Buying a travel insurance policy

How do I buy travel insurance?

You can purchase a Columbus Direct travel policy online here.

When should I start my Annual Multi Trip policy?

With Annual Multi Trip policies, cover for cancellation starts on the date entered as the start date of the insurance policy. If you have paid for any part of a trip, set the start date to today to ensure your cancellation cover begins right away. 


This doesn’t affect your cooling off period – you still have 14 days to cancel your policy if you decide you don’t want to keep it for any reason, provided no claims have been made.


When should I start my single trip travel insurance policy?

Your Single Trip insurance policy should start on the day you are starting your trip. Cancellation cover begins as soon as your policy is purchased up until the day you start your trip.


What age do I enter to obtain a quote?

Please enter the age at the time of purchase. 

Should I buy a couple policy, or insure both of us as individuals?

If you are married, in a civil partnership or are co-habiting with your partner, please select ‘Couple’ cover.  Otherwise select Individual if it’s just you on the travel policy, or ‘Group’ to insure more than 1 traveller.


What is a UK resident?

A UK resident is someone that has been a resident of the United Kingdom for at least 3 months before purchasing our travel insurance. 


Can I be covered if I no longer live in the UK? 

We only offer cover to UK residents.

If you have annual cover as a UK resident and have recently moved overseas, please note that unfortunately we will not be able to offer cover at renewal. If you have any questions about your cover please contact our customer services team who will be happy to help.


I’ve left the UK and forgotten to get insurance. Can I still get cover with you? 

We only offer travel insurance to UK residents, who are purchasing cover while they are in the UK and travelling from and returning to the UK. 


How can I pay for my travel insurance policy?

You can pay online using our secure system. We do not collect or store card details, this is handled securely by our payment provider Global Payments. 

We accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express and Paypal.  


How many times can I go away if I have an Annual Multi Trip policy?

If you have an Annual Multi Trip policy you can travel as many times as you like throughout the year, provided each trip does not exceed the maximum trip duration on the policy.

Your maximum trip duration can be found on your policy schedule. Bronze Annual Multi trip policies have a 31-day maximum trip duration as standard, and Silver and Gold Annual Multi trip policies have a 45-day trip duration as standard.

If you are planning to travel for a longer period of time both our Silver and Gold Annual Multi trip policies can be extended to a 60-day trip duration for an additional premium. If you wish to increase your trip duration this can be selected on step 3 of the quote journey ‘Tailor your policy’.

If you have already purchased your policy, our customer services team will be happy to upgrade your policy for you for a small additional premium.  

Don’t forget each trip must start in and return to the UK.

Can my family travel separately on an annual multi-trip policy? 

Yes, all family members can travel separately – including children.


Are the policy benefits per person or per claim?  

The maximum benefits stated on your policy are the amount you can claim up to per person, per trip.

What is an excess?

An excess is the amount deducted from the claim payment, and it applies to each person for each section of cover you claim under.  The excesses are listed on your policy schedule.


You can choose to waive the excess on your travel insurance policy for a small additional premium when you buy – making it easier to make smaller claims. Just add our ‘excess waiver’ option at Step 3 – Tailor your policy, when you get a quote online. 


Will I be covered for working abroad? 

If you’re planning to work while you’re away, it’s important to check you have cover in place while you’re in the workplace.  Provided the job you’re doing is not manual labour (fruit picking, building work etc.) then our policies will cover you.  The exception to this is the personal liability section of our policies – which doesn’t apply while you’re working. So please check with your employer to make sure they have third party liability cover in place for you while you’re at work. 

Please note that we cannot provide cover for manual labour.


Am I covered for business trips? 

Yes, all of our policies can cover business travel.  You can add Gadget Cover to insure your mobile phone, laptop or tablet up to £1,000 or add our Business Travel Extension Upgrade to add an extra £1,000 to cover for lost, damaged or delayed business equipment, or to send a colleague out in your place if you’re ill.


Can I buy insurance for my child to travel on their own? 

Unfortunately, children cannot be insured under their own single trip policy if you’re booking online. 


In certain circumstances, such as travelling on a school trip or when they’re accompanied by an adult, children can have their own insurance policy if you buy it via our contact centre. Please contact our customer services team who will be happy to discuss your requirements.

I’m going travelling – do you cover backpackers? 

Covering your adventures is what we do best! Our Globetrotter policies can cover travel up to 365 days. Our Globetrotter policy offers worldwide protection, round-the-clock medical assistance services and cover for over 150 sports and activities at no extra cost.


It gives you up to £1 million cover for Emergency Medical Expenses, £1,000 for cancellation costs and £750 to cover what’s in your backpack. If you’re planning a shorter trip, our Gold, Silver and Bronze policies are available for travel up to 185 days.


Get a quote to see what our policies can offer.

I’ve got an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) – doesn’t that cover me? 

When you’re travelling in Europe, it’s important to take an European Health Insurance card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance card (GHIC) with you, but the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice is that you still need to take out travel insurance too. See their latest advice about taking out comprehensive travel insurance here


Your EHIC / GHIC card covers you for emergency medical treatment in state facilities but it won’t provide you with assistance services or repatriation. It also won’t cover costs if you’re treated in a private medical centre. However, a travel insurance policy from Columbus can cover you for all of these eventualities.


