7 Best UK Travel Insurance Plans for US Citizens in 2022

Updated on , by Matthew H. Nash – Licensed Insurance Agent

With its rich history, architectural gems and impressive art and literary scene, the United Kingdom ranks among the most popular travel destinations for US citizens. Amidst the ever-changing landscape of travel and the increased risk of trip delays or cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, medical emergencies and more, having the best UK travel insurance  policy is vital. Whether you will be vacationing in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, this article explains how much you can expect to pay, the level of coverage you may need and the differences between the top policies. Read more about our unbiased ranking methodology and advertiser disclosure.

4.9
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to UK travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$62.53

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
 WEBSITE
FOR

Comparing Policies

  • Compare dozens of the best UK travel insurance policies from all the major providers in one place
  • Easily filter for the features you want and get support from their award-winning customer service team
  • Founded in 2013, TravelInsurance.com has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers find affordable insurance coverage
4.8
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$78.75

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Travelers Aged 55+

  • Pre-existing medical conditions are covered for a reasonable fee and they offer “cancel for any reason” as an add-on
  • $2,000 COVID quarantine coverage available w/ Safe Travels Voyager plan
  • Founded in 1998 and underwritten by Nationwide and GBG Insurance
squaremouth
4.8
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$87.53

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
WEBSITE
FOR

Filtering Plans

  • This comparison website has the most comprehensive filters especially for Covid-19 which helps you search for the specific benefits you need
  • They have “Zero Complaint Guarantee” which promises a fair claims process
  • Established in 2003, Squaremouth has consistently been recognized for it’s exceptional customer service
4.7
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$88.00

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FROM

An Established Brand

  • Well rounded, inexpensive travel insurance plans from an established and top rated global insurance company
  • AXA has plans that cover pre-existing conditions and their “Platinum” plan covers “cancel for any reason” with an optional add-on. They also offer helpful 24/7 Worldwide Travel Assistance Services
  • Founded in 1959 and underwritten by Nationwide
4.7
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$68.63

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

No

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Adventure Travel

  • Covers almost all adventure activities for a reasonable price for U.S. residents up to age 70 (worldwide up to age 65)
  • Can insure up to 9 people in one family and the signup process is super easy
  • Founded in 2002 and underwritten for U.S. travelers by Nationwide Insurance
4.2
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$139.00

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Family Travel

  • Their “Trip Interruption for any Reason” feature allows you to get a 75% reimbursement for any additional expenses if you decide to go home early from your trip
  • They have a variety of insurance products to suit any travel needs
  • Founded in 1993 and underwritten by Nationwide Insurance
3.6
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$521/yr

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

No

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Long-term Travel

  • Ideal for digital nomads and long-term travel, available to anyone anywhere
  • Scored lower because short-term travel coverage isn’t as robust as competitors
  • Founded in 2018 and is underwritten by Lloyds of London

travel insurance
4.9
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE UK

$62.52

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON?

Yes

BEST
WEBSITE
FOR

Comparing Policies

  • Compare dozens of travel insurance policies from all the major providers in one place
  • Easily filter for the features you want and get support from their award-winning customer service team
  • Founded in 2013, TravelInsurance.com has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers find affordable insurance coverage

UK travel insurance FAQs

What is not covered by travel insurance?

Coverage typically extends to events considered unexpected and unforeseen. Most UK travel insurance policies cover a wide range of circumstances, but some do not fall under coverage. An example of this would be changes or cancellations made to your trip due to personal preferences, such as preferring the weather for the following week and delaying your trip or no longer wishing to travel with your original travel companion. That said, the Seven Corners Trip Interruption or Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) will cover these types of situations. 

Standard travel insurance policies also do not cover pre-existing medical conditions, but you will be pleased to know that most providers offer upgrade packages that do. Almost all medically documented conditions are covered, save for pregnancy. Be aware that you will only have 14-21 days after paying your deposit or paying for your trip in full to purchase this upgrade. Check with your travel insurance provider for their specific terms.

Does travel insurance cover adventure sports and extreme activities?

While the UK is known for its rich history and theater scene, it is also fortunate to have a stunning landscape suitable for all sorts of adventure sports and extreme activities. Whether it be surfing in Cornwall, mountain biking in Cumbria, paragliding in East Sussex, or skydiving in Wiltshire, there is a lot of fun to be had for those looking for an adrenaline rush. 

