When you are booking a holiday, you will at some point create a to-do list, mentally or physically, of all the little jobs and tasks which need to be done before you set off on your holiday, you’ll also work out a list of costs such as; spending money, transfers, food and drink, etc. however one cost which many people question whether they need to spend on is travel insurance.
According to ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, nearly 24% of travellers holidaying abroad do so without any, or adequate, travel insurance. Male travellers and younger travellers are among the group most likely to travel uninsured, with Londoners and those from the East of England also most likely to forego travel insurance when taking a trip. Many of those believe that should they have an accident or become ill abroad that the UK government will cover their medical and repatriation costs.
Lynda St Cooke of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: “It is important that people understand what the FCO can and cannot do to help British nationals who get into trouble abroad. We cannot pay medical bills, so it is vital that you have a comprehensive travel insurance package for trips overseas. … Having an EHIC is a must when travelling in Europe as it gives you access to free or reduced cost basic state-funded care. But you still need full travel insurance as the EHIC doesn’t cover private treatment or repatriation to the UK if you are seriously ill. For further advice and tips on preparing for your holiday, visit our website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.”
So here are our top tips for shopping around for the best deals:
Get coverage for free!
1. If you’re travelling within the EU, currently, you can apply for a European Health Card (EHIC) for free – this entitles UK citizens to receive free or discounted medical treatment. There are certain limitations however it does cover accidents and pre-existing medical conditions, so it may still be worth getting single trip or multi-trip travel insurance.
2. Check with your bank – Most banks nowadays offer a whole raft of added value benefits when you switch your main income to go into one of their current accounts. The coverage does vary bank-to-bank with some offering European annual coverage including the UK (couple or individual), Worldwide annual coverage (Family. Including USA) or Worldwide annual coverage (Family. Including USA) and winter sports. Here are a few banks we found that offer travel insurance with certain current accounts:
• First Direct
• Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank
Shop ‘til you drop
1. While we all get told to negotiate on everyday insurances such as house and car insurance not many people think to shop around for their travel insurance. There are two main types of travel insurance: single trip policies and multi-trip/annual policies. The best way to be clever with your money is to assess every year roughly how many foreign trips you think you will take in a single year and then go to price comparison websites to see what would be the better price single or multi-trip.
2. Work out where you are going in the world – this may sound simple, but many people plump for worldwide coverage when getting travel insurance, however by simply checking what countries you will be travelling to you may be able to cut costs as prices varying between Europe, worldwide (excluding USA and Caribbean), worldwide (including USA and Caribbean), etc.
Know what you’re covered for
1. When you first say travel insurance most people will automatically think of health coverage however travel insurance policies cover a wide range of different issues from lost luggage, trip cancellation, trip abandonment, theft, delays, diversions, etc. so should anything happen before, during or after your trip you may find out you’re covered. Also, be sure to check that if you are taking electronic devices including your mobile phones, tablets, headphones, etc. that they are covered under the policy.
2. Always, always, check the small print to see what you’re covered for before booking; this could be for anything from cruising (insurers may specify a set duration on trips, so that round the world cruise may need an extension policy!), driving, skiing, diving, boat trips, horse riding. Different insurers cover different activities, if in doubt simply give the insurers a call before you purchase to see what level of insurance would cover your activity of choice, this does also extend to if you’re going to use your personal travel insurance on a work trip as some insurers may count the policy as null and void if it does not state for business purposes on your insurance agreement.
3. When taking up a travel insurance policy you should always remember to check what the excess will be on your policy if you need to make a claim as you need to weigh this against what you may honestly claim for. So, say, for example, you bags were delayed, and your insurers will cover replacement articles, etc. if you have an excess of £250 you may need to pay this out to the insurer before you can purchase the items, so you need to work out if they are worth the excess amount or not.
Final top tips
• Have a partner or family? This could cut the cost down as if you purchase together as the per person price can go down. Also, be sure that the insurance policy covers everyone in your party including young children.
• Over 65? Be sure to shop around as some insurers may charge a higher premium.
• Airline or travel agent gone bust? Most policies should cover this in the small print, but as above, check and check again!
• Purchasing a package holiday? The company you book through may also offer some coverage.
• Already have home insurance? Some of your personal possession may be covered for outside of your house.
• Check your cover limits. Most standard limits should be £1million for medical treatment and £1million for personal liability although this could vary on your holiday destination.
• Declare any medical conditions. If you later claim for a pre-existing medical condition, insurers may refuse to pay out.