Why You Should Always Buy Travel Insurance For Your Holidays

Friday, 12 August 2016

Many of us, from single persons and young families to the over-50s and the retired, eagerly look forward to jetting off on holiday to sunnier climes with more predictable weather than the UK. In all the excitement it can be easy to forget essential items, from sunglasses and sun tan lotion to more crucial things like passports and plane tickets. Then there’s the matter of travel insurance, which some people dismiss when they really shouldn’t. Why so?

Small step, large benefits

Although travel insurance premiums vary between providers and customers depending on their circumstances and requirements, taking it out is a relatively inexpensive way of significantly boosting your peace of mind as you step onto the plane, boat or train. Citizens Advice says that “travel insurance is essential, particularly if you are travelling independently”1. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) also previously reported on Travel Insurancebehalf of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) that “Britons spend more than double the cost of an average single trip travel insurance policy on magazines and sweets at the airport”2.

What does travel insurance typically cover?

Cancellations- Sometimes your holiday may be cancelled or cut short due to circumstances that are not your fault, such as from a sudden bereavement, a physical injury or illness, being called on for jury service, a natural disaster or some other significant event making it advisable to return to or stay at home. Travel insurance can cover the cost of unavoidable travel alterations however exclusions naturally apply, such as simply changing your mind or if your financial situation has suddenly changed. Any tours, excursions and other services and activities you’ve pre-booked prior to travelling are often covered too, up to certain limits, as is return travel back to the UK.

Lost, damaged and stolen items- Travel insurance usually covers baggage, passports, money and personal items that are lost, damaged or stolen, after you’ve reached your holiday destination and before you travel back home. Monetary limits will be specified in the T&Cs for specific items and personal equipment including spectacles are often covered if you upgrade to personal belongings cover.

Losing your belongings temporarily- You can be covered for any costs incurred if your baggage is lost en route for more than 12 hours on your outward journey. Travel insurance should allow you to purchase the basic essentials again promptly if anything happens to your stuff.

Missing your departure- Travel insurance will cover missing your flight if it is due to events such as your car breaking down or being involved in an accident on the way to the airport, the accidental loss of any required travel documents, or situations outside your control such as bad weather or civil disturbance.

Delayed or cancelled transport when travelling outside the UK and Channel Islands- If this happens for reasons outside the control of you or the travel operator, your delay will be made more comfortable thanks to time-related compensation.

Serious personal accidents, medical expenses and hospital benefit- Travel insurance will give you peace of mind that potentially very expensive medical bills incurred on holiday will be covered in many circumstances, with compensation even extending to a relative or friend who may care for you during such difficult times. According to research by the Money Advice Service, a third of travel insurance claims are for medical treatment2.

Loss or theft of documents or money- Losing these important items can be devastating while on holiday. Luckily, insurance covers the loss of bank notes, coins, debit cards, traveller’s cheques, passports, admission tickets, travel tickets and certain other documents, with the cover commencing 72 hours before you leave home. Expenses incurred in having to travel to obtain a replacement passport are also normally covered to further ease the situation.

Typical travel insurance policies also cover other eventualities such as:

  • If you accidentally injure someone or damage something.

  • Muggings, hijackings, kidnappings and catastrophe.

  • Certain legal expenses.

  • The failure of end suppliers such as airlines or accommodation providers to fulfil their obligations.

  • Pet fees such as kennel or cattery costs incurred due to qualifying delays.

Sports-lovers can also be covered

The under-65s can typically upgrade to optional Winter Sports cover, protecting hired or owned equipment, skiing lessons, lift passes, expenses incurred through injury, and piste closure due to avalanche. Many insurers also provide optional cover for dangerous adventure sports.

Golfers can also relax knowing that the equipment you own or hire will be covered, along with the reimbursement of pre-booked green fees if you are too ill to attend or the weather prevents participation. These will be subject to the specified conditions being met.

It makes a lot of sense

Going on holiday can be incredibly exciting but also stressful at times. Rushing to the airport or ferry terminal, navigating often extremely busy public areas, making sure your bags are checked in on time, and dealing with confusing car hire companies and accommodation arrangements all leave room for plenty of error. Nobody wants to lose their shorts or flip-flops let alone an expensive watch, miss their flight, incur extra expenses or suffer injury on holiday, so taking out travel insurance really does help to make the whole experience that little bit more relaxing.

What next?

Speak to RIAS to discover the right travel insurance policy for you, whether it’s a single trip or multi-trip annual policy. The over-65s and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition are advised to seek guidance as extra cover may be required.





2 https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/do-you-need-travel-insurance

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