Peak holiday season is approaching, but before you even think about bounding over to your best mates balcony, chomping that questionable chicken kebab or jumping on a jet ski, read our guide to 15 things you may not know about travel insurance…
Booked your holiday but haven’t got your insurance yet?
You need to sort this out now! Your travel insurance doesn’t just cover you while you’re away – but also in the run up to your holiday, protecting you against cancellations or anything else that might go wrong beforehand.
Want to have a drink?
Some insurers won’t even consider paying out should you have an accident, or lose something, when you’ve had just one drink. They can even test blood samples for alcohol – yes, really. So make sure you check the fine print and are aware on what is and isn’t covered.
Buy your insurance based on the number of trips you’re planning for the year
If you are travelling twice or more, annual travel insurance is probably going to be much better value than purchasing single trip insurance. If you’re travelling once, you may be able to get the cover you need on a single trip policy for little over £5. Just check the cover details – make sure you’re covered for a decent amount of medical expenses and cancellation compensation – increasing your cover can cost just pennies.
Check if your bank offers a good deal
Monthly fee bank accounts generally include different insurances, including travel – so you may already have cover. Make sure you look into it carefully to ensure you have the right levels of cover for your trip. For some holiday types you may need specialist cover, for example cruising, extreme sports, backpacking, and your bank cover may not include these.
Your annual insurance covers you for the full year, even if you are due to travel later…
This one requires some explaining – if you bought an annual policy in August 2016, then you are covered until the renewal date in august 2017. If you have booked a holiday in September 2017, then if you need to cancel that holiday or anything else goes wrong then you are still covered for that holiday until your annual policy runs out. You are covered for the date you cancel, not the date of the trip.
Check your destination country is covered
European cover is generally geographically defined, and not just EU states, but strangely, some European policies don’t cover Spain and the Balearic/Canary islands, while others cover North Africa. Check if there is an option to choose “Europe with Spain”, bearing in mind you may have to pay extra. If you are travelling to North Africe (for example Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey or Egypt) then get a quote for European cover and then check the geographical area of the policy.
Declare all medical conditions, however minor you consider it to be
Tell your insurer everything about your health, and the health of those close to you if there is anyone you would fly home to care for if they got ill. This may end up costing you more, so look into specialist insurers who accept extensive ranges of conditions, sometimes at no extra cost. Some mainstream insurers do charge more to those with conditions, but others may add a clause whereby you are not insured against pre-existing medical conditions, at no extra cost.
Check your EHIC is still in date
Over 5 million European Health Insurance Cards are out of date. Everyone should have a valid one if they are travelling in the EU – this card gives you treatment in state-run institutions for the same price as a local would pay. You can apply for or renew your card at gov.uk for free – don’t get caught out by a dodgy site which will charge you.
Even if you have your EHIC you still need insurance
Travel insurance doesn’t only cover medical emergencies – you’re also covered for theft, lost luggage and repatriation. Having an EHIC does have additional benefits – you won’t have to pay the excess on your policy if you show your EHIC when getting treatment.
You may not be covered for private treatment
A lot of insurers won’t cover any private treatment unless it’s an emergency and there’s no state-run facility nearby and you could end up with a bill of £1,000s. Try and find out what medical facilities are available at your destination and check with your insurer, so that should anything bad happen you know where you stand Check with your insurer before you go.
Play around with family/single persons insurance when getting a quote
The price of family cover is based on the oldest traveller or the “highest risk” – so it may be worth getting quotes for each traveller individually and comparing prices. It is usually better to get anyone over 65 their own policy.
You’re probably not covered if you lose an electrical device
Gadget cover is not usually automatically included – so check your policy. If you need cover for your gadgets check if this can be added on to your home insurance or consider a specialist gadget policy.
You may need specialist insurance for a cruise
Most cruise cover is basic – covering medical treatment, theft and loss. If you would like further cover, for cancelled excursions etc then you may need to purchase an add-on. Check your documents!
Dangerous destinations are never covered
The Foreign Office offer travel advice on gov.uk, advising against travel to certain countries deemed as dangerous. If you to travel to a country/area the Foreign Office warns against travelling to, you won’t be covered for any claims as you’re deemed to have ignored Government advice. You can check your destination here: foreign travel advice site. Also, standard travel policies do not tend to include cover for terrorism-related threats or incidents.
It has been reported that following a growing number of incidents, UK police are investigating potential fraudulent claims made when abroad. Don’t ever lie to make a claim on your insurance and be careful of getting involved with any claims firms that get you to embellish the truth.