Importance of travel insurance
The Association of British Insurers recently reported that travel insurance offers medical aid to over 4,300 Britons travelling abroad every week. This highlights the primary aim for travel insurance - to provide peace of mind in difficult circumstances. When you’re away, dealing with another country’s processes may be overwhelming, so knowing that you have something to fall back on could make a huge difference.
With most UK insurance policies, should you require assistance you can usually find it just a phone call away. Do be careful though, for whilst travel insurance is there to mitigate expensive problems, budget policies may not cover all your needs and are usually priced accordingly. Know what you want covered and be sure to read all the terms to check that what is offered actually meets your needs. Otherwise you may end up with a policy that lets you down when you most need it!
The Flexicover Team highlights some things to look out for.
Covering medical risks is the top priority for most people and securing cover for any known medical conditions is crucial. Check your policy carefully as some insurers won’t cover existing conditions at all. Those who do may require you to go through a medical screening process in order to determine the risk and offer appropriate terms, usually at an increased premium. Answer all health questions accurately to avoid claims being declined or even the policy being voided as a whole. Also remember that if your health changes before you travel, you must advise your insurance provider who may wish to reassess the risk.
Ideally, cancellation cover should be secured by purchasing a policy as soon as you have booked your holiday. A valid reason for cancellation could unexpectedly arise at any time and it would be terrible if you were unable to recover costs you’ve already paid out by not having protection in place. Cancellation terms vary by policy, so it’s worthwhile checking that you have the right value of cover and that a broad range of circumstances are insured. For example, you may not be covered in the event of a close relative being in hospital at the time of the booking.
Most travel insurers cover possessions on an indemnity basis (i.e. claims are settled after deductions for wear and tear) unlike most household insurance policies which are often on a ‘new for old’ basis. Check your home insurance policy to see if you have overseas cover for personal possessions and you may be able to save by taking a lower baggage limit on the travel policy. It’s also important to check what counts as ‘valuables’ and those cover limits, particularly if you’re taking electronic items with you.
Sports & Activities
Many people assume that they’ll be automatically covered if they participate in some fun-filled sports or activity when on holiday. However, this is often not the case and many insurers consider ‘standard’ activities, like horse riding or trekking, as high risk and may charge an additional premium to ensure you have the right cover for your specific needs. Most policies detail a specific list of what you can or cannot do – check it out or get in touch with your provider if unsure.
It is crucial that you check the excess levels on your policy, particularly as it will generally apply for each person claiming on a policy and not just as a one-off deduction off the claim. So, a family of 4 all claiming losses where the excess is £200, equates to £800 total excess. This can even result in no payment being made since each claim may not reach the excess threshold. Check that you are comfortable with the excess levels and whether different excesses apply to different policy sections.
Having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can save you money and most insurers now insist you travel in Europe with one. It permits low cost (and sometimes free) healthcare in public/state hospitals in the European Economic Area and Switzerland. However, it isn’t a substitute for travel insurance as it doesn’t include any repatriation back to the UK or ancillary costs that you may incur but it’s still good to have and will often save on an applicable policy excess if you subsequently claim. You can apply for an EHIC here.
Wherever your travels take you next, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away. Safe travels!