Travel insurance is probably the most important part of your holiday preparation, but often the most overlooked; with so many providers offering you ‘the best’ cover it can be really easy to just go with the cheapest, I’ve definitely done it. But there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that you need to be aware of, god forbid something actually went wrong and your insurance company didn’t pay out! Usually I’m the biggest advocate for cheap and cheerful holiday booking but this is the one section that sticking to a budget could make or break that cheer. Reading and honesty, it really is that simple when it comes to searching for the best cover, below I have outlined everything you need to look out for to ensure a protected trip away. Note: I’m no insurance broker but I have booked travel insurance for all types of holidays, from lots of different providers and at varying prices.
Tip 1: Never, ever, ever leave the country without insurance, saving the few pounds it costs for insurance really isn't worth the risk.
Tip 2: Take into consideration how many trips you think you will be taking abroad this year, if the answer is more than two then you should look into annual cover. This is because nine times out of ten it will work out cheaper than if you were to keep paying for single-trip insurance every time you book a holiday.
Tip 3: Many people would think that you can put off paying for the cover until just before you go away because why would you need it before then? This is a big mistake in attitude because if for any reason you need to cancel your holiday before you go, you are not protected. As soon as you click that book button, GET INSURANCE!
Tip 4: Declare everything, often you will be asked if you
have any pre-existing medical conditions to which you may
think well there is no point writing everything because how will
the surgery I had two years ago effect my city break to Rome?
Logically you are correct but when it comes to insurance you
may have just given the insurance company an excuse to void
your claim! I'm guilty of it, I had surgery on my spine in 2016
and didn't ever used to declare it because it doesn't now
effect my day-to-day life. However when I was booking my
New York City travel insurance I decided to go with a different
provider and was specifically asked if I had endured surgery at
any point over the last 5 years. Of course I then answered 'yes'
and my application was declined! I had no idea that really if I
had needed to claim on any of my past holidays where I hadn't
thought to write about my surgery, my claim may have been void.
Tip 5: Think about what you are going to be doing on your holiday, if you are going to be hiring quad bikes or going jet-skiing then you need to ensure your insurance covers these activities otherwise if you have an accident you may not be covered.
Tip 6: Knowing where to look, personally I find compare websites the easiest to navigate around rather than having to put all my details in over and over again on multiple websites therefore I would usually book my travel insurance through CompareTheMarket, GoCompare, Confused.com or MoneySuperMarket.
Tip 7: If you have booked worldwide travel insurance this does not necessarily mean you are covered in every single country, you will not be covered in destinations where the UK government have warned/advised not to go.
Tip 8: Do not assume that your travel insurance policy will cover all of your gadgets, check your home insurance first and then you may need to separately buy gadget cover.
Tip 9: The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is an easy way to cover yourself whilst in Europe, and is free! Obviously there is uncertainty surrounding the card after Brexit however it will be valid at least until the end of 2020, with that in mind here are a few tips for the meantime: ensure the card has not expired; in the event of a medical emergency make sure you are not going to a private hospital as the card may not be valid for this type of care; treatment is not always free, you pay what the locals pay so if it is free to them it is free for you! Also, remember the EHIC only cover health care, you still need insurance for cancellations, stolen items etc. Note: The website you should use to apply for an EHIC is here.
Tip 10: As an example of how I buy travel insurance, here is a real step-by-step where I buy cover for my skiing holiday:
On this occasion I used Confused.com (link above), I put in all of my personal details making sure I declared my back injury! Then I was asked for the destination of my trip (this part is vital if you are going to be in more than one country), I remembered I am flying into Geneva, Switzerland but then getting the bus to Morzine, France so I wrote both destinations down to ensure my cover was right. Once I double-checked my details were correct I was sent to a page of endless quotes, I was of course so tempted to just go with the £7.48 cover but if you look carefully above you will see that for £1.95 more the excess rockets down! Note: The 'excess' is the amount you will pay towards a claim and is deductible from the amount you will receive from the claim.
I chose to look into this provider's offer above due to the lower excess than the first two, the larger cover, the sensible price and the '5 Star Rating' from Defaqto. Once I had read through the product features (specifically the medical, cancellation and winter sports) and was happy with it I then continued to read the important information. The reason that reading into your cover is so important is because nothing is assumed with insurance companies, below are a few examples of easy mistakes you could make which would invalidate your claim.
After I had noted the conditions of the insurance and was confident that everything I had read
fits the type of holiday I am going on, I selected 'buy online'. This then directed me to the
providers website where you are able to read up about the provider further if you wish too; I was
confident this cover was a reasonable price for the features and finally checked over all of the
details. (See the image on the right)
Then I brought the insurance and was taken to the confirmation screen (see below), here I found
my Policy Number and documentation. Once you have purchased any type of insurance you are
usually given the choice to download your documents, I tend to keep a separate folder on my
emails containing all the details for each of my trips so they are easily accessible, this is especially
helpful if you can have access to them on your phone in the event of an emergency.
Finally, enjoy your holiday knowing you are properly protected!