22 Mar 2019 by Olga Brighton
Anyone who is ‘travel savvy’ buys travel insurance when they’re venturing on a trip because they know that it can be a life saver. What could be more reassuring? Cover for all those unexpected dramas that could cost you thousands, like emergency medical expenses; lost and stolen baggage; flight delays and cancellations. Even legal expenses cover if you need it.
However, every year we see too many incidents of avoidable pitfalls that customers plunge into. Problems that could have been completely avoided easily and cheaply. Like what? We list the top travel insurance pitfalls that you should look to avoid before it’s too late for you. Some simple do’s and don’ts for travel insurance to know before your next trip.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s essential to check and comply with the rules set by the travel insurance company. It may be a longer process or more expensive for you to buy insurance that includes cover for your pre-existing conditions, but always check your options. Most companies have an accepted "No Screen Conditions list". NEVER withhold details of a pre-existing condition, or this could invalidate your policy and cost you thousands in medical expenses while away from home.
Fancy a bungee jump? Diving? Mountain trekking, or swimming with dolphins? Everyone loves to try something new, especially on holiday, but you are more at risk of injury while participating in adventure activities and did you know that you may not be covered by your travel insurance? Most Travel Insurance companies have a list of accepted adventure activities. So check before you go. Globelink covers over 100 activities as standard, but you can pay an additional fixed charge if you are trying something more adventurous.
Don’t make the mistake of not buying travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked and paid for some or all of your trip. The best time to buy is as soon as you pay for the first deposit or certainly before you travel. You’ll be covered as soon as you buy your insurance for certain unforeseen problems like death or serious illness of anyone on the policy, or a close relative or business associate; redundancy; the police or authorities need you; or if your leave is cancelled as a member of the Armed Forces, police, nursing or ambulance services. So don’t leave it till you travel to buy or you could be out of pocket before you even board the plane.
One of the most common pitfalls is people buying cover without checking it sufficiently meets their requirements. Think about the cost of your holiday if you had to cancel, the luggage you are taking in case it’s stolen, any connecting flights and pre-paid excursions so get sufficient cover to avoid disappointment and costs if things go wrong. The cheapest policy may indeed suit your needs but don’t buy without checking first.
We know it's not the first thing on your mind when booking your long awaited trip. We know that it's sometimes tempting to try and save money and not buy insurance – but this could cost you dearly. If you do forget or decide to buy after you travel most companies won't cover you as you have already started your trip. Globelink does offer Already Travelling insurance, so we can keep our customers secure and covered always. Even if you are half way through your holidays and suddenly remember to buy, or if you are a parent and just discovered that your son or daughter has gone off on their next holiday adventure without cover, get an Already Travelling policy for peace of mind. Some countries even insist on travel insurance coverage as part of entry requirements (Havana, Poland and others), so check before you travel.
It's worth taking a look at what you might need to make a claim before you face the stress of actually having to make one. All insurance companies will require evidence of any loss before they pay a claim. This might be a police report from the local Police in the country where the incident occurred, A ‘Property Irregularity Report’ (PIR) from the airline; evidence from the carrier, tour operator’s representative, hotel or accommodation provider; receipts of purchase or other evidence. Be prepared with the evidence and get your claim paid quicker. One of biggest misconceptions travellers face is that they will be covered for every situation. Unfortunately you won't, so know your cover and the claims procedures.
A pitfall we see all too often is the misunderstanding that travel insurance is like home insurance. It's not and it's not designed to be. There is likely to be a much lower ‘single article limit’ on your travel insurance than you might expect from your home insurance provider. You are very unlikely to be covered for your designer handbag or expensive jewelry, so check or leave it at home. You will make yourself a more tempting target for theft and you probably won't be covered if items are stolen or lost. Some policies do offer extra cover for valuables but you may have to pay extra and there will be certain terms and conditions as it probably wont be an ‘all risks’ policy.
Get covered and relax and enjoy your trip. And don’t forget to check FCO’s travel advice wherever you are going and stay safe.