What’s more, if you use an EHIC / GHIC card to reduce medical bills but still need to claim with us, we will waive your policy excess.


Are children covered for free?

All our travel insurance policies cover children up to the age of 2 for free. Our Bronze, Silver and Gold Annual Multi Trip policies cover all children up to 18 years old (23 years if still in full time education) for free. 


Make sure your children’s details are included and up to date on your insurance policy to ensure they are covered in the event of needing to make a claim. 


I’m travelling with children aged under 16 – do they need insurance?

Even the youngest children need to be protected, so please remember to include them on your family policy. 


Please remember that children cannot be insured under their own single trip policy if you’re booking online. In certain circumstances, such as travelling on a school trip or when they’re accompanied by an adult, children can have their own policy, contact our customer services team who will be happy to discuss your requirements with you.  


My children are over 18 - can I still buy a family policy?

If you have children aged 18-22 in full time education, they can be included on either a Single Trip or Annual Trip policy. They can also travel independently under your policy.


If your child is 18 or over and not in full time education, they will need to be insured on their own travel insurance policy. 


I’m over 65 – will you still insure me? 

We can cover you to travel if you’re aged up to 85 inclusive for single trips, and up to 74 inclusive on an Annual Multi-trip policy. If you’re over 85 and need cover for an upcoming trip, our partner will be able to help. They don’t have an upper age limit and offer medical screening to find cover for pre-existing medical conditions. Click here to visit their site or give them a call on 0330 024 4478.


What's the maximum age you can insure?

Annual Multi Trip cover is available for travellers aged up to 74 inclusive. Single trip cover is available for travellers aged up to 85 inclusive. 


If you are over 85 and need to find cover for your trip, we’re happy to let you know that we have partnered with They have no upper age limit and can offer medical screening to provide cover for pre-existing medical conditions. To buy a policy from them online click here, or call them on 0330 024 4478

Am I covered if I'm travelling to more than one country?

If your destination is listed as a single country on your travel insurance policy schedule you are only covered to travel to this destination. If you’re planning to travel to more than one country, please contact our customer services team to update your policy.


If you have selected cover for Europe, you are covered to travel anywhere within the countries specified on your policy schedule  This includes:

Member States of the European Union, Albania, Andorra, The Azores, Balearic Islands, Belarus, Bosnia, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Madeira, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Russia (West of the Urals), San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine.


If you have selected Worldwide excluding USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and intend to travel to one of these excluded countries, please contact our customer services team to upgrade your cover before you go away.

We are unable to cover you for travel to countries or specific regions that either the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office or the World Health Organisation has advised the public not to travel. Please refer to their websites for the latest advice.

Do Egypt / Israel / Morocco / Russia fall under Europe?

If you’re looking to cover trips to Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco you will need European cover. If you’re looking to travel to Israel or Russia you will need Worldwide cover.   


Which countries are not covered?

We are unable to cover you for travel to countries or specific regions that either the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office or the World Health Organisation has advised the public not to travel to. Please refer to their websites for the latest advice.

I've got European cover, can I upgrade to Worldwide?  

You can change your policy to cover Worldwide destinations, provided your trip hasn’t started.  Contact customer services and a member of the team will be happy to upgrade your policy for an additional premium. 


Can I buy cover for a trip within the UK?

You can purchase a UK Single Trip policy if you contact our customer services team


If you buy an Annual Multi Trip policy online, you will be covered for UK trips where you plan to stay for at least two nights in pre-booked accommodation.


I'm travelling to Cuba, what travel insurance cover do I need? 

All travellers to Cuba are required to hold travel insurance that includes medical insurance, and you will be expected to present a copy of your insurance documents on arrival in Cuba. 


Insurance should be valid for the full duration of your stay in Cuba and should cover medical repatriation back to the UK (which all Columbus Direct policies do). 


You should check any exclusions, and also make sure your policy covers you for all the activities you want to take part in.

Am I covered to go on a cruise?

You’re automatically covered whilst on a cruise under the general terms and conditions of your travel policy. If you’d like to add specialist cruise cover you can do so for an extra premium.  This will give you added protection to cover connection costs if you miss your cruise departure, and provide cover if you have to disembark or are confined to your cabin due to an illness, including unused excursion costs.


You can add cruise cover when you purchase your policy online by adding the cover on step 3 of the quote journey ‘Tailor your policy’. If you have already purchased your Columbus travel insurance policy, you can contact our customer services team before you travel to have the cover added to your policy.


To find out more about cruise cover click here. 


How soon will I receive my policy documents after purchasing a policy with you?

When you buy a travel insurance policy, your documentation will be sent to you by email straight away. Alternatively, you can choose to have your documents sent to you in the post by ticking a box on the payment screen when you buy your policy. Postal documentation will take a minimum of 5 days to reach you, therefore make sure you have enough time to review them before you go away. 

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