Explore beautiful Snowdonia in Wales; walk through the Titanic Belfast museum in Northern Ireland, admire Big Ben in London, or search for the Loch Ness monster. From the Orkneys to Devonshire – years can be spent immersing yourself in the UK & many do given the strong ties to Australia both historically and today.
Wherever your adventures take you in the UK, make sure you are well-equipped with travel insurance to protect you against any mishaps.
1. What does travel insurance for the UK cover?
Medical expenses and emergency evacuation: The UK is part of the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia – which allows you free National Health Service (NHS) access, together with GP visits. This means that the majority of your medical bills should be covered in the UK, if you use government services, and not private health care. Read more about the RHCA, and what is covered for the UK. You will need to have a valid Australian passport, together with a current Medicare card – to prove you’re eligible for this cover. Any medical expenses you incur that are over and above the RHCA benefits, will need to either be covered by you – or your travel insurance.
Lost or stolen property: Petty crimes such as pickpocketing, mobile phone theft, and credit card and ATM fraud are common in the UK. If your belongings, or passport are lost or stolen, travel insurance will cover most of the costs involved in replacing these items.
Cancelled flight/accommodation: The reality of a cancelled flight or accommodation is present at any time when travelling. Your insurer should cover most of the costs incurred due to a cancelled flight or accommodation.
24/7 emergency assistance: Some insurers will offer 24/7 emergency assistance to help you if you are in an emergency in the UK. Ask your insurer about this option.
Rental vehicle insurance and road safety cover: Your insurer might cover any excess incurred for a rental vehicle, if you are involved in an accident – this might also include medical expenses if you are harmed, but you should check with your insurer. You are legally allowed to drive in the UK, for up to 12 months, with a valid Australian driver’s license.
Theft of cash: You should be covered for theft of cash from your body if you are robbed. Your insurer might pay the full amount, or part thereof – check what you are covered for.
Seniors travel insurance: The UK has a lot to offer senior travellers, particularly in terms of discounted travel costs and easy access for wheelchairs or other disabilities. Travelling through the UK is pleasant for seniors, with the mild weather conditions, and easily accessible public transport. With the RHCA in place for Australians travelling to the UK, healthcare is freely available for senior travellers, but you should check with the NHS if you are eligible for treatment in the UK. ² You might be required to take out additional seniors travel insurance for your trip to the UK.
2. What does travel insurance for the UK not cover?
Negligence: Leaving your personal belongings unattended for an extended period of time – including leaving them in an unlocked vehicle or hotel room – will result in you not being covered by your insurer for these items. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also considered negligent behaviour, and is against the law – you will not be covered for any costs incurred if you are found to be intoxicated.
Pre-existing medical conditions: Some insurers do not offer cover for some pre-existing medical conditions, or will require you to take out additional cover – but you should check this with your insurer.
Terrorist threats: If there is advance warning by the Australian government for travelling to the UK, your insurer might not cover you for any damages, medical assistance or emergency evacuation requirements due to terrorism. You should check with your insurer beforehand if you are covered in the event of a terrorist attack in the UK.
High-risk activities: Some high-risk activities might not be covered by travel insurance in the UK. These could include, kayaking, kite-buggying, rock climbing, hiking, or trail running. Check with your insurer if you are covered for any of these risky activities, or if you require additional cover.
3. Travel safety tips for the UK
Terrorism threats: Terrorism is a severe threat in the UK, with lots of terrorist threats having taken place in the UK, over the last few years. Extreme caution is advised at all times when travelling to the UK. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and keep an eye out for unattended bags on a bus, train or on the pavement. Listen to official warnings at all times, and report any suspicious behaviour that you might notice. You can sign up for alerts and updates for the UK through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Civil unrest and political tension: Political rallies and civil disorder are a concern in the UK, with Northern Ireland being a particular concern. Avoid large gatherings and rallies, where there is potential for violent outbreaks.
Crime: You should be vigilant whenever you travel anywhere in the world. In the UK you need to be aware of credit card and ATM fraud, drink spiking, and acid attacks, where people throw acid in your face to rob you. Be cautious when carrying cash, and avoid carrying large sums of cash at one time. Don’t leave your drink unattended in a bar, and never accept drinks from strangers.
4. Adventure activities to do in the UK
While these adventure activities are extremely fun and worth doing while in the UK, you should remember that your travel insurance might not cover you if you are hurt while doing any of these. You should always check beforehand with your insurer if you are covered for any extreme activities, or if additional cover is required. You do not want to be left with a hefty medical bill if you are hurt. You should also check if emergency assistance is available to you if you need to be airlifted due to medical or emergency reasons.
Sea kayaking, Scotland: Explore the Scottish wilderness by kayak, and a gentle hike through the Torridon region – perfect for beginners.
Kite-buggying, East Sussex: Fly across the beach on a three-wheeled buggy, carried by a kite, for a fun, adventurous outing.
Rock climbing, Snowdonia: Experience the thrill of vertical rock climbing and abseiling, with a guided climb up the rock face overlooking Snowdon in Wales.
Hiking, Yorkshire Dales: Go on a guided hike through the beautiful Yorkshire Dales National Park in England, where you can camp and hike for up to seven nights, as you journey through the beautiful wilderness.
Paragliding, Surrey: Book a tandem paragliding flight over Surrey in England, to watch the majestic landscape below. You will need nerves of steel, but no prior experience is required.
Snorkelling, Isle of Coll: Take a snorkel tour along the Isle of Coll, which consists of 23 sandy beaches and plentiful wildlife. The perfect way to experience the underwater sea life in Scotland.
|24-hour Australian Consular Emergency Helpline
1300 555 135
+61 2 6261 3305
+61 421 269 080
|Australian High Commission, London
London WC 2B 4LA, UNITED KINGDOM
Phone: (44 20) 7379 4334
Fax: (44 20) 7887 5559
|Emergency phone numbers
Firefighting and rescue services: 999
Medical emergencies: 999
Police services: 999
Local police (Non-emergency): 101
¹ “Top 10 things UK is famous for”, ListAKA, accessed on 18 September 2018. https://listaka.com/top-10-things-united-kingdom-uk-britain-is-famous-for/
² “UK for seniors travel”, New Young Travel, accessed on 19 September 2018. https://newyoungtravel.com.au/seniors_travel_tips/uk_for_seniors_travel1/
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