The Pluto travel insurance dictionary

We love making things simple, really simple. And also think that something as important as your travel insurance should be easy to understand, so you know exactly what you are covered for and what you're not covered for. We aim to explain things in the same way you would to a friend whilst you're having a beer or a coffee.

That's why we've created the Pluto dictionary to help you understand everything to do with travel insurance.

Activities and adventure sports

This is usually a long list of activities that are included or excluded in your policy. If you're doing something a little more adventurous, you should also check the list provided by your insurer.

At Pluto, we have the standard activities included in all our policies. And then we give you the option to add winter sports to that list and also add more adventurous sports as well. This way you pay for what you need and you know what's in and what's out.

Annual cover (Also, annual multi-trip)

This just means that your policy covers you for the year (from the day you bought it for example), usually on as many trips as you want.

There is a maximum number of days each trip can be, cleverly referred to as 'max days per trip', with Pluto this is 45. So no holiday should be longer than 45 days.


This is your cover for the things you bring along with you on your trip. Typical items considered as your baggage can be: suitcases, clothing, money, passport, watches, cameras, toiletries, jewellery. You'll be covered for things like your stuff being lost, stolen or damaged, like having your rucksack stolen with your passport and coat inside it.

All insurers have a 'per-item limit' as well. This means you wouldn't be able to claim for one lost coat worth £2,000, you would only get up to the maximum for each item, like £250, more on this further down though.

At Pluto, you can choose £500, £1,500 or £3,000 for baggage cover.

Importantly, electronic gadgets such as phones, tablets or laptops are not typically included, and are added separately. With Pluto, you can add up to 2 gadgets as an extra.

Baggage delay

This is your cover when your baggage is delayed, and you need to buy some essentials items. You'll be covered for things like buying some spare clothes and basic toiletries.

With Pluto, you're entitled to £100 if your baggage is delayed for more than 12 hours.

Business travel

This is where your trip is specifically for business, your job or any kind of paid work. Currently Pluto doesn't cover business travel, but we will in the future.

Cancelled trip (Also, cancellation cover)

This is your cover if you can no longer go on your trip and have to cancel it before you leave. You'll be covered for things like the cost of your flights, accommodation and other pre-paid charges. You can't just cancel because you feel like it though. The types of reasons covered:

  • You or your travel companion break your leg a week before you’re due to go away, so you have to cancel the entire trip
  • There is a serious flood, fire or burglary in your flat a week before you leave or while you’re away and you have to come home early to sort it out
  • You’re made redundant, required for jury service or you work for the emergency services or the Armed Forces and are called for unexpected emergency duty

At Pluto, you can choose £500, £1,500 or £3,000 for this cover.

Come home early (Also, Curtailment)

This is your cover if you have to come home early from your trip because something serious has gone wrong abroad or at home. You'll be covered for unused pre-paid costs like, the nights you had booked in a hotel, but can't use. Reasons you have to come home early might be, because of a flood in your flat or you have a bad injury while on holiday.

Many other insurers call this curtailment, because they think you use that word all the time...enough said.

At Pluto, you can choose £500, £1,500 or £3,000 for this cover.

Cover start date

This is the day your policy covers you from. For a single trip, it's important to be covered the moment you book your trip. This means you're protected if something bad happens before you go away and you have to cancel your holiday. The rest of your cover, like medical and baggage, starts on the first day of your trip.

At Pluto, you're covered from the day you buy your policy, whether it's an annual or a single trip policy.


This is your cover if you need dental treatment for emergency pain relief when you're away. You'll be covered for things like a tooth infection that starts on your holiday but not for things like a routine checkup or whitening...

With Pluto, you're covered for up to £500.


A silly word, that's confused people since it was first used. But, it is important.

An excess is the amount that is subtracted from any claim payment you receive. If the excess is higher, more money is subtracted from your claim payment, but your policy is cheaper.

If your excess is lower, then less money is subtracted from your claim, but your policy is more expensive. The reason for an excess is to share the risk between you and us, and it also reduces the need for smaller claims.

Let's look at an example. You have an excess of £100. Your bag, worth £500 is stolen, you submit a claim for it and it gets approved. Your insurer (or Pluto) will pay you £400. Not the full amount because your excess was subtracted from the total. We hope that makes more sense now.

At Pluto, you can choose to set your excess at either £0, £100 or £250.

