Direct Line travel insurance review

10 min Read Published: 11 Apr 2022

direct line travel insurance review

Travel insurance is an essential addition to your holiday as it can help to cover the costs of emergency medical treatment or repatriation if you fall ill whilst you are away. In this review, we take a look at Direct Line's travel insurance policies, including what they cover, how much they cost and whether Direct Line travel insurance covers covid-19. We recommend that you read this article in full, but you can jump to specific sections of the articles using the following links.

What is Direct Line travel insurance?

Direct Line launched in 1985 with a single insurance product; car insurance. Since then its aim has been to 'always put the customer first' and it now offers a host of additional insurance policies including pet insurance, home insurance and travel insurance amongst others.

Direct Line's travel insurance policies have a 5 and 4 star Defaqto rating and it offers a choice between single and annual multi-trip policies. You can also look to get backpacker cover if you are travelling for a longer period of up to 18 months. Direct Line's travel insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.

Direct Line travel insurance key features

  • 4 & 5 star Defaqto rated policies
  • Backpacker cover for longer trips
  • Covid-19 cover as standard
  • 10% off annual multi-trip policies, if purchased online
  • Winter sports and personal belongings additional cover
  • Cruise cover included as standard
  • Under 17s go free on any new single trip or annual multi-trip policy (offer expires on 19/04/22)
  • Single trip cover for up to 90 days

Direct Line travel insurance policies

In this section of the review, we highlight the different types of travel insurance you can get with Direct Line travel insurance. You can insure an individual, family or couple on a travel insurance policy with Direct Line but if you wish to get insurance for more than 4 adults you will need to call Direct Line to arrange this.

Single trip travel insurance

Direct Line's single-trip travel insurance policy will insure you for one trip abroad and is a good option if you are only planning to go away once in a period of 12 months, otherwise, it may be cheaper for you to look at annual multi-trip travel insurance. Direct Line will insure single trips for up to 90 days but this is reduced to 42 days for those aged 60 and under. You can purchase a single-trip travel insurance policy as an individual, couple, group or family and Direct Line currently has an offer that means children under 17 travel for free on a policy bought before 19/04/22. There is no age limit on a Direct Line single-trip travel insurance policy but there is a trip limit of 42 days for those over the age of 60. You are also unable to get winter sports cover if you are aged 75 years or older.

Annual multi-trip travel insurance

Annual multi-trip travel insurance insures you for multiple trips in a year and is a good choice if you are a frequent traveller and could be cheaper than multiple single trip policies. Direct Line's annual multi-trip policy insures you for up to 42 days for each trip. Like single-trip travel insurance, you can get insurance for an individual, couple, group or a family and kids under 17 can get insured for free if you purchase travel insurance before 19/04/22. Annual multi-trip travel insurance has an upper-age limit of 75 years old, anyone over the age of 75 can only be insured on a single-trip travel insurance policy.

If you turn 75 during the annual multi-trip insured period you will still be covered until the policy ends.

Backpacker travel insurance

Direct Line's Backpacker policy (also known as Discoverer Trip) can insure you for trips abroad for longer periods of time and so is a good choice if you are going backpacking or staying away for the summer. Direct Line's backpacker policy will insure travellers from 3 to 18 months and is for travellers aged 54 and under. The backpacker policy also includes cover for children if they are travelling with an insured adult on the policy.

What does Direct Line travel insurance cover?

In the following comparison table, we compare the various Direct Line travel insurance policies.

Single Trip  Annual multi-trip  Backpacker 
Policy excess  £75 £50 £75
Individual trip limit (age limits apply)  Up to 90 days Up to 42 days Up to 18 months
Medical expenses  £10m £10m £10m
Personal belongings  Optional extra Optional extra £1,000
Cancellation cover  £5,000 £5,000 £5,000
Personal accident  Up to £25,000 Up to £25,000 Up to £25,000
Lost or stolen passport  £500 £500 £500
Delayed personal belongings  £200 £200 £200
Abandoned journey  £5,000 £5,000 n/a
Legal expenses  £50,000 £50,000 £50,000
Personal liability  £2m £2m £2m

Direct Line policy extras

You can also tailor your Direct Line travel insurance policy to suit your trip with the following optional extras.

