Travel Insurance: 10 Essential Tips

A large number of tourists still travel each and every year without any form of travel insurance to protect them should the unexpected occur. Insurance is generally an area that is hard to avoid in one way or another; with mandatory insurance required for your car, mortgage companies insisting on home insurance on your property, etc.

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So when it comes to planning a holiday, travel insurance is often overlooked or seen as an unnecessary expense as it is not something we are forced to have. Sadly, when something does go wrong you can very quickly find yourself out of pocket.

No Money Hand
© David Neubert

Rather than learn from a very expensive mistake, why not get yourself covered before you travel. Here are 10 top tips to help you get the most from your policy should you decide to opt for travel insurance for your next holiday:

  • European Health Card; will cover you for any initial emergency treatment you require. Over and above this you will be billed for any treatment you receive. It is a good idea to get one of these cards (free at the time of print) to ensure you receive the initial emergency care without delay.
  • Be Honest with the Insurer; when you are applying for your policy. If you suffer from any medical conditions — no matter how small they might seem — you need to inform your insurance provider of them. Anything you fail to mention which could be related to a future claim could see your policy voided when you come to claim.
  • Cheap Isn’t Always Best; when it comes to sourcing travel insurance you’ll want to balance finding a cheap policy with ensuring you get the minimum cover you require. Make sure you have coverage for cancellation of holiday/flights, theft, public liability, etc.
  • Dangerous Activities; such as skiing, scuba diving, etc, can void your policy so aim for a policy that sets out coverage for these activities. Many insurers offer winter sports packages for example and the same would apply if you are planning to go backpacking; the majority of insurers offer some form of backpacker cover at the time of writing.
  • Single or Multi-Trip; if you are only planning on travelling 1-2 times a year then a single trip policy taken out before each trip. If you plan to travel 3+ times a year then a multi-trip policy will undoubtedly save you money. Group or family policies will usually save you a reasonable amount of money and some family policies offer free cover for those under 18.
  • Check the Excess; many insurance policies come hand in hand with excesses so read the small print carefully. Pay particular attention to excesses for areas you think you are particularly at risk of having to use and try to get a policy with little or no excess in this area.
  • Theft Cover; make sure you look after your valuables, leaving them unattended or out of your sight could void your cover and leave you with a nasty bill for their replacement.
  • Packaged Insurance; often works out much more expensive than sourcing it separately so avoid letting your holiday provider add it in. Research by Alliance & Leicester showed that UK holiday makers overspend by £1.3 billion each year due to this.
  • Behave Yourself; we all want to have fun on our holidays but don’t let it get to out of hand when it comes to alcohol consumption. Insurers will not pay out for accidents cause whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Minimum Cover; aim for a minimum cover level of £2m for Medical expenses, £1m for personal liability cover, £3,000 cancellation cover, baggage £1,500, cash £250 and a 24 hour emergency phone-line.

Keeping the above tips in mind will make sure you get the cover you need and — should you need it — make for a smooth claims process. Happy Travelling!

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