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Travel insurance is vital whatever the trip

Things to look out for on Travel Insurance

Home > Help & Advice > Finance FAQs > Things to look out for on travel insurance

Travel insurance is often the furthest thing from their minds for many people when they’re choosing a holiday destination. After saving up hard-earned cash or taking out holiday loans for that trip of a lifetime, buying travel insurance is often seen as an additional and unnecessary expense to add to the overall cost. But travel insurance is vital whatever the trip, even if you’re not travelling abroad. A sudden illness while away from home can end up costing thousands.

A cancelled flight, bad weather or industrial action can mean you still have to pay the full price of your hotel booking, even if you never reached your destination. But with travel insurance it’s important to read every detail of your policy, as the policy you choose may not cover everything you think it does.

When and Where

Make sure your insurance covers the dates when you are travelling and the places you are visiting. Country groupings can vary from insurer to insurer. For example, some providers will include countries such as Turkey and Egypt as a part of Europe, while others won’t, and places such as the USA and Canada don’t always come under ‘worldwide’.

Medical Cover

Contrary to popular belief, the European health insurance card, or EHIC, does not provide comprehensive health insurance cover abroad. It merely entitles you to the health services available to the local citizens of the European country you are travelling to. To cover eventualities such as repatriation, the cost of unscheduled flights, emergency treatment and medications and the cost of accommodation and extra travel expenses, proper travel insurance is needed. It isn’t as if you’d need to take out secured loans to cover the premium.

Travel insurance isn’t expensive considering the cost if you don’t insure. And if you have pre-existing medical conditions that might increase the premium by a few pounds, it’s important to declare them or you could be left to foot the medical bill. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) recommends that travellers choose a policy with minimum of £2000 medical cover in Europe and £5000 worldwide.

Cancellation Charges

Although travel insurance can be purchased at any time up until the date of travel, it is best to do it at the time the trip is booked, in case you need to cancel. It is impossible to predict every situation that could cause a cancellation, but it’s a good idea to check if your insurance policy includes cover for illness, accident, redundancy, family bereavement, pregnancy (previously unknown at booking), jury service summons, industrial action and bad weather.

Theft and Loss of Personal Belongings

Most insurance policies will cover the cost of individual items, although there is usually a maximum payout on these. They will also insure against loss or stolen items, including travellers’ cheques and cash, although you may need to prove that you took ‘reasonable care’ of them. That means keeping valuables in your hand luggage rather than in hold luggage and not leaving them unattended, such as in an unlocked car or room.

Check the Small Print

The level of cover and even types of cover will vary from provider to provider. Some won’t insure against specific circumstances, and you may need to take out extra or specialist insurance for them. These might include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Extreme sports and activities such as skiing, tobogganing, white-water rafting or bungee jumping
  • Medical treatment resulting from undeclared pre-existing conditions or illnesses that are preventable by vaccines and medication
  • Any industrial action that was already known about when you booked the trip
  • Any destinations which the Foreign Office has warned against travelling to
Warning: Late payment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk

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