If you’re heading off on holiday this year, you’re probably counting down the days to departure. But have you remembered to arrange travel insurance cover? Here are some key dos and don’ts to bear in mind as you go in search of the perfect policy…
…leave it too late
Remember, travel insurance isn’t only active while you’re away – it should also cover you for unforeseen circumstances (such as illness, family bereavement or adverse weather conditions) that might arise before you set off, causing delays or forcing you to cancel or postpone your holiday.
…arrange cover as soon as possible
It makes sense to get a travel insurance policy in place straight after booking your holiday – or as soon as you possibly can. Check the features of the policy before purchasing to make sure it provides everything you might need – including sufficient protection against cancellation or delay.
Check the features of the policy before purchasing to make sure it provides everything you might need
If you’re planning on making several trips over the in the coming months, then it would probably work out cheaper – not to mention more efficient – to take out an annual multi-trip policy. Once purchased, it’ll be a job ticked off your list for the whole year.
…just take the cheapest option
A super-cheap premium can hide a multitude of sins; delve a little deeper and you’re likely to find inflated excesses, extra exclusions, low levels of cover, and/or a distinct absence of certain key features. But don’t assume that the most expensive option is automatically going to be the best or most suitable for you either!
…make sure you’re fully insured
Carry out some research to find a policy that not only offers a fair premium price, but provides you with the specific cover you need.
Medical expenses (of £1-2 million), repatriation, cancellation/curtailment, missed departure, delay, personal liability (of £1-2 million) and baggage cover are generally considered to be essentials, so look out for those features when choosing a policy. But might you want to protect your cash too? Or cover a lost passport? Are you likely to take part in any adventure sports that aren’t covered under standard policies? Are the excesses appropriate? And will the policy cover the full duration of your trip? These kinds of things should all be considered before making a purchase.
…try to cheat the system
If you lie or leave out important information in an attempt to save money when applying for your travel insurance policy, any claims you subsequently make are likely to be refused. It may also blot your copybook with insurers.
…be honest in your insurance application
Declare pre-existing medical conditions (i.e. anything you’ve consulted a doctor or healthcare professional about) and ensure all information you give in your application is accurate and truthful. Then, double check that everything is showing up correctly on your policy documents (including travel dates etc).
Not all medical conditions will affect your premium, but even if they do, it’s worth paying a bit extra. After all, a void policy is a far worse investment! Do be aware, however, that for some health issues you may need to look for a specialist insurance provider.
Read more: Do I need travel insurance with an EHIC?
…be tempted to skip the small print
As with any insurance policy, the terms and conditions are likely to contain an array of loopholes that can easily be stumbled into if you aren’t aware of them. If you do fall foul of the Ts&Cs, your claims may well be refused.
…get to grips with the terms and conditions
Is it a condition of your policy that helmets must be worn when engaging in certain activities? Are your valuables covered even when they aren’t on your person? Do they need to be kept in a hotel room safe when not carried with you? Are you covered for injuries sustained when under the influence of alcohol?
Reading the small print associated with a policy before purchase and again before you travel will flag up all such terms, conditions and exclusions. That way, you can be sure you’re buying the right policy in the first place, and will then know exactly how to keep it valid during your trip. If you’re unsure whether something is covered or has special conditions attached, contact the insurer to ask – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
…set off without understanding how your policy works
In the heat of the moment, the last thing you’ll want is the added stress of trying to find out how to actually make a claim – or to risk taking the wrong course of action. There will undoubtedly be a set procedure that has to be followed, and certain evidence may be required.
…be prepared to make a claim
Read up on your policy claims process before travelling, so you know precisely how to act in the event of an accident, illness, lost suitcase, pick-pocketed wallet or other insurable incident. For example, local authorities will likely need to be informed of any thefts immediately, so that you can provide your insurer with a police report. You may also be required to provide receipts or other proof of value for lost or stolen items. For easy reference, be sure to keep your policy documents to hand at all times while you’re away – just in case.