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Do I need travel insurance for a UK break or staycation?

Travel insurance for a holiday in the UK isn't something you must have, but it might be something you want to have.

It can protect you from loss and damage to personal items and holiday cancellations. And knowing you're covered could give you peace of mind. Here's how it can benefit you.

Posted: 25/8/2023 | By Amanda Duffy

Sunset at the English coast

Why might I need travel insurance for holidays in the UK?

You've planned a break in the UK. You want to avoid the hassle of getting to an airport and dealing with an overrun terminal. And this country offers so many unexplored treasures, from city breaks to beach holidays. And there's the added bonus of being able to pack as much as you like because there are no weight restrictions.

Many of us don't think we need travel insurance for a holiday in the UK because the NHS covers us for medical treatment. In fact, research suggests one in five of us don't buy it.

In a survey of over 2,000 holidaymakers we conducted in May 2023, 35% told us they'd booked or planned a holiday in the UK. And nearly a quarter (23%) said they'd save on travel insurance to afford a better holiday – but this can be a false economy if things go wrong.

While it isn't compulsory to have travel insurance in the UK, the cover it gives you could make your holiday a more relaxing experience.

Holidays are an important time to rest and recharge and can be the highlight of the year. Our survey showed 33% of you switch off your phone for part or all of your holiday, 6% stay in bed all day and 26% book a hotel with a spa. With all the possibilities for relaxation, you’ll want to avoid any stress.

Need travel insurance for your UK break?

Benefits of having travel insurance for a UK trip

  1. Protect your possessions

    When we holiday in our own country, we often take more with us, including valuable items. You might take laptops, game consoles, digital cameras or prized possessions such as jewellery and watches.

    Your home insurance may cover these items, but you'll need to check if you have an away-from-home add-on, and sometimes accidental damage isn't included.

    Travel insurance will cover your personal belongings. And adding extra cover for your gadgets will protect your electronic devices. If you take out a policy, choose the right level to cover the items you want to include.

  2. Protect the cost of your holiday before you go

    You've worked hard all year. You need a well-deserved holiday. You've booked a hotel with the perfect view. Now you can't wait to switch off your daily alarm, run away from the washing up, and stop thinking about the weekly shop.

    But it's a few months before your break, and a lot can happen in that time. You could be called up for jury duty, or something could happen to your home or a pet that means you can't go away*. The money you've outlaid for your UK holiday could be lost unless you've taken out appropriate cover.

    Travel insurance protects the money you've invested in your holiday accommodation. It's why we recommend buying your travel insurance at the same time as booking your holiday. Depending on the policy you take out, these costs can be covered and allow you to use the money you claim to take a holiday at another time.

    *Pet insurance may cover the cost of a trip you’re unable to take if your pet falls ill or is injured. Check the details of both your travel and pet insurance policies to see what’s covered.

  3. Protect the cost of your holiday while you’re away

    Your holiday is turning out to be better than you expected. You're taking relaxing walks, going to the gym and you've treated yourself to a massage. All your worries might seem like a distant memory, but the unexpected can crop up at any time. What if one of your family members is taken seriously ill, and you have to cut your holiday short to go home? We hate to think of these things, but unfortunately, they do happen.

    Travel insurance can cover non-refundable accommodation costs, and if you have pets in a cattery or kennel, it can also cover these costs. You might be happy to see your furry friend earlier than expected, but it doesn't remove the financial sting. Getting your money back helps make things a little better.

  4. Get compensation for an injury

    Holidays bring out the brave and bold in us. You're different on vacation, excited by the thrill of windsurfing or abseiling. These activities can be exhilarating and provide lifetime memories, but they can also be dangerous.

    If you take out travel insurance with additional cover for the activity in question, you may be protected if something goes wrong. And always remember to use a reputable company with the correct licenses and certifications for these activities.

    Travel insurance can also protect against permanent injury or death and legal costs for selected personal liability cases. Please check your policy document for more information.

  5. Choosing travel insurance

    Single-trip travel insurance is a good option if you plan to have one holiday in the year. Or, if you want to keep your options open and travel in the UK and abroad, annual multi-trip travel insurance could be the right choice. Please remember to check the destinations your annual multi-trip travel insurance covers.

  6. When to buy your travel insurance

    Martin Lewis, the founder of, recommends you buy cover ASAB, as soon as you book your holiday. Then you’re covered for non-refundable accommodation costs from the moment you’ve purchased travel insurance with the right cover.

    Read more about when to buy travel insurance

About our survey

Post Office Travel surveyed 2,005 UK adults from 9-10 May 2023 on a range of holiday-related topics. These included whether those who had booked or planned to book a holiday would be doing so in the UK or overseas.

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Common questions

  • We recommend you buy travel insurance the moment you start paying for your holiday, and then you're covered for any cancellation risks.

    Single-trip travel insurance covers your holiday from the moment you buy your policy. The policy start date needs to be the beginning of your actual trip, but the cover starts straight away.

    The difference with annual-trip travel insurance is the cover only starts from the date of your policy rather than when you buy the insurance. Read more about when to buy travel insurance

  • There are conditions when booking annual multi-trip travel insurance for a trip in the UK. You must book and pay for at least one night's accommodation, or stay at least 100 miles from your home, or make at least one sea crossing during your trip. Please check your policy for more details.

  • If you're taking a long trip without a break, single-trip travel insurance can cover you for an extended period. Please read the policy's terms and conditions to ensure you understand the length of time it covers.

  • Yes, annual multi-trip travel insurance can also cover you for trips abroad if you choose to take them during the dates of your policy. Please make sure the policy covers the different destinations you wish to visit.
  • You can choose how many people your travel insurance covers. You can include your family or take out an individual policy. Make sure you cover everyone you need to when you buy travel insurance.

Other travel products

  • Travel Money

    Order foreign currency online or in selected branches. Pick up in any branch or get it delivered to your home.

  • Travel Money Card

    One prepaid Mastercard™ that stores up to 22 currencies.

  • Passport Check & Send

    Get your passport application right the first time. We can even complete and submit it for you digitally.