Personal belongings cover

Personal belongings cover can be added to your single or annual multi-trip travel insurance policy but personal belongings cover is included as standard on your Backpacker policy. Personal belongings cover insures your bag and its contents for up to £1,500 if it is damaged, lost or stolen when travelling. Personal belongings included in a Backpacker policy are insured for up to £1,000. Below we highlight the cover you can expect with the personal belongings add-on:

Lost or stolen belongings  £1,500
Single item cover  £300
Valuables £300
Consumables e.g food and drink/tobacco  £100

Winter sports cover

Winter sports cover can be added to your policy if you are planning on partaking in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. You can also be covered for winter sports-related claims such as piste closure and equipment loss or damage.

Ski equipment £500
Replacement equipment hire  £300 (£25 per day)
Unused equipment hire, ski passes and ski school tuition fees  £250
Piste closure £200 (£20 per day)

Does Direct Line travel insurance cover covid-19?

Direct Line offers cover for covid-19 as standard on all of its travel insurance policies and we highlight some of what you can expect to be covered for below. For more information on exactly what Direct Line covers, refer to your policy documents.

Direct Line will cover the following covid related claims:

  • Cancelling your trip because you, a close relative or a travelling companion is diagnosed with covid-19 and is therefore unable to travel
  • Cancellation if you, a travel companion or someone you are staying with has to isolate or quarantine
  • You wish to cancel or cut short your trip because the FCDO have advised against all but essential travel to your trip destination within 28 days of departure (as long as the advice wasn't present when your booked your trip or purchased your travel insurance)
  • Cancelling or cutting short your trip because you can no longer stay in your accommodation due to covid-19 or a pandemic in the area

There are, however, some things to consider before taking out travel insurance with Direct Line, particularly if you are looking for coronavirus cover. If you wish to make a coronavirus related claim you will not be covered if you are able to recover the expenses from another avenue e.g your travel provider or credit card provider. You will also not be covered if you claim because a member of your party no longer wanted to travel, you didn't have the correct documentation, proof of covid-19 testing or vaccine to enter the country. You will also not be covered if you choose to cancel your trip because you don't want to quarantine when you return to the UK. For more information on travel insurance providers that cover covid, read our article "The best travel insurance with covid cover".

Does Direct Line travel insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

Direct Line says it aims to cover most pre-existing conditions but you will need to telephone Direct Line to get a quote. You can call Direct Line on 0345 246 8704.

Does Direct Line travel insurance have an age limit?

There is an upper age limit of 99 years old on a Direct Line single-trip travel insurance policy and an age limit of 75 years old on a Direct Line annual multi-trip travel insurance policy. If you wish to purchase a backpacker travel insurance policy, this is limited to those aged up to 54 years old. If you wish to purchase winter sports travel insurance you will only be covered up until the age of 75 years.

Direct Line travel insurance policy exclusions

In this section of the review, we list some of the general exclusions on a Direct Line travel insurance policy. This list is not extensive, however, so you need to ensure that you check your policy documents carefully so you know exactly what you are and are not covered for.

Typically, Direct Line will not pay out claims for the following:

  • Policy excess
  • One-way trips, all trips must start and end in the UK
  • Trips in the UK for only 1 night
  • Undeclared pre-existing medical conditions
  • Claims for medical conditions currently under investigation
  • Travel against FCDO advice
  • Expenses that can be covered elsewhere e.g your travel provider or your credit/debit card provider
  • Claims related to quad bike use

How much does Direct Line travel insurance cost?

In this section of the review, we compare the cost of a Direct Line travel insurance policy. How much you pay for your travel insurance policy will vary depending on the type of policy you choose, the destination and how long you are going away for. Your age and the number of insured people on the policy will also affect the cost. In the following comparison table, we compare the cost of an individual travel insurance policy to Europe for 7 nights. The quotes include the cost of baggage cover which is an optional extra with a single trip and annual multi-trip policy, it is included as standard with backpacker cover.

