Along with airport car parking it’s not the most exciting part of your holiday planning, but the subject of travel insurance and what cover to get is going to raise many questions, the most important one being, do you actually need it? As you might suspect, this isn’t an easy question to answer, and perhaps most responses boil down to ‘Yes, but…’. Travel insurance isn’t just a yes or no question, and forking out for an expensive policy without reading the small print might be just as detrimental as not taking out any at all. So here are a few things you need to consider before deciding on a suitable travel insurance policy that doesn’t waste your money…
Make Sure Your Medical Needs Are Covered
One of the main reasons anyone takes out travel insurance is to ensure they are covered in case of a medical emergency, especially if travelling to a country like the US where any form of treatment can be incredibly costly. This is, of course, an incredibly sensible option, but one question often raised is whether medical cover is necessary if you hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This covers you for emergency medical treatment if travelling to another country in the European Economic Area. The advantages of using this is that you won’t have to pay any excess when requiring treatment so is always a useful thing to have, especially if you travel to one of these countries on a regular basis. However, it certainly doesn’t provide the same level of cover that a comprehensive travel insurance policy might – for example, you may have to pay a minimum cost if that is the custom of the country you are visiting, and most importantly, it certainly doesn’t cover the expenses of getting you back home again. So even if you’re sceptical about the costs involved in taking out a travel insurance policy, when it comes to medical treatment, there’s really no debate.
To Cover Lost Luggage or Not to Cover Lost Luggage?
This one of the most common bones of contention when it comes to travel insurance policies – whether it’s worth it for the smaller things. Losing luggage is arguably one of the most common holiday mishaps that can occur and if you have comprehensive cover, it’s possible to claim back the costs. But if you have your doubts (after all, no insurance policy is actually going to retrieve your luggage for you) you might want to ask if the insurance and excess costs equal more than the value of your luggage. If you’re travelling with just the very basics, the answer to this might be no. Then there’s also the chance that they might not pay out at the end of the day because of some minor quibble in the small print. This very much depends on the financial value of what you’re taking on holiday with you, but if you do object to paying for lost luggage cover, it’s possible to choose a policy that omits this altogether, or gives you the option to reduce you costs by opting out but keeping medical and other cover.
Not everyone is exactly the same or going to go on exactly the same type of holiday, and thankfully travel insurance providers cater to many different requirements whether it’s to do with age, medical conditions or if you’re opted for an adventurous holiday. The important point here is to make sure that the travel insurance policy you chose is suitable for your circumstances. Over 65s or those with a medical condition need to find cover that is specially tailored towards their needs AND make sure they inform the provider of their circumstances. If they don’t do these things there’s a huge risk of paying for a policy that won’t provide any cover at all. If you’ve booked a holiday that involves specific activities such as skiing or other ‘risky’ pastimes then it’s important you are covered for them. Many insurance providers now provide policies for this type of holiday, but it’s always worth checking the small print – for example, did you know that many policies don’t cover you if you’ve been consuming alcohol? Always worth keeping in mind if you’re doing something that comes with an increased risk.
Always Read the Small Print
Which brings up onto the most important consideration of all. Whatever your circumstances, you should ALWAYS read the small print of your insurance policy before you set off. See something that means you might not be covered in the event of an emergency? Give your provider a quick call to double check and enquire if there’s a more suitable package they might have available.
I think we can all deduce that taking out travel insurance is a very good idea, even if it’s just for the medical cover. But at the same time, make sure you’re not paying for something you don’t necessarily need, and if in doubt, contact your insurer directly to double check and always make sure you’re not doing anything that might invalidate it altogether.