How to choose the right travel insurance

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There’s a vast array of travel insurance out there, from policies which cover you all year round, wherever you go, and include dangerous sports, to those which are only for short trips and offer limited cover.Beach with smiling sun

Overlook travel cover at your peril

Cover is vital for just about any foreign trip and shouldn’t be overlooked. If you don’t want to be stranded abroad, feeling horribly ill and desperate to get home and facing huge medical bills or airfare costs, you need to make sure you’re covered.

Here are the most important, and not so important, policy elements to consider when buying cover. Bear in mind these largely depend on the type of holiday you’re intending to have and where you’re travelling to.

Important to have:

Medical emergencies and treatment – Any policy you buy should include cover for any emergency medical treatment for up to £1million or more (£2million for the United States). Be honest about any pre-existing conditions you have when taking out the cover; if you’re not it could invalidate the whole policy.

Sporting holidays – If you’re taking part in sporting, or what might be considered ‘dangerous’, activities while away, such as skiing, surfing or climbing, check the cover includes the type of activity you’ll be taking part in.

Baggage cover – If your baggage is lost, stolen or destroyed in transit, it’s covered. A minimum level of cover of around £1,500 is common.

Personal possessions – Theft and accidental loss of possessions and cash is a must have for most people. Be careful with your things though, if you’re found to be negligent, your claim will be refused. Again, a minimum of £1,500 is usual for most policies.

Missed departures – The better policies include cover for any additional accommodation and travel expenses incurred (assuming the delay or missed departure is for reasons outside of your control). Cover of around £500 is common, but you might want more.

Abandonment of travel – If you have to cancel your holiday due to illness or bereavement, for example, what you’ve already paid out for it will be reimbursed. A default amount of policy cover for this is often in the region of £2,000, but you might want more.

Repatriation – Most people want the re-assurance of knowing they’ll be brought home in a medical emergency as the cost can be astronomical; an air ambulance flying you back from Spain would cost in the region of £20,000.

Personal liability – If you cause an accident while away, injuring someone, and are found liable for damages, a policy with personal liability will ensure you’re covered, usually for £1million or more.

Somewhat important:

Dental emergency – Whether this is important to you or not largely depends on the state of your teeth! Most people won’t worry too much if they’re only going away for a week or two, but it’s still nice to know you’re covered. A typical maximum claim limit would be for £300.

Cash loss – Many travel policies won’t cover you for the loss or theft of cash. You may or may not be comfortable with this. If you’re not, make sure it’s included.

Passport loss – Each year, many Brits lose their passports while away and it can lead to delays in leaving a country and extra costs. If you’re the careless type, it could be a good idea to check that cover for losing your cash is included.

Other things to look out for:

Keep receipts for personal baggage – Many insurers won’t let you claim for baggage without receipts but the better policies don’t include such restrictions.

Level of excess – The ‘excess’ is the first part of any claim you have to pay before the insurer covers the rest. This might be set as low as £50, or as high as £250. It’s usually your choice whether to accept the default sum or change it, which could increase the cost of cover.

Limits on trip length – Check you’re happy with the maximum allowed length of trip on the policy. Typically, this might be a month, but could be as short as two weeks.

Policy Expert

Policy Expert is an online Insurance broker, dedicated to helping customers find the insurance policy that’s right for them. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. Policy Expert is driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs.  For a quote speak to an expert today on 0330 0600 603

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.