Travel Insurance UK Glossary: All the Essentials!

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Are you on the hunt for UK travel insurance? Do you find you’re reading policy documents or web pages and you secretly think they’re speaking a different language? You’re not alone! Insurance terms are often legal jargon, making it difficult for us non-lawyers out there to decipher. Providers often simplify the language on their websites but the policy wording is a legal document and there’s no getting away with it. We've put together a handy travel insurance glossary to help you make sense of all the legal jargon, so read on...

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Travel insurance UK key phrases: from single article limit to cancellation cover

In this jargon-busting glossary, we are going to simplify the most common terms you must know, such as single article limits on travel insurance policies. We’ll also answer common questions such as “what is travel insurance excess?”. Keep reading and you’ll be a near travel insurance expert in no time!


 Accidental injury - Injury to you resulting from an accident on your trip.

 Accidental death - Death caused by injuries resulting from an accident during your trip.

 Annual multi-trip policy - This type of policy provides travel insurance cover for as many trips as you like within one year, as long as each trip does not go over a certain amount of days (often 31 days per trip).

 Adventure sports cover - Available as an optional extra/add-on by most insurers, although the activities/sports offered vary. This benefit covers you when you participate in non-standard activities e.g. scuba diving, sky-diving.

 Airline insolvency - This cover protects you if the airline goes out of business before your trip. Travel insurance policies usually don’t include this cover as standard, so shop around.


 Baggage and personal belongings - Covers you for items that you own and you take on your trip. You can get compensation for baggage delays, loss or theft.


 Cancellation cover - this is usually included as standard in a UK travel insurance policy. You can claim compensation for non-refundable deposits and up-front payments you have made if you have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances that are out of your control.

 Claim - A request for compensation from your insurer should an incident arise when you’re travelling.

 Cover - This is the protection offered by your travel insurance policy. If an event is covered by your policy, you can make a claim against that event should you need (up to a specified limit).

 Cruise cover - This cover can include missed cruise departure, cabin confinement (if you are ill), missed pre-paid shore excursions, repatriation to a hospital from the ship and cruise itinerary change.

 Curtailment - Covers you for unforeseen circumstances that are out of your control and force you to cut your trip short (i.e. the death of a relative).


 Disruption cover - This can provide compensation when your travel plans are delayed and you need to spend additional costs on transport and accommodation. It may also cover lost deposits and cancellation fees as a result of the delay.


heart with a stethoscope

 Emergency medical assistance - Insurers make phone lines available 24/7. You should call your insurer as soon as possible if you or a travelling companion need emergency medical assistance. They will provide over the phone support and will guide you on the next steps.

 Excess - One of the most common questions around travel insurance is “what is travel insurance excess”? The excess is how much you have to pay if you need to make a claim. You contribute the agreed excess amount and the insurer will pay you the remaining balance.

 Exclusions - These are events that insurers will not payout for and stipulated circumstances when your cover is void. For example, an insurer will not compensate you if your passport is stolen because you have not kept it safe, i.e. you left it on the table while you went to the bathroom.

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 Family travel insurance - Insurers will usually offer a family package. This saves you time and money as everyone is on one policy. Family policies are usually for up to two adults and can be up to any number of children, although some insurers do set a maximum number in their policy.

 Force majeure - This insurance coverage generally protects you for sudden and unforeseen external forces such as war, mutiny, military rising, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, military or usurped power, climatic conditions and acts of nature.


 Gadgets cover - This will provide compensation for personal electrical devices if they are lost, stolen or damaged. Some examples of gadgets are mobile phones, laptops, sat navs, MP3 players, digital cameras and smart-watches.

 Golf cover - Available as an optional extra from many insurers. This provides cover for missed green fees and incidents with golf equipment.

 Group travel insurance - Many insurers will allow up to 10 people on the same policy. This will save you time and money, and you don’t need to be related, unlike with family policies.


