Find the Right Travel Insurance Policy for You

Going on holiday? Need travel insurance? Confused over what policy you need?

Then let us help clear up the ‘black hole’ of travel insurance policies, extras and exclusions.

Now, remember that old adage, “pay peanuts, get monkeys”? Well never a truer word spoken when thinking about insurance, especially travel insurance when you are going overseas, to a foreign country and your health and belongings are at risk.

Levels of Cover
Many policies are divided in to levels of cover, from low, medium and high cover – sometimes called bronze, silver and gold or basic, standard and superior.

Each policy will cover different things, the lowest being the very basics, usually at minimal cost, and the highest covering pretty much everything but for the highest cost. What makes the differences between the policies is what is and isn’t covered.

Take a moment to read on and to then check that the travel insurance policy you are buying really does meet your needs.

Baggage Cover
When taking out your policy you’ll be asked if you want to cover your luggage – this is main luggage that is stored in the main hold of the aircraft. Nowadays, many travellers are hand luggage only passengers so they tend not to need the additional insurance. However, if you are travelling with a suitcase, cover is a serious consideration. It’s not just in case your suitcase is lost but also if it and its contents are damaged, along with any items lost or stolen during your holiday. There are different levels of baggage cover to choose from, choose what suits your belongings best.

Cancellation and Curtailment
Nowadays, whether it's snow, wind or rain, our flights can be delayed, or worse still, cancelled. And it’s not just natural weather disruptions that can affect you; you might miss your flight because you’ve lost your travel documents. Or you could be too ill to travel, say severe sickness and diarrhoea which, although doesn’t require hospital treatment, does mean you can’t travel. If this does happen you’ll want to be reimbursed. However, if you don’t have the cover you won’t be compensated.

Cover can include arranging another flight to get home, say for example your airline or tour operator goes bust. Or reimbursement for food and drinks if severely delayed, even overnight accommodation for severe delays.

Medical Expenses and Repatriation
Arguably one of the most important reasons for travel insurance is to have sufficient medical and repatriation cover when travelling abroad – there’s no NHS in the world, it’s unique to the UK.

If you fall ill, have an accident and require treatment of any kind, including surgery or even repatriation back to the UK, a quality travel insurance policy should cover this. For medical expenses the cover is usually around £5 million - but check what the limits are. Medical costs are extremely high in the US so may wish to consider increasing the limit. You need to be covered for at least £45,000 repatriation costs too, which is the estimated value of getting a medically ill patient back to the UK.

Also, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions – these must be declared when taking out the policy or you may not be covered.

Do be aware, a European EHIC card does not replace the need for travel insurance, it simply provides any state provided emergency medical assistance in EU countries.

24-Hour Emergency Assistance
Reputable insurance providers should provide access to a 24-hour emergency telephone number in the event of a problem. This should be regardless of which country you are travelling to and which time zone you are in.

Personal Liability
Whilst you might not think this is essential, it is worth checking that your policy includes a level of cover for personal liability. This covers you for any legal costs incurred if legal action is taken against you whilst you are away. Accidents do happen, and if someone takes you to court for damage or injury to themselves or their belongings you’ll need to be covered.

In the event of a claim there will be an excess to pay. Again, the amount varies greatly from policy to policy. Take a careful look before you buy, checking to see if you can fund such an excess in the event of a claim.

Small Print
Always read the small print. Be aware of any hidden exclusions that may apply. Consider if they are relevant to you and the type of travel you are about to embark on. It will only take a few moments and could save you a small fortune should the worst happen!