies to cover most things, depending on how much you’re willing to pay.

UK Travel Planning Guide: the FAQs

🏥 Should I buy UK travel insurance?

Absolutely yes. Basic coverage is not expensive, and as a visitor you are NOT covered under the NHS. Compare policies and prices with Travel Insurance Master here, a big name in the travel insurance business, and cross that off your list.

🔌 Do I need travel adapters for the UK?

Yes, you do, otherwise you won’t be able to plug in your electronics/phone/lifelines. I recommend this one, which is all-in-one so you can use it in other countries.

🚗 What do I need to drive in the UK?

The first thing you need to check out if you’re planning on renting a car in the UK is this guide to driving in the UK for visitors – the roads, signs, and driving experience will likely not be what you’re used to and it’s essential to prepare yourself to stay safe and aware.

🛌 What’s the best way to book hotels in the UK?

For UK hotels, Booking is the best site as it offers free cancellation on many properties. If you want an apartment, I always recommend VRBO over AirBnb.

📳 Will my phone work in the UK?

Yes – if you set it up right. Check out my guide on making your foreign phone work in the UK to ensure that you get the type of service you need.

🚿 Can I drink the water in the UK?

Yes, UK water is great and perfectly safe. But drink out of taps in any kitchen or use water fountains. Double check before drinking out of the taps in hotel bathrooms, though, as they may be on a different system. London water is safe to drink.

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