Today on the FundMyTravel blog we will be learning a bit about the importance of Travel Insurance.
When you’re planning a holiday – whether you’re going for a short city break or a mammoth expedition around the world – you’ll have several things to organize and think about. Getting your travel and accommodation in place is obviously the first thing, followed by the exciting part: planning your itinerary. Then you’ll need to work out what to pack, how much currency to take and all those other little parts that make up your trip.
But there’s something really important that you really shouldn’t travel without: travel insurance. It may seem like an extra expense (and you may feel that you would rather spend the cost of the premium on other things like excursions or meals out) but the cost is small compared to the consequences of travelling without it.
Travel insurance will usually cover:
- The cost of replacing lost, stolen or damaged luggage
- Compensation for delayed flights
- The cost of your holiday if you have to cancel it or cut it short (e.g. if you were to lose your job, or fall ill while abroad, or have to return home to care for a family member)
- Private medical treatment abroad
- The cost of having to be taken to hospital by ambulance
- Personal liability cover – in case you were to injure someone else (even accidentally) while on holiday and were sued for damages
- Repatriation of your body (returning it Home) if the worst should happen
There are different types of travel insurance available, so take care to select the right policy for your particular circumstances.
Short-Term Travel Insurance
This is usually designed for one-off trips, for up to 31 days’ stay. This type of insurance will usually cover you for just one destination (so is unsuitable if you are planning to travel around to different countries while away) and some countries are excluded because they are considered too costly or dangerous to insure you – so check the policy wording carefully. This is usually the cheapest type of cover and you can apply directly through various insurers or through a comparison site.
Frequent Traveller Insurance
If you plan to travel to work or volunteer abroad, you may be planning to stay for longer than 31 days, and/or may be visiting several countries. Or you may be planning several shorter visits throughout the year. If so, an annual travel insurance policy is probably going to be more suitable and more economical than buying several single-trip insurance policies.
An annual policy is also known as a multi-trip policy as it will cover you for any travel you undertake during the course of a year. Again, check that your destination is not excluded from the policy you take out.
Your travel agent may offer you travel insurance, but it is worth shopping around for travel insurance as prices vary considerably. If you are travelling independently then you will need to find your own insurance anyway.
Some sites offer significant sums in the form of cashback just for clicking through to the insurance company through their site. Some banks offer travel insurance as part of their current account charges – it’s worth checking to see if you are already covered.
Things To Note
When buying a travel insurance policy, especially online, beware that if you are over 50 or have pre-existing medical conditions then you will need to disclose these facts to the insurer. Often their application forms do not specifically ask questions about your age or health, but their terms and conditions (in the small print) make it clear that they won’t pay out if you don’t actively disclose that information when you apply. If you think that this might apply to you, you should contact the insurers by telephone.
Having travel insurance is very important, but if you require medical help while abroad you will usually have to pay upfront and claim the cost back from your policy when you return home. You will also have to contact your insurers before you obtain medical treatment (unless in an emergency) or they may not pay out.
And If you are an EU citizen… don’t forget your EHIC
Taking an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) – formerly the E111 – will enable you to receive treatment in any European Union country under the same terms (and at the same cost) as a national of that country would receive. If you don’t have your EHIC with you, you will be treated as if you resided outside the EU and charged greatly more accordingly. It is likely that your travel insurance will only reimburse you for the costs of medical treatment that would have been charged if you had taken your EHIC with you – the insurers may baulk at paying tens of thousands of pounds more simply because you could not prove that you were an EU citizen.
Taking your passport is not enough to prove that you are entitled to be treated as an EU citizen – only your EHIC will do. So whatever you do, don’t forget that!
About the Author
Poppy Gallagher – I am a keen traveller and love to experience different cultures and have a keen interest in adventure. When I am not skydiving or paragliding I am at my laptop typing away writing about my travels.