A guide to Travel Insurance

Get the best cover from the best provider of travel insurance

A simple guide to Travel Insurance

General Concepts

Many people don't realise that Travel Insurance helps protect you not only during the holiday but also before you've travelled. If you have to cancel the holiday for unforeseen reasons you may need to use your travel insurance to recoup costs of the booked holiday, so if you've booked a holiday, even if it's six months away, then you should have travel insurance.

The main reason people need travel insurance is to protect themselves against medical costs whilst abroad as these can easily run in into the thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds should you require medical treatment. Other key aspects that travellers require cover for is cancellation and cutting short a holiday, personal belongings, and personal liability. Each of these aspects of cover (medical, cancellation, personal belongings) are referred to as benefits of the Travel insurance policy; all of the benefits are described in our Benefits Guide. Benefits of a policy are often also referred to as cover or cover levels

Most benefits will have a limit  and an excess. The limit is the maximum amount that the policy will pay out and the excess is the initial portion that you have to pay before the policy benefit starts to pay out. For example, imagine you have a baggage benefit of £1000 with an excess of £100, here are a few different scenarios of how these would get applied when claiming for losses you incur if your baggage is lost or stolen:

  1. Claim amount: £500; you pay £100 (your excess) and the insurance policy pays the remainder (£400)
  2. Claim amount £1100; you pay £100 (your excess) and the insurance policy pays the remainder (£1000)
  3. Claim amount £1500; you pay £100 (your excess) and the insurance policy pays £1000 as this is the maximum benefit.

Scenario 3 highlights the importance of selecting a sufficient benefit limit (also known as cover level) when purchasing a policy. In this example, the value of the baggage was £1500 but the policy benefit limit was only £1000 which has left you out of pocket. Puffin Insurance offers three policies (Bronze, Silver and Gold) so you can choose the one that has sufficient cover levels for you.

Type of policy: Annual or Single?

The starting point is generally to decide if you'd like an annual policy or a single trip policy.

Annual policies: These cover you for a whole year, no matter how many holidays you go on. The cover levels are exactly the same as the equivalent Single Trip, so if you're planning multiple trips in the year this can often be the best value for money. For many people, if you go on more than two one week holidays in a year, then an Annual policy is going to work out cheaper.

Single Trip policies: As the name suggests, these cover you for a single holiday. If you're only planning 1-2 holidays in a year, then these are probably best value for money.

Destination Regions

If you are purchasing a Single Trip policy, it's most likely that you're only travelling to one country. At Puffin we split the world up into a series of regions and all you need to tell us is which region the country you're travelling to is in. The regions are:

  • United Kingdom
  • Europe (excluding Spain)
  • Europe
  • Europe, Australia and New Zealand
  • Worldwide (excluding USA, Canada and Caribbean)
  • Worldwide

If you are going on a trip to multiple countries (e.g. a road trip or cruise) then read on.... You'll need to choose a region that encompasses all countries that  you're travelling to and this is where the order we've listed the regions in becomes important. Each region listed, includes all the countries that are listed in the region(s) above it. So, for example, "Europe (including Spain)" includes the country Spain, plus all the countries listed in "Europe (excluding Spain)" and "UK". The see all the countries that are included in the regions, please see our Country List.

Optional Extras

To keep our prices low, we don't bloat your policy with cover that most people don't need. However, we do offer a range of options for those that do want some specific types of cover including Winter Sports Cover (Ski and Snowboard), Cruise Cover, Golf Cover, Gadget Cover, Business Cover and Wedding Cover. If you add these options, you'll have to pay a little more but in return you'll get additional benefits that specialise in a given area (e.g. Golf cover). For more information, see our Options page.

Policy Benefits / Cover Levels

As described earlier in this guide, your Travel Insurance policy is essentially a series of policy benefits (also known as Cover Levels) that provides cover for a variety of scenarios related to travelling. The Benefits Guide provides a complete list of benefits that you'll find on Puffin Insurance policies