Direct Line travel insurance policy cost comparison

Direct Line Single Trip  Direct Line Annual Multi-trip  Direct Line Backpacker cover 
Policy type Single trip Annual multi-trip Backpacker
Policy excess  £75 £50 £75
Medical expenses  £10m £10m £10m
Cancellation cover  £5,000 £5,000 £5,000
Baggage cover* £1,500 £1,500 £1,000
Individual trip limit  Up to 90 days Up to 42 days 18 months
European policy cost 20 year old  £32.54 £62.90 £206.09
European policy cost 30 year old  £32.54 £62.90 £206.09
European policy cost 40 year old  £32.54 £62.90 £206.09
European policy cost 50 year old  £34.97 £67.61 £239.36
European policy cost 60 year old  £41.02 £79.27 N/A
European policy cost 70 year old  £80.54 £155.68 N/A
European policy cost 80 year old  £132.85 N/A N/A

(*Baggage cover is optional but included in the above quotes) Quotes correct as of 04/04/22

Direct Line travel insurance policy excess

The excess payable on a Direct Line travel insurance can vary depending on what you are claiming for e.g medical expenses or baggage claims. Currently, the standard excess is £75 on a single trip or backpacker policy and £50 on its annual multi-trip policy.

How to claim on Direct Line travel insurance

If you need to make a claim on your Direct Line travel insurance policy you can call Direct Line on 0345 246 8680 Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm or you can submit a claim online. There is no time limit on when you can submit a travel claim as Direct Line says it 'understands this can be a stressful time and want to make things as straightforward for you as possible'.

Before you make a claim with Direct Line you need to provide proof that you've contacted your travel provider to see if a refund is available.

Direct Line travel insurance customer reviews

Direct Line has a rating of 3.9 out of 5.0 stars from over 8,000 reviews on the consumer website Trustpilot. One thing to consider, however, is that this rating is based on Direct Line as a whole and is not just related to its travel insurance policies. Those that have reviewed the travel insurance complain of high insurance premium renewals, problems getting in touch with customer services and delayed claims. Others, however, noted efficient customer service and a reasonable travel insurance premium cost.

Direct Line travel insurance pros and cons

Direct Line travel insurance pros

  • Up to £10m of emergency medical cover
  • Natural disaster cover
  • 24/7 multilingual advice

Direct Line travel insurance cons

  • Have to call Direct Line to get a quote for pre-existing conditions
  • Only covers UK trips that are booked in commercially operated accommodation for over 2 nights

Alternatives to Direct Line travel insurance

In this section of the review, we compare Direct Line travel insurance to other travel insurance providers. The below quotes are based on a 30-year-old individual with no underlying health conditions travelling to Europe for 7 nights. For more information on the travel insurance policies mentioned below, read our travel insurance reviews:

Another great way to compare travel insurance is via a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Compare the Market. Using comparison sites allows you to compare multiple travel insurance policies at once to find the best policy for your trip. One thing to remember when using comparison sites is that they are not always whole of market and some companies, such as Direct Line, are not shown on the site.

Direct Line travel insurance vs Staysure travel insurance

Direct Line  Staysure 
Excess  £75 £65
Emergency medical cover  £10m Unlimited
Cancellation cover  £5,000 £5,000
Baggage cover  £1,500 (optional extra) £2,500
European 7 night policy cost (30-year-old individual)  £32.54 £12.42

(Quotes correct as of 04/04/22)

Direct Line travel insurance vs Admiral travel insurance

Direct Line  Admiral 
Excess  £75 £50
Emergency medical cover  £10m £20m
Cancellation cover  £5,000 £5,000
Baggage cover  £1,500 (optional extra) £2,500
European 7 night policy cost (30-year-old individual)  £32.54 £15.43

(Quotes correct as of 04/04/22)

Summary

Overall, Direct Line has a good choice of travel insurance policies and with no upper-age limit on the single trip travel insurance policy it may be a good option for those over the age of 75. Direct Line also has a backpacker policy for travellers looking to go away for up to 18 months but you do have to be aged below 54 to get covered on the policy. If you purchase an annual policy online you can also save up to 10% on your policy and until 19th April 2022 kids can get insured for free on any single or annual Direct Line travel insurance policy. If you would like to look at other travel insurance policies read our article 'The best travel insurance providers in the UK 2022'.

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