Travel insurance is designed to cover a whole host of eventualities that you might experience whilst on holiday. Travel insurance is a very important purchase, especially if you are travelling overseas as all good policies cover any medical expenses you may incur.
If you were to fall ill in a foreign country and need medical attention this treatment must be paid for, either out of your own pocket or via a travel insurance policy. Treatment for more serious conditions can run into tens of thousands of pounds so travel insurance is a must.
Experts recommend that you take out at least £2 million of medical cover if you are travelling abroad. This cover should include repatriation costs; the cost of returning you to the country in which you live if you need to be flown back. Some policies include more than this amount of cover, but the extra protection will be reflected in the cost of your premiums so don’t pay for more cover than you realistically need.
If you are pregnant you may still be allowed to take out travel insurance, but many firms only offer cover to women who are less than twenty four weeks pregnant; check the terms and conditions of the policy before you sign up. Some insurers will also cover you if you find out that you are pregnant whilst on holiday and decide to return home early.
The majority of travel insurance policies do not provide cover for any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. This means, for example, if you suffer from asthma and experience an attack whilst you are on holiday your insurer will not cover the cost of any treatment given to you. However, do not be tempted to withhold information about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have as this could invalidate the policy completely.
There are some specialist insurers who offer travel insurance for those people who have existing health issues, although the premiums tend to be much more expensive to reflect the increased risk posed to the insurer.
UK residents can apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles them to medical treatment in state run hospitals within the EU, in addition to a number of other countries such as Norway and Iceland. This card can be useful in an emergency, but is not an adequate replacement for a travel insurance policy. If you are in possession of a EHIC then you will receive the same benefits as the country’s residents. This is fine if healthcare in that country is free, but if it isn’t you will also have to pay.
Before you take out travel insurance you need to shop around to find a policy that best suits your needs, and at a price that fits your budget. Bear in mind when comparing policies online that the cheapest policy isn’t always the best; always compare quotes on a like for like basis.
Most travel insurance policies offer cover for cancellation and curtailment, delays, baggage and belongings, personal liability, and emergency assistance.
Cover for cancellation and curtailment means that if you need to cancel your holiday, or return home early, then your insurer will pay for you to do so. The recommended amount of cover is £3000, or the total cost of your holiday. However, it pays to read the small print first as you may be disappointed later on. Insurers only pay out for specific events that lead to you cancelling your trip, for example, losing your job, and only for the illness of close relatives if you need to come home early.
If your flight is delayed for longer than twelve hours you should receive compensation from your insurer. Make sure that you ask the airline to confirm the delay in writing, and keep receipts of anything you have to buy due to the delay.
A good travel insurance policy will provide up to £1500 worth of cover if your luggage and personal belongings are stolen, damaged, or lost. However, you may have to take out additional cover for individual items that are valued at over £250 to £500 each, for example, laptops and cameras. If your cash is stolen again there is an upper limit on the amount that you can claim; usually £250 to £500.
Cover for personal liability means that if you injure someone, or damage their property, and they make a claim against you your insurer will cover the costs, whilst emergency assistance is a service that many insurers offer; an emergency helpline number is provided that you can ring 24/7 if you encounter difficulties when abroad.
Travel insurance provides cover for a number of things that can go wrong whilst you are on holiday, and is invaluable if you are travelling overseas. Cover for medical expenses is perhaps one of the most important things that a travel insurance policy provides cover for as medical attention in a foreign country can cost many thousands of pounds. Make sure that you take out a policy that provides an adequate amount of cover for peace of mind that you will receive any medical treatment that you may need, without a hefty bill to pay when you return home.