Travel Insurance – A Simple Guide

Should I Buy Travel Insurance

Why Take It Out

What Does It Cover

What Should It Cover

Medical Cover

Cancellation and Curtailment

Lost Luggage, Valuables and Money

Mutual Health Care Agreements

Personal Liability

Other Tips To Consider

When Should I Buy Insurance For Travel

Different Types of Insurance

Always make sure you have full travel insurance before travel!

It’s frightening to hear how many people travel with no insurance, especially when there are so many good travel insurance policies available, at low cost prices.

Today, you can pick up some great priced travel insurance so there really is no excuse for travelling without it! When you think how much people spend on their holiday, yet won’t pay a few extra pounds to cover themselves and their family for the unexpected, seems crazy! Think about it, if it is the extra cost you are worried about, instead of buying that extra ‘T’ Shirt or pair of shoes, use that money to buy some travel Insurance!

If you are thinking of risking travelling without insurance, ask yourself these simple questions:

  • What if you or a family member has an accident or falls ill and needs medical attention whilst abroad?
  • What if you need to be airlifted from one destination to another whilst abroad?
  • What if you need to be flown back to your home country by air ambulance?
  • What if your valuables are stolen?
  • What if your luggage is lost or damaged?
  • What if your flight is delayed or cancelled?
  • What if a family member needs to fly out to join you?
  • What if you are made redundant and need to cancel your holiday?
  • What if you fall ill before you travel and need to cancel your holiday?

If you believe that not buying travel insurance will save you a few pounds, then you should think again. Should any of the above questions become reality and you do not have travel insurance in place, you will be faced with a very hefty bill, which could be tens of thousands of pounds!

Should I Buy Travel Insurance

YES, Yes, Yes! Only a fool would travel without it and for how much it will actually cost you, there is no excuse. If you get caught out without it, you will wish you had paid this small amount of money before you travelled! 

Why Take Out Travel Insurance

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and sadly so many people regret not taking out travel insurance.

If you need medical attention or hospital treatment whilst you are abroad and you do not have travel insurance, you will be responsible for paying the bill. Yes, you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket and you will not receive any help from your Government, Embassy or High Commission!

If you are thinking “well that’s fine, it won’t cost much”, think again! Medical care abroad can be very expensive and even the basic treatment can cost a small fortune.

Considering that to fly you back to the UK from America if you had an accident could cost up to £35,000 or to fly you back from Europe, could cost up to £20,000, paying a few pounds for travel insurance before you go seems a drop in the ocean, don’t you think?

Hospital costs abroad can quite easily reach staggering amounts of money quickly and if you need to stay in hospital, your bill could reach well in excess of a couple of hundred thousand pounds. Yes, you read that right, £100,000 – £200,000, so it is advisable to ensure you are covered with travel insurance before travel.

Many people do not take out separate travel insurance because they believe they are fully covered through other policies such as their Credit Cards, Personal Insurance and private health policies and then learn the hard way, when they are told they are not covered. Check before you travel, as to what cover these cards or policies offer you!

Please Note: Many people think that they are covered because they have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). This card is something that every individual travelling to Europe should have but it is not a ‘Travel Insurance’ policy.

If you are travelling within the European Economic area, you can apply for the ‘European Health Insurance Card’ ( EHIC ).  Having this card will entitle you to some reduced medical costs and even some FREE medical care. Every individual should have their own card and carry it with them whilst travelling. This card is not an insurance policy and you will require a separate travel insurance policy, as well as the ‘European Health Insurance Card’.

To read more about and apply for the EHIC card online please click on the following link: European Health Insurance Card

You can also apply by phone them on : 0845 606 2030 or at the Post Office.

Please Note: This card is NOT insurance cover.  You will still need full travel insurance. 

What Does Travel Insurance Cover

Travel Insurance policies vary and whenever you are looking to purchase your own travel insurance, it is recommended to do a little research into what each policy will cover you for. There are several essential areas in any one policy, that you really do need to ensure you are covered for and these are as follow:

Medical Cover

Cancellation and Curtailment

Lost Luggage, Valuable and Money

Mutual Health Agreements

Personal Liability

24 Hour Emergency Service And Support

Always make sure that your travel insurance policy provides you with adequate cover for these areas and provides you with adequate cover for the destination or destinations, to which you will be travelling.

Also, it is advisable to check each policy to see whether it covers you for certain activities, that you may wish to partake in during your trip. These could be activities such as Skiing, Snowboarding, Scuba Diving, Horse Riding, Windsurfing, Surfing, Kitesurfing, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Waterskiing or Paragliding. If you intend doing certain sports, it may be that you will need to take out additional cover on your policy, to cover you for these activities. Many Insurance companies now offer ‘Winter Sports’ cover for Skiers and Snowboarders.

What Should Travel Insurance Cover

A good Travel Insurance policy should cover many things and your travel insurance policy should always include the following:

Medical Cover: You should always ensure that your policy covers you for at least £1-2 million worth of medical cover in Europe and at least between £2-£5 million medical cover worldwide.

Cancellation and Curtailment: This will cover you if you need to cancel your trip or cut it short in the event of illness or bereavement. This part of your policy should cover the cost of your travel home and any other trips you have booked in advance on your holiday, such as excursions. You should look for at least £3000 cover Cancellation and Curtailment. 

Lost Luggage, Valuables and Money: This part of the policy provides cover should your luggage become lost in transit or stolen. It is always recommended to check whether your luggage will be insured whilst in possession of the airline. The recommended cover for this should be a minimum of  around £1500. Most travel insurance policies provide insurance for money which is lost or stolen but there is generally a limit on the amount they will pay out for. This limit is usually between £200 and £500.

