Travel insurance is designed to provide cover against a range of risks involved with travelling, either in the UK or abroad.
This can include some very expensive items, like being repatriated
to the UK in the event of sickness or accident or third party liability
e.g. if you injure somebody else, so is well worth thinking about.
Travel cover usually comes in two types:
- Annual Travel Insurance;
- Single Trip Travel Insurance.
Travel Insurance covers a large range of different risks right from
cancellation of your trip due to circumstances outside of your control
and loss or damage to personal belongings which you take with you.
Some policies can be extended to cover things like golf holidays
(including the cost of a round of drinks if you get a hole in one!) and
winter sports cover such as skiing or snowboarding holidays, so look for an insurer that offers tailored ski holiday insurance, winter sports holiday insurance or low cost snowboarding insurance.
Who is it suitable for?
- Annual travel insurance and single trip Insurance cover pretty much the same types of risks, so the main consideration is whether you will be travelling more than once in a year, in which case multi-trip holiday insurance may be better value.
- If you're pretty certain that you will only be travelling once, then a single trip policy should be fine. It's a good idea to take out the cover as soon as you book your trip, because of the benefit of the cancellation cover if you are taken ill.
- Annual travel cover can seem like good value if you intend to travel more than once. This usually covers any pre-booked accommodation for a minimum number of nights e.g. 2 nights.
What should you look out for?
With travel insurance in particular you need to make sure that the cover matches your needs. These can be determined by where you are going and what you intend to do when you get there.
If you're going diving off the Great Barrier Reef or trekking through the jungles of Borneo, you'll need more cover than if you're lounging by the pool in Majorca.
Your policy will probably cover a range of basic activities as standard. Often these are very explicit e.g. horse riding may be covered, but not if it involves jumping fences. Anything more hazardous must be disclosed to the insurance company so your policy can be upgraded to include hazardous activity cover.
Have a good look at the policy summary before accepting the quote to make sure your planned activities are covered.
Your policy will provide cover for specific locations, e.g. Europe only, Worldwide - EXCLUDING: USA, Canada, South & Central America, Mexico & the Caribbean or Worldwide - INCLUDING: USA, Canada, South & Central America, Mexico & the Caribbean.
Cover for the USA will probably cost more due to the increased level of personal liability claims and high medical expenses bills in the US.
So if you're going to Canada and are planning a trip to the States, it would be a good idea to get cover that is valid there.
Get an instant free online quote and immediate cover for worldwide holiday insurance or european travel insurance.
Make sure that your policy covers the full duration of your journey. Both annual travel insurance and single trip cover will have restrictions on the number of day's cover granted. If you are taking a gap year or sabatical to go travelling, you will require a special gap year insurance or backpacker insurance policy.
Detailed terms of the policy
Insurance companies will stick rigidly to the terms of the policy, so make sure you understand these.
Reading the policy document from cover to cover may take the shine off your holiday, but it could save you a lot of grief.
For example, if the policy says you need a full UK driving licence to use a moped abroad, you won't be covered if you've only got a provisional licence.
Making a travel insurance claim
Baggage delay or lost baggage
If the airline has delayed your luggage, make sure you get a 'missing luggage' form completed at the airport. If the airline loses your bags completely, make sure you get a written claim for damages. When making a claim with your insurer, you should complete all sections relevant to your claim and enclose all requested supporting documentation (including evidence of your outward and return travel dates from the UK).
If you need to cancel your holiday or flights and wish to claim through your holiday cancellation insurance, you must provide a valid reason for cancellation, which can only be one of the following:
- Jury Service
- Damage/Theft to Home/Business
You will be asked to provide documentation to prove the validity of your claim, which can include the following:
- For cancellation by the holiday company or airline, try to obtain a cancellation invoice or written confirmation from airline or travel agent.
- Original booking invoice, showing date of booking, date of travel and a full breakdown of the trip costs. You may be asked to supply all unused travel tickets, itineraries etc.
- If cancellation is due to redundancy, your insurer may require a letter from your former employer confirming you have been made redundant and are due to receive a redundancy payment, the position you held and your length of service.
- If cancellation is on medical grounds, including death, you will be asked to attach a medical certificate which must be completed by the usual medical practitioner of the individual whose condition has led to the claim.
- If cancellation is due to a death, you will be asked to provide a certified copy of the death certificate. In addition, if the deceased is an insured person under the policy, they will require a copy of the Grant of Probate issued in respect of the deceased's estate.
- If the claim is due to an injury, you will be asked to provide a full description of the incident leading to the injury. If a third party was involved you will be asked to provide their details and those of their insurer, if known. It is advisable to get a detailed letter from the doctor or hospital you visited at time of injury.
- If claim is for trip abandonment, you will be asked to provide written confirmation from the airline of the delay/cancellation of the flight, the reason for the delay and the length of time the delay lasted.
- If cancellation is for any other reason, try to provide independent written evidence of the incident or circumstances which have resulted in the submission of the claim.
It is advisable to send original documents but please keep photocopies for your own records.
Medical Emergency and Associated Expenses
If you have an accident or medical emergency on holiday, you should contact the medical emergency assistance company as soon as possible and make a note of the date/ time and the person you spoke with. If you wish to claim for associated expenses, you may be asked to provide the following information and documentation:
- Date and time of the injury/ accident
- The country and town where your illness occurred
- A full description of the illness of injury and details of any third party involved, try to provide their details and those of their insurer if available
- Whether you were an inpatient or outpatient at hospital (including the date/time of admittance and date/time of discharge)
- Whether you previously suffered from the condition which has led to a claim. Your insurer may require your GP to complete a medical certificate
- Original evidence to show dates of outward and return travel (booking invoice, travel tickets, itinerary etc.)
- All original invoices/receipts for expenses incurred (keep a copy for your own records)
- If the person insured passed away and you are submitting a claim on their behalf, you would need to provide certified copies of the death certificate, together with Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.
Beware: Some cheap travel insurance policies simply don't have sufficient cover. It's well worth comparing a low cost travel quote with a more expensive one so you can see the things are not covered. That extra £30 could be the best money you ever spent.