There’s nothing better than taking a break – whether you’re heading for golden sands, crisp snowy slopes or the cobbled streets of a European city. No matter what your destination of choice is, any successful trip relies on good planning and plenty of preparation.
Between booking transport, planning your itinerary and packing your case, you’ll also need to turn your mind to travel insurance in the run up to your getaway.
Travel insurance is something too many holidaymakers neglect to arrange, despite its huge importance and the fact it can have serious consequences. If you’re unsure of how it works and how to go about getting travel cover, read on to find out more.
What is travel insurance?
When we’re at home, going about our day-to-day lives, most of the things that are important to us are covered by insurance one way or another.
If you drive, your car will be insured, while any property you own will have buildings insurance. It’s also highly likely – and desirable – that you have contents cover in place, to protect all your possessions.
But many of these policies won’t cover you when you go abroad, nor will the NHS be on hand to provide free healthcare if you were injured.
With a travel insurance policy, you can ensure the protection you need is in place when you’re travelling. Every policy is different, but travel insurance will usually cover things like:
- Your possessions. Putting lots of your things into one case that needs to be transported hundreds of miles can be risky business – things can and sometimes do go wrong. Most travel insurance policies would pay out to replace any lost luggage, important documents or cash, up to a certain amount.
- Medical emergencies. It’s not nice to think about, but you never know when you could have an accident or a sudden health crisis. If this were to happen abroad, you could be hit with large bills if you needed treatment, but a travel insurance policy would cover these costs for you, in most cases. However, it is likely that your policy will exclude any pre-existing conditions, which you’ll need to declare beforehand.
- Travel disruption. Unfortunately, things like flight delays and accommodation falling through can happen. Thankfully, most travel insurance arrangements will reimburse any costs stemming from disruption that’s no fault of your own.
- Legal fees. If you were involved in legal action, either pursuing reimbursement for something that wasn’t your fault or having to pay personal liability for something that was, your insurance should help you cover some of the fees.
Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, there may be extras you want or need to add to your policy. These would increase your premium, but may prove very worthwhile.
Here are a few examples of extras that you’re travel insurance provider may offer:
- Extreme sports. While standard travel insurance will cover your medical bills, this will not apply if the injuries have resulted from an extreme sport or activity you’ve chosen to take part in, such as skiing or white water rafting. If you will be engaging in extreme sports on your holiday, you may want to add additional medical cover for this.
- High-ticket items. A standard policy will likely include a maximum price limit for any individual item. If you’re taking valuables that exceed this, their full value wouldn’t be covered, unless you added them to the policy individually.
- Work-related injuries. If you intend to be working while you’re away, your standard travel insurance policy won’t protect you against injuries suffered on the job, but you may find this can be added as an extra.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. When you take out a policy, you’ll have to declare any existing health issues you have. This will mean these are excluded under your standard cover, but some insurers may allow you to pay more to cover an existing condition, depending on what the condition is and the risks involved.
It’s worth bearing in mind that all insurance products differ, so you should always take the time to read the key cover levels and exclusions to make sure the policy you choose meets your individual needs.
How long does travel insurance cover last?
When you take out a travel insurance policy, there are three options on the market to cover you for different periods of time and different circumstances:
- Single trip. A policy that applies for one holiday, between specified dates and at agreed locations.
- Annual multi-trip. A policy that applies for all the holidays you take in a single year, up to 31 days in total, at destinations you declare.
- Backpacker. A more flexible policy that applies for extended periods and at multiple locations, but will usually cost more. It’s worth bearing in mind this option isn’t as widely available as single trip and annual multi-trip cover.
Do I really need travel insurance?
In short, yes. While having travel insurance is not a legal requirement, it is highly recommended that you have a policy in place every time you travel.
While your premium will vary depending on your circumstances, such as your age and where you’re going, single trip cover can cost as little as £5 – £20.
If you compare that with the thousands of pounds you could owe in medical bills if you had a serious injury, or the hundreds of pounds worth of clothes you might lose if your suitcase was stolen or lost, it’s easy to see why travel insurance makes sense.
If you’re travelling to a European destination, it’s also a good idea to consider applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Although it doesn’t replace travel insurance, an EHIC allows you to get state healthcare in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost and sometimes even for free.
Even if everything goes according to plan, travel insurance is there to give holidaymakers peace of mind, allowing them to focus on the fun stuff.
When should I get travel insurance?
The best time to take out travel insurance is as soon as you’ve booked your trip. That’s because many policies would reimburse you if you needed to cancel your trip through circumstances that weren’t your fault, such as a family bereavement, redundancy or an injury to yourself. By taking the cover out sooner, you may be able to get some money back if these things occurred.
If you’re planning to travel, it’s time to get your cover sorted and start focusing on the fun stuff. Get a travel insurance quote from Rias today >