What is Generally Included in Travel Insurance?
Everywhere you find holiday advice, you'll find a recommendation that you don't forget to buy travel insurance. It's not expensive in most cases (unless your trip is likely to be risky) and it's so inexpensive that many banks and credit cards routinely offer free travel insurance cover as an incentive to open an account with them.
If you don't take out insurance and the worst happens, you or your family could be at risk of huge medical and legal fees in the event of accident, illness, injury or death to a third party. So, make sure you are covered before you go!
What Types of Insurance Policy Are There?
- Annual Multi Trip Insurance Depending on what type of traveller you are, it could pay to take out a multiple-trip policy which usually covers you for trips of 31 days or less, for a year at a time. Some insurers allow unlimited journeys, and others limit the number of trips of insurable days, so check the details before you make the decision if the policy will suit you.
- Sports Winter sports enthusiasts and golfers are the usual customers for this type of policy. You'll find that some standard policies will also include basic winter sports activities, including ski-ing, but it pays to check beforehand. If you plan to do anything out of the ordinary, like snowboarding, you should declare it as it might not be covered by a normal policy - you would probably be better off with a specific sports policy instead.
- Adventure/hazardous/extreme pursuitsIf you think you are likely to be abseiling, bungee jumping, climbing mountains, tobogganing, potholing or parachuting you'll need a extreme sports policy - and sometimes even sports like canoeing, athletics and scuba diving are included. The best advice is to tell the insurer what you're doing and ask them to fit the cover to the holiday. Don't take any chances!
- Backpacker insurance Long-stay insurance that typically covers multiple destinations.
- Over 60s Older travellers often have to take out specific age-related policies because of medical conditions. These, as you can imagine, can be expensive.
- Long stay This is a policy that covers one trip to a named destination but for a longer period of time.
Tell The Insurer Everything - Or You Might Not Be Covered!If you are going to do anything out of the ordinary, you must disclose this to the insurer before you take out the policy. Insurance policies are full of disclaimers and exclusions, so don't leave yourself open to having a claim refused, tell all right from the start.
Medical conditions, even if you don't think they are important, also need to be disclosed. Even asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes have to be declared, and you should tell them if you're pregnant too.
However silly it seems, if you don't say anything and it transpires that you didn't declare something you should have, it can invalidate your policy even if your claim is valid!
Top Tips For Travel Insurance
- Renew your travel insurance well before you are due to travel. If you leave it until the last minute you run the risk of not getting your documents - or not having the time to correct anything that needs changing before you go.
- Check that your annual policy is live and doesn't have to be renewed - again, well before you are due to travel.
- Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card if you're travelling within the EU. This entitles you to free or cheaper medical treatments in all EU countries, and Switzerland.
- Free bank account policies can be fairly basic and probably won't cover you for winter or extreme sports, so check the small print. If you need extra cover, just buy it!
Hopefully, your holiday will pass without incident and you can write off the cost of insurance as an extra that you didn't actually need to fall back on...but it's always good to know that in the event of the worst happening, a lack of insurance wont compound the problem...