In short, yes and no. No, because no-one’s forcing you to take travel insurance, you can travel without it. Yes, because it’s a really good idea, wherever you’re going.
Perhaps a longer answer is better. Frequently, travelling is already expensive enough before you add on the cost of taking out insurance as well, but without insurance it could become even more costly. Think about the following scenarios, and the value of travel insurance compared to paying even more for a mistake you might not even have made.
Here’s one that can really sting. Definitely important if you’re going away on a high-risk adventure, thinking about potential medical insurance can be applicable even if you’re just going for a relaxing beach trip for a few days. If you end up getting ill or injured in any way while you’re in another country you’ll often be liable for your own medical expenses, with emphasis on the expenses. You might not expect to get injured on your relaxing beach trip, but on the off-chance that you do you don’t want to have to pay huge amounts for it.
Another one that can really hit the wallet, theft is a danger that’s present whether you’re in another country or not. It could be your valued electronics, it could be your wallet or it could just be the result of your holiday shopping spree, but whatever it might be, you’ll want to keep it covered or you might lose out. In a similar manner, travel insurance can help protect against the loss of documents such as passports, which can be devastating when you’re low on money in a foreign country.
Cancellation and curtailment
Cancellations are a sadly common problem. If you’re flying, all manner of storms in your take-off or landing locations can be the cause of a cancellation, and even if you’re travelling for some other reason, unexpected events can have any sort of knock-on effects. Sometimes it’s even your own problems that lead to a travel cancellation, but whatever the reasons, you don’t want to lose out on all the costs of travel if you’re not going to end up travelling.
Whether you’re being blamed for something or you need to press a claim against someone else, travelling can put you in some situations in which legal advice or representation becomes a necessity, and that doesn’t come cheaply. Some travel insurance can help you out with this, giving you the peace of mind that you won’t be left to fend for yourself should something untoward happen.
A lot of these occurrences can happen even if you don’t plan on leaving the UK, so don’t think it’s just foreign travel that makes insurance worth your while. Of course, we don’t want to make travelling sound like a dangerous proposition fraught with peril, but it always pays to be safe, whatever you plan on doing.
So, is it travel insurance really necessary? No, but it’s certainly not a bad idea.