Extended travel disruption

This extends your cover for when your trip is disrupted. So basically, you're more protected because the reasons you can claim are extended. For example the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) or World Health Organisation (WHO) change their advice on the country you're visiting after you've booked your trip because of an epidemic or terrorist activity.

At Pluto, this is an extra you can add on. We think it's important to mention this, because most insurers will bury this cover deep in the policy wording.

Gadget cover

This is your cover for electronic gadgets such as phones, tablets or laptops. You'll be covered for things like your gadgets being lost, stolen or damaged, like having your phone stolen or dropped in the pool. Most insurance doesn't cover this by default. Also, any existing gadget cover you have already, may actually cover a certain number of days abroad, best to check though.

With Pluto, you can add up to 2 devices to your policy, worth up to £1,000 each.

This is your cover if you need a legal representative to help you. You'll be covered for things like getting legal advice if you've been injured by someone else.

At Pluto, you're covered for up to £25,000.

Max claim per item

This is the maximum you can claim for any single item. Insurers have this to manage the risk better, this means your policy is better value because you're not paying more because people are claiming jewellery or fancy clothes worth thousands.

For example, your £300 jacket is stolen, but the maximum item limit is £250, you would only be reimbursed £250, not the full £300. You can claim for multiple items, but individually the limit is still £250.

At Pluto, the maximum item limit is £250. We think this covers the vast majority of your stuff.

Max days per trip

This is the maximum number of consecutive days you can go away for any particular holiday. You can usually go away as many times as you like, as long as each trip is less than the maximum.

This is just applicable for annual policies, and at Pluto, the limit is 45 days, so you can really unwind...

Medical cover

This is your cover if you have an accident, or become ill/injured and need treatment abroad, or need help coming home. You'll be covered for things like staying overnight and being treated in hospital with a stomach bug, or if you need to fly home a week later because of your health.

Medical costs can be really expensive when you're abroad. At Pluto, we provide £10m cover, this is really as much as you'll ever need. Don't be fooled by insurers offering many millions more - you just don't need it!

Missed departures or connections

This is your cover if you miss your departure or connection because you arrive at the point of departure too late. You'll be covered for things like accommodation or new flights if your train was severely delayed or your car breaks down on the way to the airport.

Personal liability

This is your cover if you happen to injure someone or damage someone's property. You'll be covered for things like you accidentally breaking something in your hotel and having to pay damages.

At Pluto, you're covered for £2m. These claims are very rare.


This is your cover for costs relating to the treatment or care of pets in the UK or abroad. Unfortunately Pluto does cover any costs related to pets currently.

Pre-existing medical conditions

This is the most important part of a policy to understand. It's crucial to let your insurer know if you have an pre-existing conditions or if your health changes significantly whilst you're covered.

A pre-existing condition is an illness, injury or disease that you have had advice for, symptoms of or treatment for. For example:

  • Any ongoing, recurring, chronic, or serious illness, injury, disease or condition (including anxiety state or depression, mental, nervous or emotional disorder) for which any person travelling under the policy has ever been prescribed medication, or received surgery, in-patient or outpatient treatment or investigations in a hospital or clinic.
  • Any symptoms or condition for which any person travelling under this policy is under investigation or where they are awaiting tests, or test results, or surgery & the cause has not been diagnosed.
  • A terminal illness

Unfortunately, at this time, we're not able to provide cover to those with pre-existing medical conditions. If you do have pre-existing conditions, we advise you to go directly to Zurich as they should be able to provide you with a fair quote.

Search & rescue

This is your cover for costs related to the search and rescue of you by any authorities. You'll be covered for things like being rescued if you were stuck on a hillside. As you can imagine this is pretty rare as well.

Travel delay

This is your cover if a departure is delayed by a certain number of hours. It allows you to claim towards things like buying a meal in the airport if your flight.

At Pluto, you can claim £20 every 12 hours, up to £300 in total. It's worth saying that your airline will generally support you when your flight is delayed. We wrote a separate blog post on that.

Winter sports

This gets it's own section because it's also really important. A standard travel insurance policy is not going to cover you for winter sports. So you need to add this on as an extra. This covers skiing, snowboarding and a load of other winter/snow related sports.

It's added separately because the risk of something going wrong is higher (as you'll understand if you've ever been on the slopes) and because the medical care and support provided on the mountains is usually done by private companies, so the costs are very high.

Hopefully that was useful! If you want us to add any other words or phrases here, please let us know at [email protected].

Find out more about Pluto here



The two co-founders of Pluto, Alex & Harry.