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Best UK Travel Insurance: Coverage Tips & Plans June 2024

  • Our top picks for UK travel insurance come from Seven Corners, Tin Leg, and Trawick International.
  • Most U.S. health insurance won’t cover the cost of medical treatment you receive overseas, so it’s important to purchase a medical travel insurance policy at the least.
  • By law, UK hospitals will charge foreigners 150% of the normal cost for treatment, which means you could be left paying huge bills if you fall ill on your trip and don’t have an insurance plan in place.
  • Basic medical travel insurance plans for UK visits can cost as low as $1 per day. However, for a few extra dollars, you can get plans that include many more types of coverage such as trip delays, trip interruptions, lost/stolen personal items, and more.
  • To find the best travel insurance for your trip to the UK, we recommend using an online comparison tool. This allows you to compare travel insurance quotes from multiple providers at once to ensure you find the best deal.

Our top picks for the best UK travel insurance

Advertiser Disclosure
Best Value for Robust Coverage

Seven Corners

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
4.37
Preferred Plan
Trip Protection Choice
Covers COVID
YES
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $1,000,000
Best Rated Travel Insurance

Tin Leg

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
4.6
Preferred Plan
Gold
Covers COVID
YES
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $500,000
Best Medical Evacuation Limits

Trawick International

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
4.14
Preferred Plan
Safe Travels Voyager
Covers COVID
YES
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$250,000 / $1,000,000

Do I need travel insurance to visit the United Kingdom?

Travel insurance to the UK isn’t legally required for U.S. citizens visiting the country as a tourist. However, not buying a travel insurance policy could leave you in a bad position should you run into issues with your trip itinerary or happen to have a medical incident while abroad.

It’s important to note that most private US medical insurance won’t cover you while you’re traveling abroad. This is also true for Medicare, and Medicaid. That means without a travel insurance plan you run the risk of paying out of pocket if you require emergency medical treatment while visiting the UK.

Our top picks for the best UK travel insurance

Advertiser Disclosure

Best Value for Robust Coverage

Full Policy Details

Seven Corners

4.37
GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Trip Protection Choice
Covers COVID
YES
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $1,000,000
Why We Like It

PROS

  • Offers coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Cancellation & Interruption coverage standard
  • Covers action sports & equipment

CONS

  • Cancel for any reason not included standard
  • Must meet waiver for pre-existing conditions to be covered

Best Rated Travel Insurance

Full Policy Details

Tin Leg

4.6
GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Gold
Covers COVID
YES
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $500,000
Why We Like It

PROS

  • Excellent primary coverage for medical expenses
  • High limit for emergency evacuation coverage
  • Optional cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage available
  • Comes with coverage for hurricanes and inclement weather
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions is available if purchased within 14 days of the trip deposit

CONS

  • Baggage delay coverage requires a 24-hour waiting period
  • Low coverage limits for baggage and personal effects

Best Medical Evacuation Limits

Full Policy Details

Trawick International

4.14
GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Safe Travels Voyager
Covers COVID
YES
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$250,000 / $1,000,000
Why We Like It

PROS

  • Excellent medical coverage limits
  • Up to $2,500 baggage coverage included
  • Covers quarantine accommodation expenses

CONS

  • Baggage delay coverage only kicks in after 8 hours
  • CFAR only covers 75% of the insured trip cost
Passport and Plane Ticket

How much does travel insurance for the UK cost?

According to official sales data from Squaremouth, UK travel insurance averages around $309.28.

Based on our own official sales figures over the past year, our customers paid, on average, $191.47 for UK travel insurance.

The cheapest travel insurance for UK visits can cost as little as around $1 per day. For more comprehensive coverage, you can expect to pay around $8 to $10 per day or even more depending on your trip parameters and coverage levels.

To give you a ballpark estimate of how much travel insurance for visitors to UK can cost, we got sample quotes from three different providers.

We applied this information to the quotes:

This table displays three quotes for medical-based travel insurance plans that don’t reimburse the full trip costs:

Provider Plan Name Plan Cost Cancellation / Interruption Limits Medical / Medevac Limits
Tin Leg Standard $5 $0/$0 $30,000/$200,000
Trawick International Safe Travels Explorer $20 $0/$0 $50,000/$2000,000
Seven Corners Trip Protection Basic $25 $0/$1,000 $100,000/$250,000


If you want your policy to include trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, you will need to purchase a more comprehensive plan.

For the following table, we have quotes for plans that reimburse you if your trip to the UK is canceled or interrupted.

