Nearly one in five Brits go on holiday without travel insurance. Wow! Why risk getting stranded without medical cover in a country when you are desperately ill and you can’t even speak the language? It doesn’t even bear thinking about.
The best thing about travel insurance is that, in the UK at least, it is not expensive. Cover for overseas trips can cost as little as £10, and standard packages for short trips overseas come in routinely between £20 and £100.
Here are ten tips to ace your travel insurance for 2017:
Tip 1 : What do I need to insure against?
Standard insurance packages cover five main areas of:
- Stolen/lost possessions (including luggage)
- Delayed/cancelled flights
- Medical emergency (needing treatment and sometimes repatriation)
- Personal liability
Make sure the personal liability covered in your package is at least £1m.
Tip 2 : Don’t assume a basic insurance package will cover you …
Standard insurance packages often offer sparse coverage. Always check terms and conditions. Winter sports are well-known to require extra insurance. But, with any sporting activity, check that it is not designated as “dangerous” and therefore requiring a supplementary policy; in Dubai, for example, standard motor vehicle insurance does not cover dune-buggying – and similar, technical exemptions apply in travel insurance to all sorts of leisure activities.
Tip 3 : … But don’t buy the most expensive medical package out of fear
One in every two travel insurance claims are for medical matters. And the high sums of medical cover offered by some companies looks very reassuring (ie. £10m). But the average cost of a medical travel insurance claim is only in the region of £2k! Goodtogoinsurance.com says the average claim is £2,268; Moneyadviceservice.org.uk says £2,040.
That being said, do not skimp if you are travelling to the USA or Australia, where medical costs can be astronomical. The whole point of insurance is to cover the situation where you do get really, really unlucky – so don’t rule out, in your calculations, the possibility that you will get seriously ill abroad.
Tip 4 : Get your travel insurance bought as soon as you can
Why? Because a lot can go wrong before your trip comes round, and your travel insurance can cover you against unexpected events leading to the cancellation of your trip.
Tip 5 : Check your single item claim limit
If you are taking fancy laptops or smartphones abroad, check that their monetary value does not exceed the limit on claims offered by your insurer for single items. This single item claim limit is often low – in the region of £300. This means that your valuables might not be covered. Check.
Tip 6 : Be honest about your medical issues
Don’t store up trouble for yourself in the event of things going badly wrong. If you do have a serious medical condition – or even a minor condition that suspect might have insurance implications – notify the insurer truthfully. Otherwise, you could end up being denied the medical treatment you desperately need abroad because the insurer won’t pay for it.
Tip 7 : Consider annual coverage
If you are planning to go away more than twice in one year, it might work out cheaper to get block coverage for twelve months. If you are going away for more than 60 consecutive days, you might need extended leave insurance.
Tip 8 : Flight delays and cancellations won’t win you the lottery
If your flight is delayed for over eight hours, you may be able to claim some money back from your insurer. But don’t expect a windfall. If your flight is cancelled, the airline must supply you with a refund or another one of their flights – regardless of travel insurance.
Tip 9 : Do I need travel insurance even if I have an EHIC?
Yes. Some packages of travel insurance will waive the excess on a claim made whilst travelling in a country covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – but having an EHIC just means that you pay what the locals do and, in many European countries, state medical treatment is still costly. An EHIC is free and lasts for five years. It is valid in all 28 EU countries and a few others. Despite Brexit, the EHIC is likely to be accepted for a good couple of years – so, if you are a UK citizen, get one.
Tip 10 : Don’t get travel insurance from your airline
Statistics show that it is much, much cheaper to shop on an online comparison site.