The UK does not require US citizens to have travel insurance when they visit. However, coverage can be beneficial for several reasons.
First, a comprehensive or medical emergency policy can pay healthcare expenses if you are injured or ill in the UK According to the State Department, tourists may have to pay 150% of the cost of medical treatment received through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) . A travel policy can limit these out-of-pocket costs.
Also, trip insurance lets you engage in sports activities, such as a track, cycle, ski or snowboard adventure without worrying about affording injury treatment.
While weather-related problems and natural disasters are relatively rare in the UK, cancellation insurance could be a good idea. Your trip represents a significant investment, and this coverage can reimburse you for the cost of a transatlantic flight and hotel or holiday rental reservations in the event of a cancellation.
Finally, in 2022, there were 75.88 crimes per 1,000 people in the UK and 2.6 million of these crimes involved theft. Insurance can cover the cost of valuables that thieves often target in the UK
Even if you don’t use your insurance, it will provide peace of mind by covering problems that would otherwise ruin your trip.
Cancel for Any Reason Coverage
A standard travel cancellation insurance policy reimburses you if your trip plans get derailed by circumstances beyond your control. For example, if you cannot travel due to an injury, or a flood occurs in your chosen UK destination, the insurance will pay for your trip. These policies have exclusions limiting coverage for cancellations that aren’t beyond your control.
Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage lets you cancel your trip even if the circumstances are not beyond your control. If scheduling conflicts arise, such as a wedding or a change in relationship status with your travel partner, you can use CFAR to cover the cost of your trip.
Some tourists may not need this type of coverage. However, groups or people booking well in advance may want to consider CFAR coverage to protect against potential scheduling conflicts.
Gear Theft Protection
In the UK and throughout Europe, petty theft is the biggest crime risk for most travelers. Insurance can protect against the loss of a wallet, gadget or device. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies include some theft protection for your personal belongings or offer coverage as one of the optional extras.
You should always check the limits of theft protection on your policy documents. Some insurers only have a few hundred dollars of coverage. While this may be enough to replace a stolen phone, it usually isn’t sufficient for expensive devices or valuable sports equipment.
You should make sure the policy has high enough limits to protect your valuables and purchase additional coverage if needed.
Medical Emergency Insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation
As the US State Department points out, tourists in the UK need to pay for any medical services out of pocket and could have additional fees adding 50% to the bill. Although the UK does not mandate travel medical coverage, the additional medical costs are a way to strongly encourage visitors to opt for insurance covering medical care.
Travel insurance for medical emergencies is available as a stand-alone product or as part of a comprehensive single-trip policy. Frequent travelers can also get an annual multi-trip policy to pay out for emergency medical expenses.
Most travel medical coverage also includes evacuation and repatriation. These add-ons can cover the cost of a flight back to the US if you require long-term medical care or pass away during your trip.
In a few cases, this coverage may be unnecessary. If you have a European Health Insurance Card, you can access care through the NHS in the UK Some US-based insurers may cover medically-necessary care for you or a qualifying family member when traveling abroad. Check your policy documents or inquire about coverage before you leave.
If you purchase insurance, you should look closely at the policy wording to see if it covers pre-existing medical conditions.
Rental Car Protection
All drivers in the UK must have third-party auto insurance to cover the cost of damage and accidents. Because of the requirements, car insurance is included in the vehicle rental fee. US auto insurance policies usually do not extend to the UK, although some premium credit cards offer coverage if you use them to pay the rental costs.
Depending on your travel plans, you might consider getting your own third-party auto insurance or purchasing a comprehensive policy that includes rental protection.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation cover offers reimbursement if your vacation gets canceled due to events beyond your control. If you have a single-trip travel insurance policy, it will pay out if you can’t go on your trip. Acceptable reasons for not traveling include an accident or unexpected illness, jury duty, military service or a death in the family.
Coverage may or may not extend to illnesses caused by pre-existing conditions. However, cancellation policies reimburse you for trips canceled due to unexpected events, like a natural disaster in the UK
Most cancellation policies get paired with travel disruption insurance. These policies pay expenses during any delays you experience and cover the costs necessary to get you back on your itinerary.
Because of the expense of transatlantic travel, cancellation insurance is usually a good investment. It can be especially useful if your trip has multiple legs. For example, if the itinerary has a flight and a cruise, you have an increased chance of a delay or cancellation of one leg interfering with subsequent legs.