If you are planning a holiday, either at home or overseas, it is important that you take out adequate travel insurance for both yourself and your family. A good travel insurance policy can cover you against every eventuality, from last minute cancellations due to redundancy, an illness contracted whilst you are overseas, or an airline going bankrupt. Without the right insurance policy your dream holiday could very well become your worst nightmare!
There are a number of different travel insurance policies available on the market, so you should do your research first to determine what sort of policy best suits your needs. A basic travel insurance policy should offer financial protection in the event that you have to cancel your holiday due to, for example, a close relative falling seriously ill, or you losing your job. You should also expect to be compensated if your flight is considerably delayed; usually for longer than twelve hours. If you do experience a significant delay then make sure that you get confirmation in writing from the airline that the delay occurred, and also remember to keep any receipts for expenses incurred during the delay.
A basic travel insurance policy should also cover your bags and personal possessions should they be stolen, damaged or lost. Standard cover in the UK is usually up to £1500 for luggage, with an individual limit for valuable items such as laptops and cameras of between £250 and £500. Cash is usually insured, again, up to the value of £250 to £500 depending on the type of policy you take out.
Some travel insurance policies offer personal liability which would cover you if you were to injure someone, or to damage their property; this could be useful if you enjoy more extreme sports whilst on holiday, such as skiing or snowboarding. If you were personally involved in an accident some insurers offer their customers access to a 24-hour, emergency helpline which can be very reassuring, especially if you are in an entirely different time zone.
Medical cover is an essential component of all good travel insurance policies. You could end up with a huge medical bill, especially if you need to be flown back to your home country; £2m worth of cover is usually sufficient and should include repatriation costs where relevant.
In common with most other types of insurance policy, travel insurance policies feature an excess, which is the amount that you would be required to pay towards your claim. When taking out your policy be sure to read the small print carefully as some policies charge an excess per section, which can prove to be very expensive. For example, if you were attacked and some of your personal possessions were also stolen you could be asked to pay an excess fee towards the loss of your property and another, separate excess fee towards your medical costs. Look out for insurers that charge just one excess per claim.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition the majority of basic travel insurance policies will not pay out should you need treatment for problems related to this condition whilst on holiday. If you do have a pre-existing medical condition then shop around as some insurers will provide you with the relevant cover, although, premiums will most likely be more costly.
If you travel overseas on a regular basis you might want to consider taking out an annual travel insurance policy as this can work out cheaper. This could be the best solution if you go on two or more holidays per year, and you may also find that levels of cover are higher than a single trip policy, especially with regard to cancellations, lost baggage, and medical bills. An annual travel insurance policy also gives you the flexibility to go on last-minute trips overseas without having to worry about arranging insurance beforehand.
Age can be a significant factor if you are in the market for travel insurance. If you are aged sixty-five or more then you may find that your premiums are double, and some insurers simply will not offer cover to individuals over sixty five years old. This is because older travelers are far more likely to make a claim. However, there are companies who do specialise in providing travel insurance to those past retirement age, and their policies are designed to cover a number of pre-existing medical conditions, and usually have higher policy limits.
If you plan to enjoy more extreme sports whilst on holiday you should consider taking out a specific adventure travel insurance policy. The premiums are usually higher, but they offer invaluable cover if you were to be injured whilst, for example, white water rafting, or bungee jumping.
Travel insurance is a must if you are planning a holiday, but it is important to read the small print before you take out a policy. Many insurers include certain exclusions which would mean that you could be left without financial protection if, for example, you fail to disclose a pre-existing medical condition, or take part in a high-risk pursuit. If you are elderly, enjoy extreme sports, or are not in the best of health, it may be advisable to consult an experienced broker to find a travel insurance policy best suited to your needs.