Travel insurance, like most insurance, is something you hope to never need so it can seem like you are handing over money for nothing. In the present economic climate it is becoming an extra expense that many people are choosing not to bother with, but is this a wise move when you could potentially be letting yourself in for even more expense if the worst happens while you are away?
The range of problems for which travel insurance can cover includes lost or stolen property, travel delays, cutting short your holiday due to illness or family emergency and medical expenses if you should have an accident or fall ill while you are away. The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card will only cover you for a limited amount of state-provided healthcare; it will not guarantee completely free medical help and is only of use for travel within the European Economic Area (EEA). For travel to countries without a state health service, extra medical cover is especially important as hospital bills, air ambulance fees and repatriation costs can run into tens of thousands of pounds.
Before you buy travel insurance, it makes sense to do your homework so you know exactly what level of cover you are buying. Some of the budget airlines and package holiday companies offer their own insurance, but check the small print on the policy before you tick the options box; you may find the cover they offer does not cover the type of holiday you are going on. For example, some sports and activities may be excluded if they are considered high risk – precisely the reason why you would need insurance!
Check Whether You Are Already Insured!
Your home contents insurance may already cover you for damage, loss or theft of personal possessions taken outside the home, so further cover would not always be necessary for this but you would still need medical and travel interruption cover. Some banks offer “free” travel insurance as a benefit of some of their chargeable bank accounts, but always check the cover is going to be sufficiently comprehensive.
You must be honest and tell your insurance company about any pre-existing medical issues which you or family members travelling with you are aware of. If you develop a problem between taking out the insurance and your travel date, you must inform your insurer. If you do not disclose this information you may find your insurance company will reduce or refuse a pay-out if you should be unlucky enough to need one.
Travel insurance is really a necessary evil but check you are paying for the correct level of cover for your trip.
Take a look at the travel insurance tips and advice from Dean O’Leary, writing here for IAS Medical