What is staycation insurance and do I need it?


author image-sarah
By Sarah Watts
Updated on Wednesday 31 March 2021

A man wearing a backpack with his dog on top of a sea cliff

As we all slowly (and eagerly!) emerge from the latest covid-19 lockdown, some of us looking like prehistoric humans who ate all the [mammoth] pies, booking a dopamine-boosting holiday is at the very top of most people’s to-do list.

But due to continued travel restrictions, isolation hotels, talk of vaccine passports and an anticipated ‘third wave’, many of us in the UK are embracing the idea of a staycation in 2021.

But what does this new fangled terminology ‘staycation’ mean and do you need staycation insurance for a potential holiday cancellation due to Covid-19?

Staycation meaning

Staycation is a close relative of the US-favoured word for a holiday (vacation) except the ‘stay’ part of the word means taking a holiday at home in your own country.

Staycations were a foreign concept to most Brits pre-pandemic who (according to the ONS) enjoyed a whopping 58.7 million holiday visits abroad in 2019!

So if someone tells you they’re taking a staycation this year, they mean they’re taking a holiday in good old Blighty instead of travelling abroad.

How many Brits are taking a staycation in the UK?

A shed load! The Telegraph has reported that up to 90% of UK self-catering holidays have already sold out, so if you want to take a holiday in the UK this year, you need to get booked up sharpish!

And with all the uncertainty surrounding further lockdowns and infinite travel restrictions, this staycation Coronavirus-induced trend looks set to continue for the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

According to the Office of National Statistics, domestic and international flights fell to less than 2% of the volume of flights prior to the first UK lockdown in March 2020. And since March 2020, a further two lockdowns have caused mass holiday cancellations and there’s currently speculation about the possibility of a fourth lockdown.

Needless to say, all this continued uncertainty is making the prospect of holidaying at home a much more attractive prospect than it once was, despite the dodgy English weather.

Note: Once you’ve booked your UK-based holiday, don’t forget you’ll need a different type of holiday insurance (UK based travel insurance) and don’t forget to pack your brolly or a kagool!

Do I need travel insurance for the UK?

Whilst having access to the NHS thankfully means there’s no obvious need for medical travel insurance cover, travelling in the UK post Coronavirus makes travel insurance almost essential.

Travel insurance for UK travellers (also referred to as ‘staycation cover’) can help with many unforeseen circumstances and financial costs including:

  • Cancellation of your holiday
    Obviously, Covid-19 uncertainty means your UK holiday could easily be cancelled and whilst many holiday providers are offering a free cancellation policy, this will not cover any other holiday-related costs.
  • Your holiday being cut short
    Most UK travel insurance policies will include ‘curtailment cover’ to recompense you in the event your holiday is cut short.
  • Cancelled or delayed transport
    Flights, trains, ferries, buses and just about any form of pre-booked public transport that is cancelled or delayed will usually be covered.
  • Breakdown cover
    Some policies can provide breakdown cover so you’re not left stranded on a roadside during your UK break so you should check if this is included if you do not have existing breakdown cover.
  • Your luggage being lost on a domestic flight (if applicable)
    Even on domestic flights your luggage can be lost or stolen.
  • Your personal belongings being stolen or damaged
    Sadly, crime is just as prevalent in the UK as it is in many places abroad and it’s good to know that you have this cover in place should the worst happen and a thief runs off with your Gucci handbag or mobile phone.
  • Personal liability
    Provides cover for causing damage or injury to someone else - it does happen!
  • Accidental damage
    Especially handy to have if you accidentally break something in your UK holiday accommodation.
  • Close Relatives
    Close relative claims can also usually be made on this type of travel insurance policy, but check with your provider which relatives are covered.
  • Hospital relocation
    You’ll of course be rescued by the NHS should you require hospital treatment on holiday, but you will be taken to the nearest hospital where you are. Travel insurance would cover the cost of transporting you to a hospital near home and can also cover the cost of travel for loved ones who want to be with you.

What is staycation insurance?

