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How to compare holiday insurance quotes

Comparing holiday insurance quotes can often be challenging. Make sure you choose the best holiday insurance cover for your trip and one that specifically suits your needs rather than just looking at price.

Many people now use price comparison websites to look for their holiday insurance. In the same way that this practice has helped in the home and motor insurance markets, so it can be extremely helpful in travel – it allows you to get lots of quotes (from different providers or at different levels) in one go. These comparison sites are not the only way to obtain quotes, though; most providers now have direct online quoting facilities or you can contact a specialist insurance broker who can guide you through the process.

However you get your quotes, one of the most important things to do is to compare the insurance quotes on a like-for-like basis. Policies can differ quite fundamentally in both the levels of cover they offer and the terms that they offer these at. It is very easy to just look at the price and think that any of the quotes will give the same standard of cover, when this may not be the case. So, in the first instance, do ensure that comparable benefit levels are being offered.

Here are some of the common things to look out for when comparing holiday insurance quotes.

Excess Levels

It is definitely worth checking the excess level on the quotes you receive. Holiday insurance providers can offer different levels of cover on the same site and cheaper prices often come with the drawback of higher excesses. Make sure you pick one that you are comfortable with and that suits your needs. Check each section of the policy too as different excesses can apply.

Baggage cover

Most insurance companies have different payouts on their baggage sections. Make sure that not only the amount of cover is suitable but that you are happy with the way any compensation is offered (e.g. new-for-old or deductions for wear and tear) and whether there are any limits on valuables.

If baggage is lost, stolen or damaged, you will be expected to report it to the transport provider, accommodation provider, tour rep or the police (as appropriate) and get written confirmation of this. You’ll also need to provide proof of ownership for many items lost, stolen or damaged if you need to claim.

Medical

If you have pre-existing medical conditions that need covering, ensure you check the health warranty of the policy you are buying and you may need to declare them before travelling. Policies usually require some form of health declaration and the terms of these vary significantly – some may require you to declare any history of cancer, for example, or just medical conditions in the last couple of years. Also, check to see if there are any automatically covered medical conditions (usually quite minor or short-term issues) as such a list can help keep the overall cost of your policy down.

Usually the price given on comparison websites won’t include cover for your specific medical conditions and you need to go through a screening process. This is where you’ll be asked some questions about your medical condition to obtain a final premium. If your health changes between the time of taking out insurance and the date you travel then you must tell you insurance provider, as this may affect your cover. Also, don’t forget to carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are travelling in Europe as it can help cover some costs and may lead to your excess being waived in the event of a claim.

Holiday Cancellation

Cancellation of a holiday is something we all dread but it does happen. Ensure the cover you take is at least equal to the cost of the trip you have booked. Providers will offer different levels of cancellation cover and do check what are considered as appropriate reasons for cancelling your trip. For example, some policies may not offer cover for cancellation in the event you are made redundant or if there is a natural disaster in your intended destination.

Sports & Activities

If you are intending to do any winter sports or take part in a specific sporting activity, make sure the insurance provider offers cover for this and find out if there is an additional cost to do so. Many policies will offer cover for a set list of common recreational activities but do check to be on the safe side and particularly if it’s the main reason for you travelling (e.g. on a sports tour or a ski trip).

Summary

There are lots of things to consider when comparing holiday insurance quotes. It is really important to read the policy terms and ensure the policy suits your needs. All policies have general exclusions, so for peace of mind read through these and you won’t be caught out by any significant terms if you have to make a claim.

All travel policies have a statutory period of 14 days for you to examine the policy literature to make sure you’re content with what you have bought. You have a right of cancellation during this period with a full refund (less an administration fee) if you change your mind. After 14 days, typically no refund is given.

Further details can be found at www.flexicover.co.uk.

Flexicover, a division of Citybond Holdings Ltd., 109 Elmers End Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 4SY, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to transact general insurance business. Citybond’s Firm Registration Number is 312208. You can check this information by visiting the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk.

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