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Couples travel insurance – how does it work?

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It might not have the same appeal as researching the local cocktail bars, but buying travel insurance is a crucial part of planning a worry-free break.

Taking out a comprehensive travel insurance policy can offer peace of mind that if something goes wrong during your trip — or you are forced to cancel it altogether — you’re financially protected.

If you’re travelling with a partner, couples travel insurance is an option worth considering. These joint policies cover both you and your ‘other half’, which can save on hassle as well as cash.

What is a couple?

Different providers have different criteria when it comes to defining ‘a couple.’ Typically, you and your partner must be aged 18 or over, share a home address, and be in a relationship.

It’s best to double-check you meet the insurer’s criteria before taking out the policy, since some may require you to have lived with your partner for at least six months.

Cost of premiums

When you take out a couples travel insurance policy, the premium you’ll pay depends on several factors including you and your partner’s ages, and whether either of you has any pre-existing health issues.

If you’re over 65 or have a medical condition, premiums will be higher since you’re considered more likely to claim for medical treatment during your trip.

Taking part in risky activities such as winter sports during your trip will equally push up the price of your premium.

Your travel destination is another important factor in determining premium prices. Policies that cover the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean tend to be more expensive, since medical treatment is more costly in these regions.

As an illustration, if you and your partner will be travelling within Europe for seven days, you can expect the cost of policies to start at around £20 — assuming you are both under 65 and have no pre-existing health conditions. The same level of cover will set you back about £45 if you’re travelling to the USA.

For an annual multi-trip policy, you can expect to pay around £30 to travel within Europe, and £80 to travel worldwide including the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Taking out couples travel insurance often works out cheaper than opting for two individual policies.

However, if you or your partner is over 65 or has a pre-existing medical condition, this will push up the premium for both of you. In these cases, it’s worth comparing both joint and individual policies to find the more affordable option.

Types of couples travel insurance

As with individual travel insurance policies, you and your partner can purchase cover for a single trip, or multiple trips over the course of 12 months.

If you have more than two trips planned within a year, an annual policy is usually better value.

The type of policy you require also depends on where you’ll be travelling. Depending on your destination, you could purchase cover for the UK, Europe, worldwide, or worldwide plus USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

What’s covered

With any travel insurance policy, it’s important to check you’re getting the right level of cover for you and your partner’s needs.

The exact coverage you receive depends on your policy and provider, but at minimum it should include:

  • Medical expenses — this ensures you can pay for any medical treatment if you fall ill or become injured during your trip. Check that repatriation (taking you back to the UK) is  included

  • Cancellation or curtailment — you can make a cancellation or curtailment claim if you need to cancel or cut a trip short due to unforeseen circumstances

  • Baggage and personal possessions — this covers you if your baggage or a valuable possession is lost or stolen during your trip

  • Personal liability — you’ll be covered financially if you accidentally damage someone’s property or injure them while travelling.

If your trip is not an ATOL-protected package holiday, it may be worth selecting a policy that  includes ‘end supplier failure’ cover. This type of cover allows you to make a claim if the company you booked with fails.

Some policies also include ‘scheduled airline failure cover,’ which pays out if the airline you were due to travel with goes bankrupt.

It’s also worth checking whether the policy you’re considering allows for Covid-specific related medical, cancellation and curtailment claims.

Travelling separately

If you have an annual multi-trip policy, you may still be covered if you decide to travel without your partner — but it’s a good idea to double check the terms and conditions before setting off.

For example, the Allianz Assistance annual policy allows you to travel independently of your partner, provided you took it out together on the same date.

Other considerations

When choosing a policy, take a look at the maximum amount you can claim in different categories to ensure you aren’t left out of pocket.

For example, your cancellation cover should ideally be enough to cover the total cost of your flights, accommodation and any pre-booked activities, while baggage and personal possessions cover should be high enough to replace valuable items.

With a joint policy, be sure to check whether claim limits are per person, or per policy.

It’s also important to consider a policy’s excess — the amount you’ll need to pay if you make a claim.

With both you and your partner included on the policy, it’s important to check whether the excess must be paid by both individuals, or once per policy.

Selecting a higher excess may result in cheaper premiums, but could work out more expensive should you need to make a claim.

Shopping around and comparing a few different policies will help ensure you and your partner get the level of cover you need at the best possible price.