Do you want to pay £1000’s for not buying travel insurance? No. Which is why I will be providing all the information you need to buy the right type of travel insurance for you!
It get’s better:
Travel insurance can cost as little as £9 per annum!
Let’s head over to the nitty gritty:
Before you consider any type of travel insurance, you must take some precautions to ensure you choose the right one! It is easy, I promise!
- You may already be covered: many bank accounts that charge a monthly fee offer a few handy benefits; one of which often travels insurance. If you believe you apply to this, check your bank account’s terms to see if it applies to your trip. It takes two minutes!
- Pre-trip illnesses: if you have booked your holiday in advance and have left buying travel insurance in the ‘back burner’ as your holiday isn’t for another 8 months, you’re doing it wrong! You should buy your travel insurance immediately after booking your holiday as anything can happen regarding your health in the space between now and your holiday. Purchasing the insurance immediately after will allow you to be covered for any issues that may occur before your trip AND cover you for any cancellations.
Different insurance companies vary their terms slightly, so be sure to check them out.
A small add-on to this point is to ensure all medical conditions are declared when you purchase your travel insurance. This is due to travel insurance claims being rejected as people’s medical conditions were not clearly declared when the travel insurance was purchased.
Still with me? Cool!
- Group Plans: if you are travelling in a group or with a family, you should double check the group/family plan equates to less than if you bought your insurance individually. These companies can be cheeky at times!
An example for clarity: a couple both aged 40 may purchase a worldwide annual plan with winter sports cover for both for £82, but purchasing two individual plans with the same coverage may cost £46 each which equates to more. This would be a scenario where they would choose the shared plan.
- Avoid Paying Unnecessary Fees: companies gain everything from scaring you into purchasing higher level plans for more money. An example may be that a company offers a ‘Platinum Plan’ that covers you for £10m in medical expenses. You will want to stay away from these sort of policies as the average cost for a medical travel insurance claim in 2013 was £930!
Be instinctive guys!
Just to quickly mention, you are also likely to pay a lot more if you purchase travel insurance through travel agencies or airlines.
- For all of you alcohol lovers (all of you?!): if you have had even just one alcoholic drink and lose an item or have an accident, your insurance usually won’t cover you! Companies range in their T&C’s. Some may state they won’t cover you if alcohol has affected your decision-making ability and some may be more accurate and state they won’t cover you if you have had four or more points. We all have different alcohol tolerances so one drink may invalidate a claim. Be careful when drinking… if you are on a skiing holiday, ensure you drink after hitting the slope!
- Staycation: it can be unclear whether you need travel insurance when travelling in your home country. You should weigh up the pros and cons. Some plans may state that they will only cover you if you have booked accommodation.
There are more restrictions: some companies may state that they will only cover you if you are more than 25 miles away from home and have crossed a sea to get to your destination. Some may only cover you if your holiday lasts longer than 3 days.
Let’s put this in an easy way… you should always check your terms and conditions for coverage when going on a staycation.
- Check For Your Best Suited Policy: this brings us to our next section: Types of Plans.
Read on to understand what policy best suits you!
Types of Plans
When you have spent weeks, if not months planning and booking your holiday, travel insurance can seem like a long-winded process to try and find the right plan for you; deterring you away from purchasing. This is why we have constructed this article… for your ease!
Let’s get this section kickstarted:
- Annual Multi-Trip Policies: this policy is designed for multiple trips within a 12 month period which often works out cheaper than buying multiple Single-Trip plans.
Here’s the catch: companies differ in their T&C’s in all aspects, but one you will want to focus on is the number of days your insurance will last.
Who is best suited for this plan?
This policy suits anyone who plans to travel more than 3 times a year. If you are in a group, couple or family, you may want to check out the other plans listed below. Similarly, if you plan to travel for more than two months in one trip, check out the Backpacker’s plan.
What does this plan cover?
Typically, this plan will cover medical, cancellation/delay or loss of luggage issues. You will need to check the T&C’s of the provider you choose as each company varies their terms.
- Single-Trip Plan: the Single-Trip Plan is specifically designed for anyone who is considering just one trip (pretty self-explanatory I know). Again, if you are in a group, couple or family, you may want to check out the other plans listed below. Similarly, if you plan to travel for more than two months in one trip, check out the Backpacker’s plan.
What does this plan cover?
Usually, the best companies cover any emergency medical issues, legal expenses, lost or stolen property including passport and money and finally any charges incurred if you have to abandon or cancel your trip.
- Worldwide Plan: this plan is great for people who are travelling outside of their home continent.
What does this plan cover?
Coverage may vary from company to company, but this plan will typically cover all medical emergency costs, cancellations, delays, lost or stolen luggage and more.
I know, this topic is tedious. We are almost there!
- Winter Sports Plan: this will be suitable for any skiing or snowboarding trips. This plan can come as a single-trip or annual form. Some companies will also provide winter sports coverage in their Annual or Single-Trip plans – so you can get it for free!
What does this plan cover?
Typical coverage includes any extra medical expenses incurred when injured during a winter sport.
- Backpacker Plan: the Backpacker Plan is designed for people who are vacating for longer than 2 months in one trip.
Coverage: this plan usually allows you to return home in an emergency 3 times for up to 7 days per visit. Medical expenses up to £2 million are normally covered. You may also be covered when participating in sports, too.
- Family Plan: usually designed for a family of two adults and a child. If a child is under 18 years old, they may be covered for free when using the family plan.
You are usually covered for up to £10m in medical expenses and you may have access to a 24/7 medical emergency line.
Be sure to check T&C’s before purchase to view variances.
- Group Plan: this plan is suited for a group of friends travelling together. You will typically have coverage of up to 10 people with your typical cover of medical expenses, lost or stolen property and delays/cancellations.
- Over 65’s: woohoo, the last one!This plan is quite self-explanatory… aimed at people aged 65+. This plan can be merged with any of the above plans. However, will likely be more expensive as companies typically view a person over the age of 65 to be at higher risk of emergencies. You will likely have slightly more coverage than a typical plan in regards to medical expenses.
When purchasing any travel insurance as a group, remember that the price varies as the company will always take into account the age of the eldest member. So, the price will usually be dictated from that.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
An EHIC is a free card that you can use to be treated in any EU state-run hospital at the same cost as a local. Therefore, if a local pay nothing then you pay… you guessed it! NOTHING! Now, is this a firm substitute to travel insurance? Absolutely Not. Travel insurance covers far much more.
You get the odd scam website that offers the card for a fee. The fee will likely be somewhere around £25… make sure you do not pay or provide your details and please ensure you report the website!
How To Make A Claim
Submit your claim as soon as possible.
- 1. If your insurer doesn’t provide coverage for flight delays or cancellations, visit Flight Delay Claims Team.
If it is a medical claim, get your insurer to accept it first.
- If it is not a medical emergency, get your insurer to accept it over the phone first so it is less likely to be rejected.
If it is a lost or stolen property claim, contact the police first.
- To avoid rejection, you will need a crime reference number or the overseas equivalent.
Keep your receipts.
- If you have a lost or stolen luggage, keep receipts of any food or drink as these expenses can be added onto the claim if proof is provided.
Complain if you feel your claim was rejected unfairly.
- You can complain to the Financial Ombudsman if you feel your claim was dealt with unfairly.