Staycation insurance is just the same as regular travel insurance except the cover is geared towards eventualities much more likely to happen when you’re holidaying in the UK as opposed to what could happen if you’re travelling abroad.

Insurance for UK-only travel will of course not cover you if you travel abroad, so you need to make sure you take out the correct type of travel insurance. 

If you plan to take staycations and vacations abroad over the next year, you could save money by taking out multi-trip travel insurance, but you need to ensure any multi-trip policies include specific cover for UK-based holidays too, as well as medical cover for holidays abroad.

Where are the best places to travel in the UK?

According to timeout.com, the best places to travel in the UK in 2021 include the usual popular beauty hotspots like Snowdonia in Wales, the Norfolk Broads, the Lake District in Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands.

For those seeking the UK’s equivalent to the Caribbean, the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast and Cornwall itself are always highly acclaimed and sought-after destinations.

But with Covid-19 nipping at our heels, we’re inclined to suggest that anywhere in the UK that isn’t heavily populated with low Covid-19 infection rates would be a really good idea. That said, we fully expect popular walking trails in the sparsely populated Peak and Lake Districts, Snowdonia and the Scottish Highlands, to be much busier than usual this year.

Islands off the Scottish coast like the Outer Hebrides and the Shetland Islands could be a choice destination during the warmest summer months for something isolated, refreshing and off the beaten track.

As some of you will be looking to stay away from crowded Covid hotspots, we’ve checked out the least populated locations in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics, and have also included Covid-19 related data for these destinations so you can make an informed choice before booking your UK holiday.

Top 10 least densely populated places in UK and Covid-19 infections to date

Place

County

Population (per KM²)

Covid Cases (wk to 5.3.21)

Total Covid Cases

Covid Rate (10.03.21)

Eden

Cumbria

24

2

2,947

- 58.8%

Ryedale

North Yorkshire

36

2

1,810

+ 38.5%

Richmondshire

North Yorkshire

40

4

2,501

- 52.6%

West Devon

Devon

48

2

1,140

- 71.4%

Craven

North Yorkshire

48

2

2,684

- 12.5%

Northumberland

Northumberland

64

2

16,738

- 27.3%

South Lakeland

Cumbria

68

2

4,406

- 41%

Torridge

Devon

69

2

966

- 12.5%

Hambleton

North Yorkshire

70

2

4,082

- 9.1%

Data sources: en.wikipedia.org & coronavirus.data.gov.uk

Best place to travel in the UK down South

As you will see from the above table, Devon has two entries in this table for being in the top 10 least densely populated places in the UK and Torridge in Devon has had less than 1,000 covid cases since the start of the pandemic.

It’s been widely reported that the whole of the South West has fared well generally throughout the pandemic by only having half of the number of Covid-19 cases compared to that of the rest of England.

This makes this beautiful part of the country a great destination choice this summer, but bear in mind that Devon is a tourist hotspot where thousands will flock during the summer months. The above figures may tell a very different story after the busy, congested summer holidays.

Best place to travel in the UK up North

North Yorkshire is the clear winner when it comes to having a sparse population and low Covid infection rates with Cumbria not too far behind.

If you fancy a holiday full of scenic hikes, then Richmondshire in North Yorkshire or Eden in Cumbria look like good choices for those who prefer less touristy, rural destinations over seaside hotspots.

Note: For the more adventurous amongst you, we recommend checking the terms of your holiday insurance regarding hiking and trekking as some policies have limits on altitude (i.e. how high you can hike or climb up a mountain). Likewise, check what cover you have in place for any potentially dangerous, thrill-seeking activities you may engage in during your holidays.

Who are the best companies that provide staycation insurance?

Trustpilot’s top-rated travel insurance companies with excellent trust scores of 4.8 include AllClear Travel Insurance and PayingTooMuch.com.

However to make sure you get the best deals and ultimate cover, we recommend shopping around online and comparing quotes on more than one website and with insurance companies directly (who are not on comparison sites).

Before taking out insurance, check exactly what cover is included in your policy, especially in relation to what compensation you will be offered should Coronavirus rear its spiky head and scupper your holiday plans.

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