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Why do you need travel insurance?
Fall ill or get injured when holidaying abroad without travel insurance and you can be looking at a hospital bill for thousands of pounds. And yet around 30% of UK holidaymakers risk being bankrupt like this on an annual basis. Is it really worth the heartache for as little as £10 (because that’s how little travel insurance can cost)?
And talking of illness, it’s essential to let your insurer know if you have any serious pre-existing medical condition for which you’ve received treatment, advice or medication in the past (particularly within the past year). This includes any heart difficulties, cancer, diabetes or asthma. Failure to do so can result in an invalidated insurance policy. Don’t fret though – you may still be able to get insurance for a pre-existing medical condition, especially if you sign with a specialist insurer.
But, of course, it’s not only illness that can go wrong on holiday. There could be a storm, terrorist attack or you could have your luggage stolen, holiday flight cancelled, get mugged etc. You may not want to consider this on such a happy occasion, but the reality is, they do happen. Cover yourself and the travel insurance company will undertake the hassle of contacting the consulate etc, as well as compensating you for your troubles. This way you’ll suffer as little disruption to your holiday as possible.
Finally, if you’re aged 65 or over and struggling to get cover – even though you’re physically and mentally fit – then you can find companies such as Saga, Age Concern and Help the Aged more than willing to help.
What travel insurance can cover you for:
- Single trip insurance
- Annual multi-trip insurance
- Emergency medical care (including dental care)
- Cover for pre-existing medical conditions
- Lost or stolen items
- Personal liability cover (i.e. if you’re the cause of the damage)
- Delayed, postponed or cancelled holiday flights insurance
- Repatriation (i.e. need to cut the holiday short for emergency)
- Pre-paid excursions
- Winter sports
- Backpacker cover
- Worldwide travel insurance
- European travel insurance
- Family cover
- Over 65s travel insurance
Tips on getting the best value travel insurance
- Buy travel insurance online and independently. Getting it from the travel agent or airline you booked with will always cost more.
- Annual travel cover will be cheaper if you plan on having at least three holidays a year.
- Some insurance companies are happy to wave a medical excess if you have a European Health Insurance Card.
- Get a policy that charges just one excess per claim.
- Make sure you’re not looking for insurance for an item that’s on your home insurance policy anyway, such as your video camera.
- Take photos of yourself using your camera, laptop etc in case you need to claim because if it’s on your home insurance policy the company may want proof you took the item abroad with you.
- If you’re a backpacker – or book your own flights and accommodation – then look into a cover for an airline, hotel etc going bust.
- Some insurance companies cover kids travelling for free.
- Going on holiday with a bunch of people? Then get a group travel insurance policy.
- Does your ‘worldwide’ policy include the USA, Australia and Canada? It’s always worth checking!
- Ask your existing house or car insurer if they’ll give you a discount for taking out travel insurance with them too.
- If booking a package holiday, make sure the travel agent is ATOL protected in case they go bust or the airline does. That way you can reclaim the cost of your holiday/flight.
How to find a good travel insurance quote?
Always shop around online for travel insurance. Not only will you be able to spend your time leisurely checking through the different policies to find out what’s best for you and your family, but you’ll also pay less for it. That’s because there won’t be any commission to others to fork out for. Different types of holidays have their own category of cover e.g. winter sports, backpacking and cruises. It’s best going for the specific cover to make sure you’re covered for all eventualities in such scenarios.
What does cruise insurance cover?
With this, you’re usually insured against mishaps at sea such as missed connections or evacuations, as well as medical cover and lost or stolen possessions.
Can I get cover for having to cancel my trip?
Yes, some insurance companies will cover cancellation if, for instance, there’s a bereavement or you have just been made redundant and can no longer afford to go. Just check with them beforehand.
How long is Single Trip Insurance cover for?
It lasts the entire duration of your holiday (although for a long holiday of around six months backpackers insurance might work out better).
Does winter sports cover still count if I go off-piste?
Yes, but typically only if you’re with a qualified instructor
What does backpacker insurance cover?
As well as making sure you’re insured throughout the trip, it can also cover activities such as bungee jumping and scuba diving etc.
How long does an annual or multi-trip travel policy last for?
As the name suggests, it’s for a whole year. The one trip within that time can be for an average of 31 days (but check your own insurer’s stipulations as each will be different).
Can I get cover for my golf clubs on a business travel insurance policy?
Yes, you can!
If I decide to stay longer on holiday, can I just extend my travel insurance cover?
Usually the answer to this is ’no’. It’s better to book for the entire period before leaving the UK.
Can some insurance companies fail to pay out if the country has a government warning?
Certainly. They can say that you were warned beforehand of the risks. Countries that come under current UK government warnings include Iraq and areas of Afghanistan.
My insurance company refused to pay out for my son’s stolen wallet because he was drunk at the time.
This is actually quite common. There are a few travel insurance companies do insist you have to be sober at the time of the incident before they’ll agree to compensate you.