Travel Insurance Information
Booking it or Booked your holiday? Are you going it alone or use a travel agent?
Travel Insurance is a small cost compared to the cost of a holiday but an item many people choose to forego but the recent volcano eruptions in Iceland and the closure of UK airports due to snow in winter 2010 means it is important peace of mind should the worst happen and for those travelling to Europe a European Health Card should be taken but this is not a replacement for travel insurance.
One of the advantages of booking your holiday through a travel agent is that you have additional protection if things go wrong and on package holidays things like transfers should be included. The government has recently announced changes to the ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) protection scheme.If you buy a package holiday or a certain flight-only deal, travel providers are legally obliged to have an ATOL licence. This means that if there are some of the problems meantioned at the top of the page, you would be covered. But there is a loophole some agents are using to bypass this system. So always check the small print.
With a wealth of information available on the internet money can often be saved on both holidays and travel insurance online.But make sure you have adequate travel insurance in case things go wrong and if you are booking flights and hotels from different companies look for cover including scheduled airline failure.
Travel Insurance through your travel agent or buy it online?
If you know you are not going to have time to do the research, then taking out travel insurance with your travel agent at the time of booking is better than nothing. However, with just a little patience, you can find out a great deal and save a lot of money by reading some of the information online and then choosing a policy to suit your requirements. travelinsuranceshop.org.uk has comprehensive guides to travel insurance from leading insurers.
Annual or one-off insurance?
Unless you go on holiday infrequently, an annual policy is usually the best one to buy. It’s just another thing you don’t have to remember; an easy renewal once a year. However those over 65s might find many insurers don’t offer cover to those over 65 but overfiftiesinsurance.com have details on companies that do offer annual policies to those over 65.
Because of the extra risk, sports cover usually has to be taken out separately. This includes winter sports and some other physical activities. But do check what activities are covered on your policy: you might be surprised.
If you are fit and healthy, you might think you don’t need it. But medical expenses in many countries, especially the USA are very high. It’s surprising that so many people are prepared to risk not being insured and possibly almost bankrupting themselves in the process, for the sake of a little while spent checking their policy.
Some people also think that if they are going to an EU country, they are fully covered. Certainly, the UK has a reciprocal health cover arrangement with most EU countries through the European Health insurance Certificate (EHIC). You can get this free by applying online, but again you need to check exactly what is covered, which depends on which country you are visiting. Medical services might not be free but subsidised, and repatriation home would not be covered and the costs of being flown home privately in an emergency can cost over £20,000..
As with all insurance products you need full and frank disclosure, so any existing medical conditions must be divulged. By not divulging them you might save money but will find your claim is not covered. If you have an existing condition, there are now several companies that specialise in medical cover.
In the context of having a serious illness or accident on holiday, losing one’s baggage might not be considered very important, but for some it would be their worst nightmare. There you are, the last person at the luggage carousel, with no more bags making the circular journey. Don’t insure yourself twice; many household home contents insurance policies cover the loss of your luggage on holiday. The chances of you losing your baggage are slim according to US Southwest Airlines’ records, fewer than half of one per cent of bags was lost in 2008. But having experienced my luggage on three occasions not being on the carousel it is not a pleasant experience! (they did arrive eventually). Also try to make sure your suitcases are easily identifiable as many suitcases are the same and it is possible for someone else to mistake yours for theirs! Yes it happened to us and is very noticeable when everyone else has left baggage collection and one suitcase is going around that is the same as yours but with another passengers name on it!
Cheaper travel policies usually have an excess and the greater the excess, the cheaper the policy. So you may only be compensated if your claim is over a certain amount. So it is similar to a car insurance policy. Other policies will not charge an excess for European countries if you use your European Health Card first.
Typical Recommendations for the cover you should be looking for is
£2m for medical expenses
£1m personal liability
£3000 cancellation – or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday
£250 for cash
Policy excesses under £100
Cover for scheduled airline failure and end supplier failure as desirable
Delay cover (e.g. £20/hour for first 12 hours).
If you are looking for travel insurance below are 2 companies you might want to consider