Although perhaps not the most glamorous topic in the world, travel insurance is nonetheless an essential part of the holiday process. And unlike the fairly straightforward process of asking ‘which hotel should I stay in?’ getting the right travel insurance can be as confusing as it is frustrating!
This is, hopefully, where I come in. As the managing director of Insuremore I like to think I know a fair bit about the whole area. I’ve assembled this guide as something of a ‘top 10 things to look out for’ when purchasing travel insurance.
And the common question I get asked all the time is whether I think travel insurance is worth buying. Given my line of work, it’s pretty inevitable that my answer will be ‘yes’ but the reason isn’t just because of the extra money it will ensure I receive! Y’see it’s true that the majority of people go on holiday, have a memorable time and come back without any ill consequences, but a small percentage of people will have an unexpected hospitalisation or find that their flights are cancelled. And believe me, in those instances trying to get help without travel insurance is not only expensive, but horribly stressful. Indeed, the best benefit of travel insurance is the peace of mind it gives the policy holder. A holiday should be about relaxation (or possibly getting your skin to become as lobster like as possible judging from recent case studies!) and how can you relax when you’re constantly on the lookout for illnesses or injuries? I’m sure that even if you could have relaxed before reading this, you will be worried now! So without further ado:
1) Don’t leave your travel insurance until the last minute
Okay, people don’t like to spend money – especially immediately after dropping a load of cash on an expensive holiday, but not getting your travel insurance sorted out immediately can be a massive mistake as you miss out one of the key aspects of it – cancellation cover. Although you may think that there’s no way you’ll cancel, life is full of the unexpected, and we deal with people cancelling their holidays due to family emergencies everyday.
As your holiday gets closer and closer, the chances of you needing to cancel are heavily reduced, so you completely lose the benefit of part of your insurance if you don’t sort it out nice and early.
2) Don’t settle for single trip cover if you’re going on holiday more than once
On the subject of single trip cover, is that really what you need? According to a 2004 study by Alliance & Leicester, 2/3rds of people plan to take two or more holidays a year. If you’re in the majority here, then single trip insurance will not be the best priced option (unless you have a phenomenally good value insurance provider) and it’s worth considering multi-trip or annual.
3) Your E111 health card alone will cost you for medical cover
Don’t think that just because you have your E111 European health card you will be covered for free – that’s a myth. You do need the card to show hospitals in the event of an emergency, but you will be charged by the country’s private healthcare system. Make sure your travel insurance covers illness and injury!
4) Be honest about any medical conditions you have
On a similar note, make sure you tell your insurers of all your medical conditions even if they seem irrelevant – too much information is a good thing in this case, as not providing details could later invalidate any claims you need to make.
5) Get the right policy for your holiday
Just like how there are different holidays for different tastes, there are different policies for different people. If you’re looking to go backpacking, skiing or mountain climbing, you’re going to need to track down a policy specifically for these activities to ensure you’re covered in the event of an accident.
6) Buy for the family and save
As I’ve already mentioned, there are different types of insurance for different cover – generally, companies offer single, multi trip, annual and family travel insurance policies. Predict how much you expect to be abroad and buy accordingly. If you are in a family, then it stands to reasons that family insurance is a good option – and some policies include the insurance of under-18s for free!
7) Know exactly what you’re covered against
Cheap travel insurance may seem like a bargain – and there are plenty of legitimate companies offering cheap travel insurance out there – but make sure you go through the policy with a fine tooth comb to ensure you’re not missing out on key coverage, such as cancellation and theft. As a rule of thumb, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
8) Check out the excesses on the policy
Actually, it’s worth going through any travel insurance policy with a fine tooth comb – cheap or otherwise. The excesses on different policies can make a huge difference, and it’s a good idea to find a policy with a lower or no excess on an area you think you are more likely to end up claiming on!
9) If you’re under the influence, then you won’t be covered
Sounds obvious, but we often get claims like this, so I’d best cover it: No travel insurance company will pay up on any accidents occurring while the policy holder is under the influence of alcohol or drugs – the policy is not there to allow you to behave more recklessly than you normally would!
10) Look for a company that covers against acts of terrorism for peace of mind
In the current climate, insurance against acts of terrorism is something we’ve found people to be calling out for, and sadly, most companies do not offer it as default with their policies. If I may be allowed a brief plug however, it is something that we at Insuremore include in our travel insurance packages for that extra peace of mind. If it is something that’s worrying you, it is worth ensuring it is part of your policy.