Getting away on holiday can be an expensive business so the last thing you want is for something to go wrong and you are left out of pocket. Taking out travel insurance will give you peace of mind but you need to make sure you are getting value for money as well as comprehensive cover.
This guide is full of 12 useful tips designed to help you when it comes to picking the best insurer for your holiday.
1- Shop around
There are several comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket* that offer comparisons across a range of insurers which can save you money. Make sure you check closely what each policy covers you for and compare like with like when it comes to cost.
2 - Buy comprehensive cover
Make sure you get cover for the following risks:
- Cancellation and delay
- Baggage and possessions
- Personal liability
- Medical cover
- Emergency assistance
3 - Consider an annual policy
If you are going to travel more than once a year then an annual policy may prove cheaper. This will also mean that you will never forget to arrange your travel insurance in the hectic days before you travel. Having an annual policy will also ensure you're covered if you take a 'staycation'. Read our article, 'Do you need travel insurance for a staycation and how to get the best deal' for more information.
4 - Buy family cover wherever possible
It may be cheaper to cover the whole family under one policy rather than multiple single policies. However, make sure you check you are all still covered if you travel separately, such as children on school trips.
5 - Take out cover as soon as you book your trip
As soon as you book your holiday make sure you arrange your travel insurance. Events may occur, such as illness or pregnancy, that will require you to cancel your holiday well ahead of the departure date, if you have not got a policy in place then you will have to suffer any financial loss personally. In addition, if strike action by airline staff is announced before you have taken out insurance then you are likely to be left out of pocket if it affects your holiday travel plans.
6 - Apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
A GHIC replaces the existing EHIC and will provide the holder with free or reduced-cost treatment in state-run hospitals in any EU country. You will need one GHIC for each person (including children) travelling with you on holiday. You can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card on the government's website. If you have an existing EHIC card it is valid until the expiry date on the card. (A GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance so it is recommended that you also get travel insurance cover.)
7 - If you are planning to take risks, make sure you have cover
Many of us love to take activity holidays but not all activities on these types of holidays are covered under a standard travel insurance policy. Inform your insurer prior to your holiday to ascertain if your specific activities are covered and whether any restrictions apply. Be honest, as failing to declare these activities could invalidate your policy. Also, many policies won't pay out if an injury is a result of alcohol consumption, so check the policy wording.
8 - Declare all pre-existing medical conditions
Do not be tempted to hide medical conditions from an insurer in an attempt to reduce the premium. Be open and honest about all existing medical conditions and if you have an annual policy, inform your insurer if any new medical conditions arise. Not all medical conditions will result in an increased premium.
If you have a more serious pre-existing condition then it may affect your cover. Some insurers may:
- exclude cover for certain conditions
- offer cover at an enhanced premium
- increase the compulsory excess
- impose restrictions on activities
- refuse cover completely
There are a number of insurance companies that specialise in travel insurance for those with existing medical conditions. The Money Advice Service has a useful list of insurance companies that specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions. For more information on travelling with a pre-existing medical condition read our article: 'How to save on travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition'.
9 - Check excluded countries on worldwide cover
If you are booking annual worldwide travel insurance make sure you are fully aware of the countries that are excluded from your policy (as there will be some). Worldwide doesn't mean worldwide!
10 - Use a specialist insurer if you're over 65
While you may have the time and money to enjoy some foreign sun, the bad news is that when you are over 65 travel insurance premiums usually soar and lots of insurers will only offer single-trip policies. There are specialist companies out there though so don’t be disheartened. It is now easy to compare travel insurance policies if you are over 65 on common comparison sites such as MoneySuperMarket*.
11- Check your cover carefully
Not all standard travel policies offer the same cover so you need to check the policy details carefully. Make sure you understand what cover you have, what restrictions or exclusions there are and that you understand the claims process. Put your travel insurance policy in a safe place and always take it with you when travelling.
12 - Inform your home insurer when taking an extended holiday
Most insurers require you to inform them if you are away from your home for more than 30 days and if you fail to do this it could invalidate your home insurance policy.
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