Mutual Health Care Agreements: Although the UK does have agreements in place with other countries regarding health care, there are still some costs that these agreements do not cover such as: A relatives’ airfare and accommodation if required to fly out to the country you are receiving care from, your travel back to the UK. A good travel insurance policy should cover these costs.

Personal Liability: Personal Liability will cover you for any costs that may occur should you be in an accident where another third party is injured or should you be responsible for damage to other people’s belongings whilst you are travelling. The recommended cover for Personal Liability is around £1 million.

Other Tips To Consider: If you have a valuable item in your luggage, make sure you have the right cover.  Let the insurance company know you will be carrying that particular item, take a photo of it before you travel. Then, should it be lost, stolen or damaged you have proof.

Check your personal injury cover for terrorist activities, any legal costs you may incur and check the ‘exemptions’ in your policy i.e. alcohol related accidents.

Warning: Make sure that you inform your insurance company of any illness you think may affect your policy or any medication you are currently taking.  Notify them of any previous illness or medical problems or of any future operations you are waiting for. Failure to list these could result in your policy being void.

Remember:  Insurance companies are in business to make money and will use any excuse not to pay out for a claim. Don’t give them ammunition to make your claim void!

A summary of a good travel insurance policy will normally include:

  • Coverage for the full duration of your holiday from the time you leave your house to the time your arrive back.
  • Dangerous activities ( if you intend doing any )
  • Medical cover of £1-2 million for Europe and £2-5 million for the rest of the world.
  • Personal liability – This is if you injure a third party or their property
  • Cancellation or curtailment – should you need to cancel or cut short your holiday for reasons beyond your control.
  • Your personal belongings 

When Should I Buy Travel Insurance

Depending on which type of policy you wish to purchase, will determine the best time to buy your travel insurance. There are several types of travel Insurance policies available but the most common two are the Annual ‘Multi Trip’ policy and the ‘Single Trip’ policy.

The ‘Multi Trip’ policy, covers you for several trips throughout the year and last for 12 months. This type of cover starts from the specific date you enter, when purchasing your policy.

The ‘Single Trip’ policy, actually covers you from the day that you purchase your travel insurance and then covers you for your travel, for the duration of the dates that you specified when purchasing your insurance policy. Purchasing this type of cover, on the day you actually book your holiday, provides you with ‘Pre-Departure’ cover and it is a feature that many people do not realise or understand.

Let Me Explain

Most people think that ‘Single Trip’ travel insurance policies start from the first day of their travel and then run through until the last day of travel. They also think that the only period they need to be covered for is from the day of departure, until the day of return.

As a result, many people leave purchasing their travel insurance until the day before they travel. This is probably because they think that there is no point taking out the policy any earlier. However, most travel insurance policies actually cover the person from the actual day they take out their cover and then covers them for any ‘Pre-Departure’ mishaps that may occur such as delays, strikes, cancellation due to ill health. So, it is advisable to book your travel insurance the same day as you book your holiday and here is the reason why.

  1. It will cost you exactly the same amount of money, so you may as well book early.
  2. It will ensure you do not forget to book your travel insurance.
  3. It will provide you with Pre-Departure cover.

If you book your travel insurance on the same day as you book your holiday, you will be covered if you need to cancel your holiday (as long as it is acceptable with the Insurance companies ‘Terms and Conditions’) during the period of booking to the day of departure.

For Example: If you booked your holiday in January and wasn’t departing until August that same year, there would be nearly an 8 months time period, from the date of booking your holiday until the day of departure. If you purchased your travel insurance on the same day as you booked your holiday, you would be covered throughout this 8 month period, for any unseen eventually. If you waited until nearer the time of your departure to purchase your travel insurance, you would not have been covered should any issues arise before taking out your travel insurance.

This is a very important point to take into consideration, especially if you have paid a large amount of money for your holiday.

If you have booked cheap flights for just a few pounds and the total cost of your trip is not very much, this might not seem as important or very beneficial to you. However, if this is the case, please ensure you still purchase travel insurance before travel, no matter how late you buy it.

Please Note: Annual ‘Multi Trip’ Insurance policies are a little different as they are valid for a duration of 12 months and start on the specific date you request your policy to start. This means that people who purchase ‘Multi Trip’ travel insurance policies understandably do not want to waste large periods of time on their policy if they are not travelling.

Using the example above, if you had booked a holiday in January and wasn’t set to travel until August, you may feel that if you purchased an Annual (12 month) travel insurance policy to start in January, you would be wasting 8 months of that policy. That is unless you were travelling in between January and August on other trips! It may be that you already have an Annual ‘Multi Trip’ policy that is already in place that will stagger these dates and will cover you for Pre-Departure cover anyway.

The Bottom Line Is:

If you are planning on purchasing Annual ‘Multi Trip’ Insurance, as was mentioned earlier, you will only be covered from the specific dates that you enter for the policy to start when purchasing your travel insurance and not before. Whereas with the ‘Single Trip’ policy, you will be covered from the day you purchased your travel insurance cover.

As you can see from the above guide, it is recommended that you purchase your travel insurance on the same day as you book your holiday. This choice is obviously down to you but whichever policy you choose, whether it is a ‘Single Trip’ or ‘Multi Trip’ policy, always safeguard yourself and make sure you qualify for Pre-Departure cover.

Different Types of Travel Insurance

Annual Insurance

Backpackers Insurance

Cruise Insurance

European Insurance

Family Insurance

Flight Insurance

Gap Year Insurance

Group Insurance

Long Stay Insurance

One Way Insurance

Over 65’s

Over 70’s Insurance

Single Trip Insurance

Student Insurance

UK Travel Insurance

Winter Sports Cover

Worldwide Insurance

I hope that this article has helped answer the question ’When Should I Buy Travel Insurance’.