21 January 2009
The real cost when things go wrong
An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive. If you need to be returned to the UK it could cost you thousands of pounds, unless you are adequately insured:
Figures supplied by FirstAssist Services Ltd.
Remember: the British Embassy or High Commission will not pay for this.
What should my travel insurance policy cover?
The policy should cover the whole time that you’re away.
Your policy may also have:
Many insurers will extend cover if you ask them. If not, shop around for a specialist policy.
Common travel insurance policy exclusions
Always check the conditions and exclusions of your policy:
Not all Travel Insurance policies are the same
Cancelling or cutting short (curtailment) a trip short
A good insurance policy will cover you for cancelling or cutting a trip short. Check carefully to see exactly what you’re covered for:
Ensure your policy:
Personal liability insurance
If you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property they may sue you. Good travel insurance will cover you for personal liability.
Personal accident cover – disability and death
Travel insurance can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability or death.
Cover for stolen, lost or damaged possessions
You can normally choose the limit in your policy. Limits for single items such as cameras and jewellery can be as little as £150. Check these limits are adequate and realistic and ask if you can cover specified items such as a laptop or camera of a higher value.
You should report a loss to the Police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will be required by your insurance company if you make your claim.
All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times. If you don’t, the policy may not pay out.
Tip: take as much care of your property as if it were uninsured.
Lost baggage on flights
Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage.
By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage. This is unlikely to cover the full value of your things. You travel insurance company will deal with any shortfall.
Legal expenses cover
Taking out legal expenses cover will help you to pursue compensation or damages following personal injury while you're abroad – very important in countries without a legal aid system.