10 April 2018 by Anna Staford
Travel insurance may be the last thing on your mind when booking your next trip to explore the world, but it’s an absolute “must”. Finding the right cover however, can be confusing with the mind-boggling choice available.
There are certain universal aspects common to most travel insurance policies, but terms vary significantly and the most expensive policy isn’t necessarily the best, so always shop around and compare travel insurance prices and read the terms carefully to ensure the cover suits your particular needs. Here are all the essentials - plus some of your toughest travel insurance questions answered:
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This depends on what you need. Check beneath the headlines to ensure you get it right. Are cruises covered? What about sports and adventure activities? Your gadgets? Ideally opt for a policy with over £4 million in emergency medical expenses. Generally, most policies cover:
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s essential that you check and comply with the rules the travel insurance company sets out for customers with pre-existing medical conditions. It may be tougher, or more expensive for you to buy insurance that includes cover for your pre-existing conditions, but there are now more providers than ever offering cover. Most companies have ‘accepted medical conditions’ lists, or a number to call and check. NEVER withhold details of a pre-existing condition, or this could invalidate your policy.
What if you have forgotten to take out insurance and have already started your adventure? Most companies won’t provide cover after you have already left UK home, however, there are a few that will still offer cover even if your trip has already begun. Search ‘already travelled’ to check your options.
Most travel insurance policies will not allow you to purchase cover for only part of a trip, so ideally find one policy that covers you for the full duration of your travel. Some policies can cover you for long duration trips up to a year and allow you to extend cover once you have purchased (subject to terms and conditions).
Sometimes you may find that you are insured twice (eg: your bank, or employer may provide cover too). It’s not ideal as you may be paying twice, so check beforehand. Also, if something happens and you want to claim, you won’t be able to claim on both! Most travel insurance policies have a ‘claims contribution’ clause whereby they can look to other policies for a contribution towards a claim pay-out. Here are some do’s and dont’s for making a successful travel insurance claim.
The answer is probably not. Unsurprisingly, travel insurance won’t usually cover you if something urgent crops up at work. However, some policies do cover trip cancellation or curtailment if a close business associate becomes seriously ill, or dies. This is usually contingent on the colleagues absence from work at the same time as yours preventing the proper continuation of the business.
In short, they vary, so check the ‘Cancellation and Curtailment’ section. You are usually covered for travel and accommodation costs you have pre-paid if there’s an unforeseen event, 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.
Most policies require you to act responsibly; take reasonable precautions and to observe travel advice provided by a recognised Government body (eg: FCO). So it’s always best to ensure that you have the recommended and required vaccinations for your trip.
Most policies have an alcohol exclusion of some description and require you to act responsibly and avoid wilful exposure to peril. Avoid the risk of having a claim declined and drink responsibly. Be aware of other common factors that void travel insurance claims.
Travel insurance is designed for holidays or trips abroad (usually shorter term) covering unforeseen events, like cancellation, curtailment, baggage loss and theft and emergency medical treatment. Whereas health insurance is designed for longer term placements away from home and covers more routine check-ups, elective and ongoing medical treatment, such as continuing treatment of health conditions.
Travel insurance is often priced in age bands and tends to get more expensive, the older you get. Typically, the over 60’s fall into higher price brackets. That’s because with age there is a greater likelihood of having pre-existing health and medical issues and these are more likely to become more sever, the older you are. So you are more at risk of having a problem which leads to a claim on your travel insurance. Many companies cover certain pre-existing medical conditions as standard, or offer additional cover for pre-existing medical conditions, so always check the terms before you buy, whatever your age. It could cost you thousands in medical expenses if you don’t.
In a nutshell, always consider taking out travel insurance. It will save you a lot of stress and save you a fortune if things go wrong. Especially as it’s so easy to compare prices and products, why wouldn’t you?
Read also: Top Tips on Luggage Security when Travelling