Posted on: 12-02-2019 in Insurance
Do you go abroad without travel insurance? 20% of Brits in the UK do. Over 50% of UAE-based travellers do.
It’s legal. But is it wise?
The good news is that travel insurance certainly pays out. If you have a legitimate claim, you stand every chance of receiving a payout. Hot off the press this month, the influential Association of British Insurers (ABI) reports that, in 2017, over half a million claims were made on travel insurance by people based in the UK. A total of £400m was paid out in UK travel insurance payouts.
You have to make your own risk calculation. The risk of you on your travels getting ill or injured or delayed or stranded or losing your bags might be small. But, if it does happen, surely you’re going to kick yourself if you’re not covered?
For most of us, it depends on how much the cover is going to cost. So it’s also good news is that travel insurance is so cheap nowadays, it really is viable in most holiday scenarios, however budget-conscious – whether you’re shopping from the UAE, UK or elsewhere.
In the UK, “you can get a travel insurance policy from as little as £4.69.” (moneysupermarket.com). That’s based on an 18 year old based in the UK buying single trip cover for 3 days in France. Annual cover for an 18 year old for European trips is just over a tenner – at £10.55.
Thisismoney.co.uk say from the UK “for a healthy person in their thirties, a basic policy for a week in Spain costs as little as £6.”
Some Brits get the idea that having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means you don’t need travel insurance. The EHIC card – which, Brexit notwithstanding, UK citizens receive as long as we are in the EU – covers some expenses if you become ill or injured or Europe. But the EHIC does not cover all medical expenses. Nor does it necessarily cover the cost of repatriation.
Just because IFAs work with complex financial products all the time doesn’t mean they can’t shed some light on the relatively simple matter of your travel insurance. Ask them! See if they have any tips themselves. IFAs are often aware of tucked-away deals that the general public don’t know about.
It’s a good idea to be wary about signing up for optional extras on your travel insurance policy. Why? Not because extras aren’t worth having. But, say moneysupermarket.com, because your stuff could well be already covered; maybe on your home insurance, or as a feature of your bank account, phone deal, credit card or employee benefits package. If you’re sure you haven’t already got coverage for your pricey valuables elsewhere, you can pay the small extra ‘gadget cover’ premium offered by many travel insurance policies to get some peace of mind about your phone and laptop.
Cancellation payouts make up over 30% of all travel insurance payouts. If you want to be covered financially in the event that your travel is cancelled by the operator, be sure to book the cover when you book your travel. You will not be able to obtain cancellation cover at the point of departure. Too late!
Be sure to tell your insurer about any pre-existing health condition. “Even those who have been cured from a medical condition may still have to declare this to their insurer.” Say moneysupermarket.com. “For example, a person who has been completely cured of cancer may still face higher insurance premiums.”
Otherwise any claim you make may be ruled invalid – and you will have wasted your money. Read moneysupermarket.com’s guide to health conditions and insurance here. Bear in mind too that, in some countries like the US, the Caribbean, Canada, Spain and Cyprus, medical care can be eye-wateringly expensive. If you’re going there, expect the price of your travel insurance to reflect the risk that it could get costly.
You can relax on the way to the airport – if you plan ahead. Nowadays you can get specific insurance to cover you in the event that you miss your flight because of an accident or emergency en route. Or is it a hurricane you’re worried about? Go for ‘travel disruption’ cover to reimburse you should you get caught up in a natural disaster and need to splash out on somewhere to stay (and a flight out of Dodge!). If it’s dodgy airlines that trouble you – what with Primera Air going bust, for example last year – look at ‘Scheduled Airline Failure’ Insurance. It does what it says on the tin. You will be refunded for the cost of a flight home if you get caught overseas when an airline fails, as well as be able to claim for any flights you have paid for but not used.
It pays to take travel insurance seriously if you are going to be doing any winter sports. The ABI reports that a third of UK skiers are not insured properly. But winter sports really warrant some close attention in terms of insurance; the issue is not just the added possibility of injury and airlift, but also the expensive kit that could end up getting lost or stolen. What’s more, decent winter sports coverage will also pay out in the event of the piste being closed for whatever reason.
With winter sports, it is also crucial to look at personal liability insurance. In today’s world, if you crash into somebody on the slopes by mistake they might sue you. With personal liability insurance, that won’t be a problem if they win their case.