Updated: July 10, 2019
Looking for travel insurance? This comprehensive guide provides all the information you'll need.
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Getting the right travel insurance is an important part of any trip, as it protects you financially should anything unexpected happen while you’re on holiday or travelling abroad. There are many providers offering a variety of levels of cover and service.
If you’re unsure of what type of holiday cover you require, whole-of-market, experienced travel insurance advisors can help ensure you purchase the right holiday insurance cover for all your travel needs.
The following topics are covered below...
What is travel insurance?
Let’s start with the basics: If you’re travelling overseas you should always consider a travel insurance policy. Even if you’ve holidayed or visited a country before without insurance and understand the way everything there works, the unexpected can still happen.
That could include: an accident or illness before or during your travels, if your flights are cancelled or the hotel group you’re holidaying with goes bust. If that, or something else happens, you’ll need to be able to cover any costs relating to the problem. In some countries this can prove much more expensive than you’re used to, but the best travel insurance for your plans can do just that.
The cost of your holiday insurance, or the premium, is dependent on how much of a risk you are considered to be by the insurers.
Details they consider include:
- Your age
- The country or countries and you’re visiting
- How long you’re staying
- Your history as person and traveller
- Your medical history
Travel insurance isn’t just about value for money, it’s also about getting the right level of cover for your needs, plans and likely activities. Taking holiday insurance advice will mean you have the right level of cover for your likely needs while travelling overseas. If you’re insured but with the wrong policy, you could end up facing huge costs you just can’t cover.
It’s also useful to know that while some travel insurance policies may seem to offer value for money, one possible reason for that could be that the provider has a reputation for not paying out when they would reasonably be expected to, or there are exclusions in the policy, making a claim unlikely.
What types of travel insurance are available?
There are various types of travel insurance available to cover the different requirements of your holiday and travel plans. You can buy insurance for a single holiday period of just a few days to a few months.
Or, if you plan on making a few trips over the course of a year, a multi-trip, one-year insurance policy that covers the different regions you will likely visit, could be the right option. For those of you planning a backpacking holiday, some providers have a specific travel insurance option available that includes a variety of countries, activities and even visits home.
There are also other, specialist types of holiday insurance cover for various specific situations.
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Can I buy travel insurance for certain risks, plans or activities?
Yes, this is also an option. You can purchase specific travel insurance that covers activity holidays for extreme sports. Or, if you have a long-term illness, there are also policies that will insure you for any treatment you may require. Families with young children can also buy insurance cover that’s tailored to their potential needs, as can elderly travellers.
Potential exclusions and limits to be aware of when you buy holiday insurance policies include:
- No access to a 24 hour assistance line.
- Accidents relating to your hire car (as these are typically covered by your car insurance)
- Limits to any claims you can make relating to lost, stolen or damaged baggage and personal items.
- For multi-trip insurance there can be limits on how often you travel in a period and for how long.
- Watch out for the excess charge, a higher premium can bring this down.
- Cover in countries considered a risk to visit.
- Cover for accidents occurring while skiing, on a golfing holiday or while on a cruise.
If you buy a holiday insurance policy to cover certain existing illnesses, activities or countries, you should always read the terms and conditions closely to ensure everything you could need, is covered. It’s also useful to be aware of the limitations to any cover, such as treatment costs, time periods and travel back to your home country.
It’s also worth noting that for riskier activities and countries and where a traveller has a pre-existing medical condition, your travel insurance premiums will likely be higher. That’s the case even with the limits and exclusions the policy could include.
How much does travel insurance cost?
The price of travel insurance varies widely, reflecting different providers’ attitudes to risk and what level of cover they provide. You can buy basic holiday insurance cover for a few pence per day. But, if it isn’t suitable for your needs, it’s a false economy as it may not support you if you need to make a claim.
The best travel insurance isn’t always the most expensive but it’s likely you’ll pay above the lowest possible price to get the right holiday insurance over for your needs.
This is why it’s important to speak to a whole-of-market insurance broker before choosing a policy – they can help you select the product that is the best fit for your needs, circumstances and budget.
What affects the cost of holiday insurance policies?
Many different elements affect the cost of your holiday insurance and the different combination of requirements can alter the premium too. That’s why there are some specialist travel insurance providers who offer holiday insurance for certain things that are considered risky across the industry.
However, where the risk of a problem occurring is higher, whether related to those travelling or the region you’re travelling too, the cost tends to be higher than for a basic travel insurance policy with a regular, well-known insurer.
Travel insurance tips
To make sure you get the best travel insurance for your holiday plans and circumstances, here are a few useful tips:
- Buy your travel insurance before you book your trip/s.
- Going away more than once in a year? Multi-trip travel insurance could be better value.
- Check the countries you plan on visiting are covered by your policy.
- Always declare any pre-existing medical conditions, even if it means using a niche holiday insurance company and higher premiums.
- Be aware of any financial limits on medical cover.
- Don’t just go for the cheapest – a price that’s just £5 higher than the cheapest available policy, can offer a lot more suitable travel insurance cover.
- Compare the whole market of holiday insurance providers by using a broker.
- Make sure the relevant policy details are available to you and others covered by your travel insurance when you’re abroad.
- Always be aware of the excess.
- Make sure your holiday insurance covers all the activities you plan on enjoying.
- Check any details relating to Brexit and ensure you’ll still be covered if things change while you’re travelling.
- Double check your bank account doesn’t already provide you with holiday insurance.
- Be certain what level of cover your policy provides for electronic devices, such as phones and tablets.
- Check the level of cover for your suitcase contents is appropriate
Should I speak with a travel insurance advisor?
If you are concerned that you’re travelling to a country that might not be covered by all policies, undertaking dangerous sports, have a pre-existing medical condition or are just uncertain about all the different holiday insurance policies on offer, then yes, you should speak to a travel insurance specialist.
An experienced travel insurance advisor will help you find the right policy at the best price with all the holiday cover you could need. They will also know which providers are reliable, have a straightforward claims process and will settle claims in a timely manner.
In fact, the right travel insurance advisor will be able to answer all your questions and help you compare the whole market, including well-known insurers and specialist providers.
Make an enquiry and we’ll connect you to a travel insurance expert today.
How do I make travel insurance claim?
If something does go wrong with your holiday, either before you travel or while you’re abroad, contact your holiday insurance provider as quickly as you can. They will advise you of the details you need and how to proceed from that point.
With regards to emergency medical treatment, where possible, try and get your insurer to agree to any procedure the local doctors say is required. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but where it is, a phone call to agree the treatment will help ensure you’re covered financially.
Try to remember, or note down specific details that may be relevant to your claim. If the police or hotel are involved, get contact details and any case or reference numbers that you can.
In some cases, you might not make your travel insurance claim until you get home. In these cases, take the time to check your policy for any information on time-limits for making a claim for different issues.
Whenever you make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you must always have a good reason for the claim and a clear, supportable explanation as to why the incident occurred. Insurance providers expect the policy holder to always take reasonable care with regards to their belongings and safety. So, if there’s any evidence to prove that detail, keep it or take note of it to share with your travel insurance provider.
Provided you have the right holiday insurance policy, have acted in a reasonable manner and done your best to get in touch with your travel insurance provider quickly and with all the right details they need, your claim should be processed without any major problems.
Speak to a travel insurance expert
At Online Money Advisor, we work with whole-of-market travel insurance brokers who can help you find the right deal for your needs and circumstances.
Simply make an enquiry and we’ll connect you to them for a free, no-obligation chat.