A comparison website such as SquareMouth.com will allow you to filter for travel insurance policies that cover such activities. Just use the “Sports & Activities” option to enter the activities you plan to participate in during your trip to the UK. Once you narrow your choices of plans, I recommend reading the full details of each one before making a purchase.

What to do if you’re in an emergency in the UK?

In the UK, dial 999 for any emergency that requires assistance from one or more of the following: police, fire brigade, ambulance, coast guard, and more. For non-emergency situations such as theft or damaged property or to provide information about a crime, dial 101 instead.

Suppose you or any other insured travel companions experience a medical emergency while in Great Britain, reach out to your insurance provider’s customer support hotline. They can arrange transport or evacuation to a hospital with standards comparable to those of the United States.

Does travel insurance cover cancellation due to Covid or other communicable diseases?

Coverage differs from one provider to the next, but many standard travel insurance policies include trip cancellations if you or your travel companion(s) contract COVID-19 before your trip.

Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic may impact facets of travel that insurance does not necessarily cover. Such things may include negative test requirements, quarantine restrictions, international border closures or someone’s fear of travel. If you feel that any or all of these may alter your travel plans, I encourage you to purchase a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade package since this is the only way to guarantee you will be covered under any circumstance.

Since travel insurance providers are continuously developing new plans to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, it is always good to search through policies on a comparison site such as TravelInsurance.com to see what new offerings are available. I recommend at least $50,000 emergency medical coverage and $100,000 for medical evacuation. If you have already purchased a policy, check in with your provider about whether they have a policy rider that will cover trip cancellations due to infectious diseases. 

Does your credit card give you travel insurance?

Most credit cards claim to offer free “travel protection” for cardholders. You will need to ask your credit card company as to whether they do or not. If so, you can expect that only aspects of the trip you paid for using your credit card will be covered, such as hotels, flights or rental cars. Some companies will offer a different online platform that you can log into to review the terms of your coverage.

Keep in mind: Almost all “travel protection” offered by credit card companies does not include medical or emergency evacuation coverage. Also, the benefits tend to be far less comprehensive in all areas of coverage compared with policies purchased from dedicated travel insurance providers.

Are rental car accidents covered?

Most basic travel insurance plans for the UK or other international destinations do not include car accidents. However, there are optional upgrades that cover rental collisions. Be sure to verify with your provider what the upgrade includes, as many of these optional plans exclude luxury cars, long-term rentals and RVs. Many car rental companies offer separate insurance plans if your travel insurance plan does not extend coverage to your rental car and any potential accidents. You can also inquire with your car insurance company in the US about whether they cover rental car collisions abroad.

Does travel insurance cover an Airbnb or short-term rental that goes wrong?

Coverage for short-term vacation rentals with respect to trip interruptions and cancellations varies from one travel insurance provider to the next. The more comprehensive your plan, the more likely it is included. If it doesn’t, you can purchase an optional  “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) package that will. CFARs typically reimburse 50-75% of your trip’s total cost.

What about canceled flights?

Most standard travel insurance policies cover canceled flights as long as it is for an approved reason, such as an employee strike, inclement weather or your travel provider canceling services for 24 hours or more due to a natural disaster. Flight reimbursements will be made if you need to cancel your flight due to injury, death, or illness of any insured party or one of their family members. Further approved reasons include jury duty, civil unrest or unexpected military deployment. I recommend consulting different travel insurance providers for further information before buying a plan.

Common problems tourists experience in Great Britain and how to steer clear:

Illnesses

While traveling to exotic destinations can leave you fretting about debilitating illnesses such as dengue fever and malaria, the United Kingdom is a relatively easy place to enjoy a vacation. If you get sick, it will most likely be from something run-of-the-mill like food poisoning. Even though your chances of getting food poisoning are no higher than in other major tourist destinations, eating at established restaurants with good reputations will help reduce your risk.

Accidents

One of the most common types of accidents in the UK amongst American travelers is usually automobile-related. In the US, we are used to driving on the right side of the road, but they drive on the left in Britain. Other accidents may occur while travelers participate in extreme sports or outdoor excursions, which can leave them with broken bones, twisted ankles or deep open wounds.

