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Travel insurance costs are rocketing – here’s how to get a good deal

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Sep 21, 2017

Travel insurers are blaming everything from Brexit to increases in insurance tax for big rises in travel cover.

Everything, that is, but themselves.

I’ve just had a renewal for worldwide travel insurance for a family of four – no claims, no changed circumstances whatsoever; basically, exactly the same cover.

Only the price is up 36%!

That’s eye-watering!


But something even more shocking happened next.

I called up the insurer and, after having a joke about how crazy anyone would be to accept a rise like that, asked for a far better price.

I was staggered to find that they would only bring down the premium by a few pounds, and refused to better their offer when I told them I’d cancel.

Usually, pointing out that an insurer’s renewal is taking the **** in this way is enough to quickly get a premium in line with the previous year. But not this time.

Don't get caught out. Get a quote for travel insurance.

And what was the reason for this 36% rise in price?

Insurance tax was up. By how much? 6%! 

The real reason seems to be that insurers are using Brexit as an excuse. 

The typical travel insurance policy is up by around 12% on the same time last year. Not as much as my 36%, but still inflation-busting.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says the average policy now costs £37 a year, up from £33 last year. But, keep in mind, this is for a very basic policy.

ABI figures reveal that the number of travellers who are claiming emergency medical treatment has actually fallen, from 166,000 in 2015 to 154,000 in 2016.

The amount paid has risen however from £196m to £199m.

The only way to make sure you’re not falling foul of the ‘Brexit excuse’ or the ‘insurance tax excuse’, or whatever one tour insurer is likely to use, is to make sure you check your renewal letter closely.

Insurers MUST state last year’s premium cost alongside the renewal quote.

Even if it doesn’t appear to have gone up by a large amount, check what it is as a percentage.

And, quite honestly, even if it hasn’t gone up at all (very unlikely), you’d be nuts not to shop around! 

We've already seen the chaos of Ryanair, and warned you about whether your travel insurance covers all you think it does. 


What happens to travel cover after Brexit?

One thing is for certain, if the European health insurance card (Ehic) is scrapped after Brexit, travel insurance prices will be pushed up.

This is simply because at the moment many people skip travel insurance all together when travelling in Europe, knowing they are covered for health care in the EU. 

If that cover goes, more of the 32m trips Brits take in Europe every year will need to be covered by travel insurance. More people buying insurance means more will claim as a result, pushing up prices.

You may want to think about that if you are buying insurance, because from April next year, insurers are going to have to factor in any anticipated increase in costs when the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.

Brexit secretary David Davis has suggested the UK might continue with the Ehic after Brexit, and if that’s not possible, then the UK might provide such a scheme on its own.

How this would work isn’t clear.

The cost to other states in the European single market for treating British tourists was £155m in 2013-14, the UK paid £30m to treat EU nationals.