Your Holiday Insurance, Our Expertise.


The Best Travel Insurance

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Finding the best travel insurance policy is never easy. With so many companies offering similar policies, backed up with wordy documents, knowing what to look for can be tricky. At Essential Travel we want to help you choose the right policy. The table and guide below will help you decide which level of travel insurance you should take, what small print to be particularly aware of and where to look for the best possible price.

This guide has the aim to provide you with the information you need to help you choose the best travel insurance for your trip. We will advise on specific criteria and tell you what to look out for, and not just the price.

The best single trip travel insurance policies

Single trip travel insurance

Cheapest Europe Cheapest worldwide (inc North America & Caribbean) Cheapest worldwide (exc North America & Caribbean)
The cheapest policies with our recommended cover levels.^
Under 18’s et logo
Customer satisfaction 87%†
star from £2.15
et logo
Customer satisfaction 59%*
from £25.62
et logo
Customer satisfaction 61%
from £18.78
years old
et logo
Customer satisfaction 65%*
from £8.52
lv logo
Customer satisfaction 67%*
star from £24.64
et logo
Customer satisfaction 59%*
from £10.29
Family cover et logo
Customer satisfaction 62%*
from £16.17
direct logo
Customer satisfaction 61%*
from £61.81
et logo
Customer satisfaction 87%†
star from £42.10
Comparing policies using and direct with individual insurers, travelling 1 August, 2014, for 7 days.

The best annual multi-trip travel insurance policies

Annual multi-trip travel insurance

Cheapest Europe Cheapest worldwide (inc North America & Caribbean) Cheapest worldwide (exc North America & Caribbean)
The cheapest policies with our recommended cover levels.^
Under 18’s et logo
Customer satisfaction 87%†
star from £5.95
et logo
Customer satisfaction 87%†
from £8.80
et logo
Customer satisfaction 87%†
from £7.95
years old
et logo
Customer satisfaction 59%*
from £13.60
bubble logo
Customer satisfaction 9.1/10††
star from £28.76
et logo
Customer satisfaction 59%*
from £20.60
Family cover et logo
Customer satisfaction 60%*
from £24.64
insureandgo logo
Customer satisfaction 65%*
star from £52.30
et logo
No customer satisfaction results
from £42.22
Comparing policies using and direct with individual insurers, policy starting 1 July, 2014.
star Our recommended policies are denoted with a star. Total price and customer satisfaction score are taken into account alongside our recommended level of cover offered by the insurance provider. Family Cover searched for 2 adults 1 child.

Essential Travel is rated on average 87% in 1550 traveller reviews.

* Which? recommended providers survey June 2014.

^ Our recommended cover levels

  • Medical emergency expenses - £5million
  • Cancellation cover - £1,500
  • Personal possessions - £1,500

Can you afford not to have travel insurance?

It can be easy to forget travel insurance on your check list of things to buy, but it should be considered one of the most important things to remember alongside your passport, money and tickets.

Before you compare insurance premiums, think about what you actually need cover for, and what you can’t afford to lose.

  • How many people are travelling?
  • Where are you travelling to?
  • How long is the trip?
  • What is the age of each traveller?
  • How much does the holiday cost, per person?
  • Do you need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions?
  • How much would it cost to replace any possessions ?
  • What sports and activities need cover?

Where do I buy the best travel insurance?

Knowing who the best travel insurance companies are and where to find the best insurance policies is often the first hurdle you will come across. Depending on your circumstances you may go direct to an insurer, use a comparison site or book through a travel agent. Each come with their pros and cons, but if you have the time you should at least try the first two.

Cheapest isn’t always best

Think about the level of cover you need, and not just the price. Sometimes you will find a more suitable and comprehensive level of cover for a slightly higher premium, but with a lot less excess to pay should anything happen. Cheap travel insurance can be appealing but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will receive the right level of cover. There are a lot of insurance policies to choose from and knowing which one to select is not easy, especially when using comparison websites.