Provider Plan Name Plan Cost Cancellation / Interruption Limits Medical / Medevac Limits
Tin Leg Standard $48 $2,000/$2,000 $30,000/$200,000
Trawick International Safe Travels Explorer $57 $2,000/$2,000 $50,000/$2000,000
Seven Corners Trip Protection Basic $75 $2,000/$2,000 $100,000/$250,000

As you can see, adding trip cost reimbursement can double or triple the cost of your travel insurance policy.

It’s important to note that these prices are for example purposes only. Actual plan costs will vary depending on your own unique circumstances.

All of the following factors impact the cost of travel insurance:

Who should get travel insurance when visiting the UK?

Anyone who doesn’t have a health insurance plan that works in the UK should consider opting for travel insurance when visiting the United Kingdom.

This is especially true for people traveling with an older person or anyone who may be at higher risk of needing medical care while abroad.

In this case you may wan’t to opt for a special travel insurance plan for seniors or a travel insurance plan that covers pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a lot of high-dollar nonrefundable expenses for your trip to the UK, it’s also a smart idea to take out travel insurance. While you may be able to cover these costs out of pocket, for a few extra dollars you can typically get these costs refunded if you face unforeseen cancellations or interruptions to your vacation.

Common reasons you may need travel insurance for the UK

The UK is generally a safe country to travel to. It’s developed and they also speak English which means that American travelers typically shouldn’t have to much trouble navigating through the UK while visiting.

However, there are a number of situations that are unique to traveling in the UK that may not cross your mind initially and can pose a risk to unprepared travelers.

A UK travel insurance plan can protect you in the following situations:

1. Transportation strikes are common in the UK

As per the official National Rail website, the UK has experienced a sustained period of strike action by the railway unions over the past two years - with the most recent being in February of 2024. If you plan to travel across the UK, rail strikes could affect your travel plans no matter how short the journey is. Strike actions often come with little notice and can have huge repercussions on the effectiveness of services all over the country.

A travel insurance policy can easily cover travel delays, missed connections, or cancellations and interruptions to your travel itinerary due to a strike.

2. Pickpockets often target foreigners

Pickpocketing is a common phenomenon in Europe and the same is true across major UK cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham. Thieves often operate in busy tourist spots in London, especially in crowded areas such as Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus. The London Underground is also regularly frequented by thieves during rush hour, and let’s be honest, Americans are easy to spot when traveling, even in a country full of native English speakers.

Comprehensive travel insurance to the UK covers lost, stolen, and damaged personal items in case some something happens. Therefore, we recommend reviewing the plans just in case you need one.

3. Much of the UK is rural & relatively isolated?

Many people don’t think of the UK as a predominantly rural nation. However, the same is true about the U.S. when you actually stop to think about it.

Alongside the UK’s numerous cities and urban areas, there is a plethora of isolated rural and idyllic locations across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland which make amazing travel destinations. That said, rural areas are not always well connected to hospitals and present an ideal landscape for requiring evacuation crews in an emergency. As official UK government statistics show, From March 2022-March 2023 there were 1,316 rescue/recovery operations carried out across the UK.

While the picturesque landscapes of the English Lake District, Scottish Highlands, and Welsh National Parks welcome thousands of visitors every year, they are not without incident.

We recommend having travel insurance in the UK that covers you for emergency medical treatment and emergency medical evacuation in case you have an accident or fall ill while enjoying the isolated countryside of the country.

4. Heathrow has a reputation for lost & delayed baggage

London Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in Europe and has the largest share of lost luggage claims in the UK, according to Statista. It’s also no surprise to most Americans that US airports aren’t exactly great at avoiding baggage issues either.

Including baggage insurance as part of your UK travel insurance policy will ensure you are covered for any losses during your journey to the UK.

What types of coverage do you need for traveling to the UK?

Travel insurance plans can largely be grouped into two categories:

  1. medical-based travel insurance
  2. comprehensive travel insurance

Naturally, what your travel insurance covers depends on the type of policy you purchase.

Medical-based travel insurance

At the most basic level, we recommend opting for medical-based travel insurance for UK visits. These travel insurance policies are typically the cheapest and are also the most important, since most U.S. health insurance doesn’t work outside of the United States.

Although the UK provides free medical treatment for UK residents, the US Embassy notes that American tourists will be charged for any medical services they receive.

The UK government further notes that non-UK visitors will be charged at 150% of the cost for treatment by the NHS if they are treated by UK hospitals. This can leave you paying large amounts out-of-pocket if you don’t have medical travel insurance in place to pick up the bill.

Typically medical-based travel insurance policies will include two separate coverage limits for medical emergencies and emergency medical evacuations:?

Since the cost of treatment is so high for visitors to the UK, and the distance to evacuate you back to the US is so far, we recommend opting for at least $100,000 in medical coverage and at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage.

Medical plans typically won’t include wide-reaching coverage for other things like trip cancellations or trip cost reimbursement. For this, you may need to opt for a more comprehensive travel insurance plan with trip cost reimbursement.