Muggings

As with any large metropolitan center in the West, muggings occur in British cities. Also be aware of pickpockets in busy, crowded areas. While most travelers have no problems during their time in the UK, it is still important to exercise caution. I recommend only carrying with you what you need and remaining aware of your surroundings.

Emergency resources for the United Kingdom 

Phone numbers

Dial 999 for emergency services, and call 101 for non-emergencies. Both are free calls from any phone within the country. 

US embassy or consulate details

The US has an embassy in London, England and consulate generals in Belfast, Edinburgh and Hamilton. The US government also offers virtual services in Wales. Check out the US Embassy in the United Kingdom’s website for more information, including addresses and phone numbers for the various locations.     

If you want to be extra careful, you can list your UK travel itinerary with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate via the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Once you do, you will receive information regarding any travel advisories for Great Britain. Also, it will allow US Embassies and Consulates to facilitate communication between you and your loved ones back home if there is an emergency during your trip.

Additional information to help travelers have better experience in Great Britain:

Currency

Money in Britain is a bit different from that of the US. They use pounds 

sterling instead of dollars and pence instead of cents for starters. However, unlike in the US, their coins are actually worth a fair bit. The British have £1 and £2 coins––not notes––and they can quickly weigh your pockets down, so be sure to spend them! It’s not uncommon to discover you have US$20 in British coins hanging around. 

And since we’re talking about money, it is also good to mention that all prices in the UK include a VAT (value-added tax). If the menu says a latte is £3, you will only pay £3.

To get the best exchange rate, use your debit card to withdraw GBP from ATMs, also known as cash machines or cash points in the UK. Don’t forget to notify your bank of your travel plans so they don’t block your card. 

Driving

The British drive on the left side of the road, and their cars have the driver’s seat on the right side, which can make exploring the United Kingdom by car rather challenging for American visitors. The great news is that the UK has a fantastic national rail and bus system and quick, affordable inter-city flights. Also, cities within the UK have their own transportation systems that can almost always get you wherever you need to go. Should you decide to forego public transport and rent a car, know that a typical rental will come with a manual transmission. If you prefer an automatic, be ready to pay a premium. You will need to filter your rental car searches accordingly if this is important to you.

Language

Another thing worth knowing before you set out on your UK adventure is that the British do not say restroom. If you ask for one, don’t be surprised when many Brits look at you, curious about what this quirky Americanism means. They also do not say bathroom unless they intend to take a bath. Instead, they ask for the loo, WC (water closet) or toilet. To avoid sounding pretentious, you can stick with toilet.

Other words and phrases you may come across:

  • bill – check
  • bits-n-bobs – an odd selection of things
  • bloke – guy
  • cheers/ta – thank you
  • chin wag – a long chat
  • kip – nap
  • last order – last call in a bar
  • miffed – annoyed and/or confused
  • nosh – food
  • pissed – drunk
  • queue – line (that you stand in)
  • quid – one pound £ (GBP)
  • taking the piss – lying,/fooling/pulling one over (on someone)
  • wonky – a way of describing someone or something as unstable or shaky

Tipping

People generally do not tip in cafes or fast food restaurants that require you to order at the counter. On the odd occasion, you may see a tip jar. In which case, feel free to show your appreciation. In restaurants and gastropubs (upscale pubs), tipping 10-15% of your total bill is the norm. 

However, tipping in bars or pubs is not the norm. Many establishments will include a service charge on your bill. While it is technically optional, most people pay it. If you believe the service was good enough to warrant more, you are welcome to leave a little extra.

For taxis, either round up to the nearest pound or pay 10% of your total fare, whichever is greater.

A final note about travel insurance for the UK

I have spent dozens of hours researching travel insurance, including getting quotes and comparing coverage from all the most popular brands. Regardless of where you’re going I am confident that you will also find that TravelInsurance.com offers the best way to compare policies with the ideal combo of coverage and price.

I wish you and yours an incredible journey.

SwiftScore Ranking Methodology

  • Average price for a 2-week vacation based on a 35-year-old California resident traveling to the UK with a $3,500 trip cost
  • Coronavirus coverage
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR)
  • AM Best rating of the underwriter
  • Key policy details including cancellation, interruption, emergency medical evacuation, and baggage & personal effects
  • Ease of sign up
  • Policy language clarity
  • User reviews

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