Use a comparison engine

A comparison site can be a great way to save you time and money as they will do all the legwork to find you the best travel insurance from their chosen suppliers. However, it is important to bear in mind that many sites will display the cheapest policy first, and sometimes the cheapest policy isn’t always best. Some insurance providers will remove or reduce elements of cover for comparison engines, or increase the level of excess you have to pay in order to make their policy appear at the top the table.

It is important to remember that there isn't a comparison site that will compare policies from all insurance providers, so you will have to do some searching around. There are, however, four top insurance comparison sites that you shouldn't miss in order to cover most bases.

If you have time, you should also obtain a quote directly from insurance providers that do not use comparison engines. You may also find that many insurance companies that advertise on comparison sites offer policies at a cheaper price when you go direct.

Go direct to an insurance provider

Often you can find the best travel insurance prices by going direct to each company. Many will offer lower premiums to customers who call them directly or buy from their own website. Aviva, one of the UK’s top insurance providers offer savings of up to 20% when you buy online.

Buying from travel agents or tour operators

Although it is convenient to add travel insurance when booking your holiday through a travel agent, tour operator or airline, it is not recommended. Often travel agents will inflate premiums to cover the cost of finding the policy for you, something you can easily do yourself. You may also be told that you have to have travel insurance in place in order to book your holiday with them, but this does not mean you have to take a policy with them.

If you do buy your insurance policy in this way, ask to see the supporting documents to ensure that you are covered for exactly what you need. If you have any questions make sure you speak to an expert, particularly if you need specialist cover.

Who is travelling?

Depending on who is going on the trip will determine the premium you pay, but do your research and you can make some savings for you and everyone you travel with.

Individual travel insurance

If you prefer to arrange your holiday yourself, instead of using a travel agent, ensure you have the right cover in place to protect you from the unexpected. Most British travel agents are protected by ATOL and ABTA, meaning if something happens before or while you are on holiday, you should be covered by their insurance too. This extra level of cover isn't included if you organise the trip yourself using different companies, i.e. booking your flight with an airline and a room directly with a hotel, instead of a package holiday through a travel agent. Adding an individual travel insurance policy to your trip may cost a bit extra, but it could prove invaluable if you're left stranded.

Independent travel insurance can include extended cancellation and curtailment, delay and repatriation cover for:

  • Adverse weather and environmental disasters
  • Airline strikes
  • Airline failure
  • Hotel provider failure
  • FCO/WHO recommendation against travel
  • Missed departure

Couples travel insurance

If you and your partner are going away together and live at the same address, you are likely to save money buying couples travel insurance that will cover you both under one policy than two separate policies.

If you buy couples holiday insurance that lasts that covers multiple trips and think you may travel independently from one another at some point; ensure before you take out your policy that you can are covered for this.

Medical Cover

£10 million - including medical expenses and repatriation

Typically an insurance policy for couples will offer medical cover of £10 million, but up to £15 million, per person should you need to make a claim. This should also include medical expenses and repatriation (the cost to fly you home in an emergency).

Cancellation Cover

The most important thing to look for with cancellation cover is that it should at least cover the cost of your planned trip. Lower cancellation cover of £500 per person may bring down your overall premium but will it be enough to cover the total cost of flights, hotels, transfer and any prepaid activities?

Baggage and personal money

Baggage cover is likely to be between £500 and £1000 per person but think about what you will be taking with you and the likely cost of replacing those items you can’t afford to lose. Personal money cover will give you protection if your personal money is lost or stolen while you are away. Typically you should be looking for cover between £150 and £300 per person.

Important: Often you will only have cover for personal belongings, including money, if it is kept in your hand luggage when travelling. Check your policy wording.

Family travel insurance

Going on holiday with your family should be an exciting time but it can also be stressful, especially if you have young children to keep an eye on. Ensuring that you have the best insurance for your family will go a long way to putting your mind at ease should anything happen.

A ‘family’ is often considered as two adults and up to four children all living at the same address, but this does depend on the insurer and if you’re going away with a larger family it may be best to use a comparison engine to get an idea of cost, and to save entering all those details again and again.