26 February 2014
The first thing you need to know about getting travel insurance is to never take the word of a travel agent, airline or tour operator that the policy they are offering is the cheapest available. You should do some research first, and second, don’t let them sweet talk you into buying a policy with more features than you need. Only buy what you need, and never pay more than you should.
To elaborate on the point above, some insurance companies will try to convince you that you need this or that, so to avoid such predicament decide what type of cover you need and use that criteria when making comparisons and searching for deals. And while you are looking, read between the lines because what may seem like a cheap deal may be more expensive than you think.
For instance, that £10 week long cover for your tablet may look cheap, but if it has an excess fee then you could easily end up paying more. In fact the excess charge can reach £250, so read the fine print. To be on the safe side, get a cover that includes belongings and baggage cover (£1,500 minimum) cancellation (at least £3,000) as well as medical expenses.
The excess is the amount you have to pay for a claim. If you are claiming £700 with a £150 excess the insurance company will pay £550. You do have the option of a larger excess and get a cheaper policy but check the rules first. For instance, travel insurance can charge an extra amount on medical expenses and loss of valuables, so to avoid this get a policy that only has one excess charge for every claim.
Some home insurance policies provide cover for your valuables when you are away, so you can save money by not including this in the cover. Some bank current accounts and credit cards include some cover for travellers, so check what is included and scratch those off the list of the cover you need.
If you travel more than three times every year, it makes sense to get an annual insurance policy that spans your travel for the entire year, because you only have to pay a one-time fee. If you purchase single trip policies the fees will add up, so paying one-time makes more sense. That being said, you also need to be thorough and bear in mind that annual cover don’t include extended backpacking trips.
While there’s nothing wrong with looking for affordable insurance, don’t scrimp on the cover you need. For instance, some of the cheaper insurance policies have medical exclusions and age restrictions. Agreeing to this kind of travel insurance won’t be an issue if you are young and fit. But if you have a medical condition, it is better to get a travel insurance that will cover all your needs rather than worry about the lack of cover later.