Travel Insurance – How to Get the Best Value Cover
Arranging insurance may be low on your list of things to do when planning a holiday, but it can it be costly and distressing if you don’t get around to taking out a policy. Buying an annual travel insurance policy is a cost-effective option if you take several trips a year, and this means you don’t have to worry about forgetting to arrange cover each time. As well as protecting your luggage and valuables, a travel insurance policy can cover the cost of expensive medical bills if you have an accident or are taken ill during your holiday.
The UK Foreign Office website explicitly advises against traveling without insurance. The cost of an air ambulance to return you to the UK from some parts of the world can be as much as £40,000. Treatment for a broken arm or leg in some foreign hospitals can result in bills of a similar size. The chances of needing these services may be small, but consider what you would do and how you would pay if the worst ever should happen. The following tips will help you to get the best travel insurance cover at a price you can afford.
1) Don’t go for the cheapest option.
Insurance price comparison services make it easy to find cheap travel insurance policies, but you must check that you’re buying the right level of cover. For example, some policies only offer low limits for luggage. The cost of the clothes, valuables, cameras and electronic items you pack for a holiday can easily add up to a couple of thousand pounds. Check the excess level and cover exclusions before buying a cheap travel insurance policy.
2) Check the medical cover.
Cover for medical emergencies and repatriation to your home country are the most important parts of travel insurance. Replacing your luggage may be costly and expensive, but being stranded in a foreign land when you’re in need of treatment is the real risk. Hospital treatment in the USA is particularly expensive, so check the level of cover before buying a policy for trips over the Atlantic.
3) Buy cover for delay, departure and abandonment.
Travel delays and missed flights can be expensive and inconvenient. As well as paying surcharges to change flights, you may have additional expenses such as hotel stays to pay for. Adding cover for these incidents makes little difference to a travel insurance policy premium and gives extra peace of mind.
4) Buy an annual policy if you travel frequently.
If you only make one or two trips abroad each year, it may be cheaper to buy a single trip policy each time, but regular travelers get better value from an annual policy. Annual policies are ideal if you have a holiday home or make regular trips to visit relatives living abroad. Having an annual travel policy also means you don’t have to worry about arranging cover for last-minute holidays.
5) Check the trip duration limits before buying.
Most travel insurance products cover trips of up to 31 days, so consider whether this suits your travel habits before buying. Some types of holidays, such as cruises, may go over the 31-day restriction, and you may be left without cover. Specialist policies are available for backpackers and travelers without a specific end date to their trips overseas.
6) Understand how to make a claim.
As with any type of insurance, you’ll need to provide evidence to support a claim on a travel policy. Make notes of what’s happened and keep all related documents. If you’re a victim of crime, you must report it to the local police and obtain a crime number. Airline companies can provide evidence for claims relating to delayed and cancelled flights. Report and submit any claim as soon as you are home, as there are usually restrictions on how long you can make a claim after the incident.
Consider value rather than cost when buying travel insurance. Restricting the cover included can reduce the premium, but it’s often a false economy. Arranging a comprehensive policy means you can enjoy your holiday with the peace of mind that you’re covered for unforeseen eventualities.