 Hijack/kidnap - You will get paid the specified benefit for this cover for every 24 hours that you are held. Some insurers will also extend your policy free of charge if you are held past the end date of your policy so that you remain covered.


 Limit (Cover limit) - Insurance policies feature a limit on the maximum amount you can claim for per person, per incident, per trip. There will usually be a single article limit where the cover is for belongings or equipment (see single article limit below).

 Longstay cover - If you plan on being away for a long period of time, this could be a good option for you. You can get cover for up to 18 months with this type of policy.


 Maximum benefit - The maximum amount that you can receive when making a claim for any one incident/loss.

 Maximum age limit - Some policies and insurers will only cover you up to a certain age. If they do stipulate an age limit, the cut-off date is usually either the date the policy is issued or date of departure.



 Natural catastrophe - Some commonly covered events include earthquakes, explosions, fires, floods, hurricanes, infectious diseases, lightning, storms or volcanic eruptions.


 Permanent disability - If you’re injured on your trip and permanently lose sight in one or both eyes, or you lose one or more limbs, this cover will compensate you with a lump sum benefit.

 Personal liability - This covers you for your legal liability if you accidentally cause bodily injury or death to another person, or damage someone else’s property.

 Policy wording - This is where you will find all the details of your insurance policy, including cover limits, benefits, exclusions and other important notes the insurer wants you to be aware of. Always make sure you read it thoroughly!

 Pre-existing medical condition - All travel insurers require you to declare any medical conditions you have or could potentially have (i.e. if you are undergoing tests but do not yet have the results). It is essential to declare any you have as your insurance may be void if you go to claim and haven’t declared it, even if the claim is not of a medical nature.

 Premium - This is the amount you pay to purchase a specific travel insurance policy. If you include optional extras or disclose a pre-existing medical condition, the premium will most likely increase by some margin.

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 Repatriation - This can cover you for repatriation to your home country if medically necessary. This means you would get any medically equipped flights or other transport necessary to return you home (i.e. if you need to lie down and cannot sit in a standard aircraft seat). In the highly unlikely event that you die, it should also cover bringing your remains or ashes home. Some insurers will cover funeral costs in this case too.


pieces of paper

 Schedule of benefits - A list of benefits you would receive and the amounts covered on a travel insurance policy. This is typically a short summary document of one to two pages long. It does not go into detail like the full policy wording does.

 Single article/item limit - If you have baggage included in your UK travel insurance you will find there is a single article limit. This means any one item you claim for cannot be above a certain amount, even if the total amount for that benefit is higher. For example, if you have a total baggage limit of £1,000 and a single article limit of £500, you could claim either two items up to £500 (even if they are worth more) or several items for under £500 with a maximum payout of £1,000, regardless of the actual value of your belongings. If you only claim for one item, the maximum you could claim for would be £500.

 Single trip - A single trip policy is probably right for you if you are just taking one trip in the next year. It will insure you for one holiday for a specified period of time (usually between 31 and 365 days).


 Valuables - These are usually capped by a single article limit in the travel insurance policy. Therefore, if you are travelling with expensive items (i.e. jewellery) you may want to increase your cover in this area for an increased premium. You will need to list the specific items you want to insure, including item description, age of valuable, value in GBP and the serial number in your policy.


 Wedding cover - This will protect your attire, photographs, and gifts if you have an overseas wedding planned.

 Winter sports cover - Most insurers will offer this cover as an optional extra and some even include it in their annual policies. This will generally protect you for theft or loss of equipment, injury in a ski resort, piste closure and avalanche closure. Read our guide on choosing ski holiday insurance for more information.

Now that you’re an expert on UK travel insurance terms you can go and grab yourself the right deal. We always recommend shopping around and comparing travel insurance: don’t ever buy a policy without checking out the cover limits and benefits first (you know what they are). Whether you’re planning on hiking or reading by the pool, have a great holiday. In the words of Van Morrison, “Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.”

All material on this page and the website is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of financial advice. is not responsible for any consequences that might arise from your use of the information provided.

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