Comprehensive travel coverage

When choosing travel insurance, you have the option of buying plans that reimburse your for non-refundable prepaid trip expenses, and plans that don’t. To get insured for things like trip cancellations, interruptions, delays, and your personal items, you typically need to purchase a travel insurance plan that offers trip cost reimbursement.

Some medical-based travel insurance policies may reimburse your for a cancelled or interrupted trip if it comes as part of your medical care resulting from a covered injury or illness. However, if you have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen events like natural disasters, or terrorism, you can typically only be reimbursed if you have chosen a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses.?

Below, we walk through a cost example that shows the difference in prices of medical based plans versus comprehensive travel insurance coverage.

Optional Add-ons

As a side note, some insurance providers may also offer optional add-ons like cancel for any reason (CFAR) insurance. This allows you to cancel your trip for any reason and claim back around 50% to 75% of your prepaid travel expenses. Including CFAR insurance within your policy will ensure you are covered should you decide to change your plans and cancel your trip to the UK.??

What isn’t covered by travel insurance for UK visits?

As a general rule, most travel insurance policies exclude coverage for the following scenarios:

  1. Claims resulting from illegal activities
  2. Claims related to medical tourism
  3. Injuries resulting from intoxication from drugs or alcohol
  4. Cancellations due to fear COVID-19 (See COVID-19 travel plans)

While these may be rather obvious to some people, many travel insurance plans also include restrictions for the following:

Passport and Plane Ticket

Tips for choosing the best UK travel insurance

To find the best insurance policy for your needs, follow these tips:

1

Draft your itinerary

If you’ll be using multiple common carriers, you may need higher coverage limits due to the heightened risk of delays and cancellations.

See More See Less
2

Decide if you need any add-ons

For example, if you plan to go mountain climbing, you may want to get an adventure add-on to ensure you’re covered in the event of an injury.

See More See Less
3

Determine how much flexibility you need

If you expect to make plans on a whim or change your itinerary at the last minute, you may want a travel insurance policy with higher coverage limits. If you don’t need much flexibility, you may be able to make do with cheap travel insurance.

See More See Less

Tips for visiting the UK

Overview of UK country information & travel requirements

The table below provides a quick overview of what you need to know about traveling to the UK.

Query Details
Tourist visa required? No short-stay visa required for visits lasting 6 months or less UK visa required for stays lasting longer than 6 months
Passport requirements Valid U.S. passport is required Must have at least one blank passport page If you plan to travel to other European countries, you may need a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months following your scheduled return date
Local currency GBP
Average 5-year exchange rate GBP 1 = USD 1.2210
Vaccine requirements None
COVID-19 test required? No
Travel advisory level Level 2 (exercise increased caution)
Emergency services phone number 999 or 112
Accepts U.S. health insurance? No
Travel insurance required? No

Do US citizens need a visa to visit the UK?

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you don’t need a visa to stay in the UK for 6 months or less.

Is a Schengen visa valid for the UK?

No. The Schengen visa is only valid in the 27 countries belonging to the Schengen area.

Does Brexit affect my travel to the UK?

In 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union, an event known as “Brexit.” Fortunately, Brexit has no effect on airline travel from the United States to the United Kingdom.

UK travel insurance FAQs

Do I need travel insurance for a trip to the UK?

You’re not required to purchase travel insurance, but it’s a good idea to buy a policy before your trip. This type of insurance covers trip cancellation, trip delays, and other common scenarios, giving you extra peace of mind.

How much does UK travel insurance cost?

It depends on your age, the cost of your trip, and other factors. Based on the quotes we pulled above, you can expect to pay an average of $201.09 for a 15-day trip to the UK.

Does my US health insurance cover me in the UK?

No, your U.S. medical insurance won’t cover you in the UK or any other European country.

Can Americans get free health care in UK?

Generally, American tourists?don’t qualify for free health care?through the UK’s National Health Service.

What should I do if I am injured or ill while in the UK?

If you need urgent medical treatment, call 999 or visit 111.nhs.uk. You can also go to the nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department.

About the Author

Sarah Stasik
Sarah Stasik Personal Finance

Sarah Stasik is well versed in personal finance thanks to her previous role as a Revenue Cycle Manager for a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Using her inside knowledge and expertise, Sarah often covers topics ranging from insurance and the economics of private healthcare to personal finance and small business management.

With more than a dozen years of writing experience, Sarah has tackled niches that range from technical advances in fintech to personal budgeting challenges. She has covered topics such as insurance and the economics of private healthcare, small business management and accounting, and credit and savings. Her writing focuses on making complex or seemingly daunting financial topics more accessible and providing helpful and relevant resources for readers.

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