Travel insurance advice

Travel insurance is one thing you should not go without. 99 times out of 100 you will probably have nothing bad happen on your holiday, but when your flight is cancelled, or your apartment is burgled, or you suffer a health problem, insurance can prevent heartbreak.

There are several eventualities that you need to consider covering:

  • emergency medical treatment, hospitalisation and repatriation (being returned to the UK)
  • 24 hour emergency assistance – some insurance companies will help around the clock helpline to arrange for help if you have a serious problem
  • personal liability – if someone is injured or his or her property is damaged by you or something belonging to you, he or she could make a claim against you
  • you abandoning or cancelling the trip, as you may be liable to pay full or part of the cost if you cancel
  • the replacement cost of your personal possessions, including money and documents. Your policy will specify limits

Bundled packages

Most flight bookings and holiday companies offer a default travel insurance. How often have you paid for this without checking whether it offers good value, or whether it actually covers every eventuality?

Anyone selling travel insurance should be able to tell you what the policy includes. Next time you book a holiday at a travel agent and they offer you their bundled package, ask the agent to explain it to you. You may find they say things like, “You’ll have to read the policy. It’s all in this booklet.”

If they want you to pay for it but they can’t advise you on what it contains, don’t buy it. Simple as that. You can buy travel insurance whenever you like before you travel. The sooner the better though, because you also want to be covered for unforeseen cancellations.

Your policy should cover you for the following:

  • The whole time that you are away.
  • Any activities and sports you might do. Some activities, such as jet skiing, are excluded from many policies. If requested, many insurers will extend cover, otherwise shop around for a specialist policy.
  • Medical and Health, including 24 hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal Liability.
  • Cancellation and Curtailment.
  • Possessions.

Your policy may also cover:

  • Personal Accident.
  • You may also want to check if your policy covers you for legal expenses to help you pursue compensation or damages following personal injury whilst abroad. This could be of particular use if there is no legal aid system in place in the country to which you are travelling.
  • Some travel insurance policies cover you if your airline goes bust before you travel or whilst you are abroad. If you have no other form of financial protection, you may want to ensure you buy a policy that includes this cover.

For more information and advice before you go shopping for travel insurance, visit the excellent Direct Gov website.

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