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How to find the most suitable plan for travel insurance

Whilst buying travel insurance for many is often a simple process, either online or by phone, with so many providers offering what seem to be similar products, how can you differentiate between them? Buying a policy on price alone may not be the best option.

Here are some key points to consider when choosing the most suitable policy for you and your needs.

Policy terms

Although reading your travel insurance policy’s terms and conditions from cover to cover might not make the most interesting read it sure is worth it. In order to ensure you buy the right policy, do take note of the policy exclusions and do ask your insurance provider if you’re unsure of anything or want clarification.

Medical conditions

Ensure that everyone travelling on the policy is adequately covered for medical expenses. Declare all pre-existing medical conditions at an early stage of the buying process, even if they are minor and maybe controlled by medication as there may be an additional premium to pay to cover these. If conditions aren’t declared, insurers are likely to exclude them automatically under the policy, which could lead to claims being declined as invalid.

Holiday cancellation

Cancellation of a holiday is something we all dread but is not unusual. Ensure that your cover is at a minimum equal the cost of the trip you have booked.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice

Checking the FCO website before travelling is always advisable. They have up to date and key travel information on all destinations. Travelling to a country against FCO advice could lead to your travel insurance policy being rendered invalid.

Annual policy

If you are likely to travel more than once a year, an Annual Multi-trip policy may work out better for you and your family, benefitting you by saving time and money. Do check the maximum number of days allowed per trip though (which may vary by age). Also check to ensure independent travel is allowed too, particularly if the policy is to cover children on school trips and similar or for villa owners whose family members often travel separately for varying durations.

Sporting Activities

Not all travel insurance policies cover sporting activities as standard, so do ensure you check first. If you are likely to take part in activities such as cycling, scuba diving or skiing, it’s certainly worth checking and taking the extra cover if needed. And if the activity you’re doing is not mentioned in the policy wording, inquire with the provider or your broker as they may be able to get you some supplementary terms.

Excess charges

The amount you pay if you need to make a claim on your travel insurance is the policy excess. The policy excess will vary from policy to policy and possibly from section to section. Higher-end policies often have a nil excess; however, some excesses, particularly on more budget conscious policies, can be as high as £500. Make sure you are fully aware of your excess levels before buying your policy.

EHIC

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not a substitute for travel insurance and thinking it will be is a common mistake. The EHIC offers you low cost (often free) healthcare in the European Economic Area and Switzerland but it is not advisable to use this as a substitute travel insurance policy as it may not cover all medical costs and will not pay for repatriation. It is also limited to treatment under the state, not private, healthcare system. Do ensure you have an EHIC as well as a travel insurance policy that covers your needs. Insurers often waive an excess if EHIC is used for medical treatment.

Summary

Taking out travel insurance when travelling is essential but buying the right policy for your specific needs is just as important. Checking the terms and conditions before you buy can save a lot of hassle in the event that something does go wrong.

Online applications are accepted for the European Health Insurance Card at:
www.ehic.org.uk
For FCO Travel advice:
www.flexicover.co.uk/Page/FCO.
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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