Travel Insurance - why you need it, why it’s so important

Travel insurance is absolutely vital for anyone travelling overseas.

Providing you have the right level of cover and ensure you have declared any existing medical conditions, travel insurance ensures that you are financially protected should the worst happen and something goes wrong when you are abroad.

It is important to remember, that travel insurance is far more than simply insuring your luggage if it goes missing! A travel insurance policy offers essential, critical cover to protect you for a number of eventualities.

Cheap and Cheerful May not Offer Sufficient Cover

If you buy cheap travel insurance, that’s so cheap it’s “too good to be true” it probably is, and won't necessarily offer sufficient cover for your needs.

These days, many travel insurance policies are sold in layers of protection and insurance, for example bronze, silver, gold and even platinum. These levels indicate the monetary level your policy will cover you for, bronze being the lowest – often not including baggage cover – and platinum being the highest.

Travel Insurance Wording and Terminologies

You can be forgiven for being confused over the wording and terminology used when looking for the right insurance policy for you. So here’s a brief explanation:

  • Cancellation and Curtailment – this will cover you if your trip is cut short for any reason, or if it is cancelled before you travel, including your travel firm going bust – providing it is taken out when you book your holiday.
  • Catastrophe Cover – this is covers you if a severe incident occurs – fire, flood, earthquake or avalanche - and you are forced to move from your accommodation. This will also cover transportation, flights etc.
  • Delayed or Missed Departure – arranges and pays for an additional flight to your forward destination or home should you miss your flight departure – either out of the UK or the country you are returning from, or internal flights.
  • Personal Liability – cover if you are sued in the event of you causing an accident to another person or property.

Be Sure To Buy The Right Travel Insurance For Your Needs

Just as you can choose from a wealth of holiday destinations and types, there is a variety of different types of travel insurance available for specific types of holidays.

For example...

  • If you are going outside of Europe, you will require Worldwide cover, otherwise your policy will be invalid as you are travelling outside of the permitted region.
  • When you take out a policy you will be asked about your health. It is vital that you declare any pre-existing medical conditions you have or have suffered from. Failure to do so will make the policy invalid when claiming for any treatment resulting from an undisclosed illness. This will mean no medical cover will be paid for, and this can result in a bill of hundreds of thousands of pounds if serious medical attention is needed.
  • If you are going skiing you will need to include winter sports cover – this will make sure you are covered for any accidents on the slopes and cover the transportation and usage of equipment.
  • If you are tempted by jet skiing, paragliding, or similar activity on holiday, then be sure to include water sports cover in your travel insurance, otherwise you will not be covered for any related issues.
  • If you are travelling overseas a number of times in the course of a 12-month period, it may be more cost effective to purchase an annual or multi-trip policy rather than a single-trip policy.

Essential Cover

Regardless of the level of cover you choose, it is highly recommended that your policy covers the following areas:

  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance
  • Medical cover in the result of an injury or sudden, unexpected illness
  • Personal liability cover, for causing injury or damage to other persons or property
  • Cancellation and curtailment – reimbursement should your trip be cut short for any reason.

EHIC Medical Card

It is important to remember that the EHIC card (European Health Insurance Card) does not replace the need for travel insurance. This card means that urgent, emergency medical attention can be given to members of the EU carrying the card on the same basis as a resident of the country you are in, at either a reduced rate or free of charge.

An EHIC card is required for every person travelling, including children. The card is available for free, is valid for 5 years and can be applied for easily online, via the NHS website. The card is usually delivered within 7 days.

Worrying Statistics

If you choose to travel without travel insurance and you are involved in an accident, you could be faced with expensive medical bills - take a look at the cost of some of the treatments that you could encounter:

  • £500 for an X-Ray in Corfu
  • £500 for stitches in Tenerife
  • £1,000 for an MRI scan in Ibiza
  • £25,000 for an air ambulance in Southern Spain

Can You Afford to Travel Without Travel Insurance?

When you consider that an average European policy for a family of four costs about £70, and you examine some of the possible medical bills you could be liable for if you don’t have travel insurance, you have to ask yourself, can I afford to not to purchase Travel Insurance?