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For such a (relatively) small nation, the United Kingdom is chock full of things to see and do. In the South, London epitomises the modern city, sporting endless activities, shopping…and good company is just one pub away!

Venture north, past the Old City of York and the moorlands from Wuthering Heights, and you arrive in Scotland. Prepare for food as wild as the cold, and just as tasty (seriously, the haggis is worth trying). Then, fly west to Ireland: the land of legends. Fill in your time by exploring natural beauty the likes of which you’ve never seen. And then, grab a Guinness before you head home.

Yes, the UK is packed full of pleasures. Like any holiday, though, you’ll need to keep yourself safe while you travel. Here’s why travel insurance is an essential purchase for your trip to the United Kingdom.

Getting around

Even before you take off on your adventure, your travel cover is taking care of you. One of the great things about these policies is that they can help you secure money back if an illness prevents you from departure in the first place.

Once you land in the ‘old country’, something you can always depend on is that the sky’s usually going to be a bit grey. And some of the time – often in winter – the weather can cause disruption to services. The railway system across the country (and in between France) is typically exemplary, but if ice forms on the train tracks (for example), it could keep you from your destination…and cost you cash.

Travel cover may help you recoup costs associated with those delays and cancellations, such as accommodation expenses, deposits you’ve already paid for, etc. (assuming you aren’t compensated elsewhere).

Staying safe on the roads

Driving in the UK is a form of transport you may need to rely on. But conditions on these roads vary quite a lot from Aussie ones.

For one, the UK has more cars than Australia. With roughly 31 million vehicles on Britain’s roads as of 2015: there is roughly one car for every two people in England.1 In Australia, there is only 18 million.2 All those vehicles, and Great Britain still fits into the state of Queensland seven times.3 That’s a lot of cars in a small space, so be careful when driving through congested roads. If you get into an accident, your rental car excess could be covered by your travel insurance.

Some more tips about driving in the UK 4

  • You should be able to drive for up to 12 months in England if you have an Open Australian license.
  • Make sure you drive on the left hand side of the road.
  • In an emergency, call 999 for police, fire department, or ambulance.

Staying healthy

Your stay in the UK is likely to follow a traditional tourist route: shopping in London, eat some pub food, drink some fine beers, track down a historical building, rinse/repeat. Partaking in these kinds of activities isn’t exactly fraught with danger, but who knows – you could fall ill and miss out on a big part of your trip!

The UK and Australia do have a reciprocal healthcare agreement, in which our citizens can access subsidised public healthcare when travelling between these two countries. However, you won’t be covered for medical evacuation and you may still need to pay some expenses related to treatment.

At least with travel cover, any medical costs (including emergency transportation, evacuation, dental, and more) should be taken care of. In severe enough circumstances, it should even take care of the cost of returning you home, or expenses related to the accidental death of you or your travelling partner.

Lost, stolen, or damaged belongings

Ever lost a phone on vacation? Your wallet, or (heavens forbid) your passport? It’s no fun, and it could happen anywhere. Worse still is when these belongings are stolen. The UK is – by and large – a fairly safe place to travel, even with kids and your grandmother in tow. However, precautions should be taken when you travel anywhere.

So, if your bag goes missing at Heathrow airport, your wallet gets stolen in a Glasgow pub, or your suitcase is damaged on a bus ride to Belfast, you shouldn’t be left out of pocket if you have travel cover.

What will it cost?

Travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. Depending on what you want to do on your trip, however, costs will vary. For example, if you’re interested in doing some horseback riding, you may find it’s an activity that is only covered on more comprehensive policies, and is therefore more expensive to cover. Our article on travel insurance costs may help you better understand how policies are priced.

Travelling around Europe, and longer trips

Getting insured for a trip involving multiple destinations shouldn’t be drastically different than getting insured for one. Some insurers bundle in multiple countries anyway – maybe even entire continents! It’s easier to organise this beforehand, though, so ask your insurer before you leave which countries your policy covers you for. Additionally, keep a close on SmartTraveller.gov.au for travel advisory warnings for any locales you plan on visiting.

You may wish to do a bit of work while you’re in the UK, maybe to finance a slightly longer trip. If this is the case, simply track down a travel insurance policy that spans a longer period of time (which may cost you extra). You should read through your product disclosure statement to find out whether or not it pays out claims that have resulted from workplace injuries, however. For example, medical claims as the result of playing professional sport are not typically covered by travel policies.

Learn more about travel insurance across different countries


  1. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-35312562
  2. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/9309.0Media%20Release131%20Jan%202015
  3. https://www.qld.gov.au/about/about-queensland/statistics-facts/facts/
  4. http://www.avis.co.uk/drive-avis/driving-guides/road-rules/united-kingdom

N.B. Please refer to or speak with you insurer about limits, sub limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.

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