One of the most important aspects of any trip is to ensure that you have a good, valid travel insurance policy. Whilst it is something which you may never need to use, the peace of mind with insurance means that you are financially covered for any eventuality, and indeed whilst you may think it will never happen to you, there is nothing to stop it doing so!
Travel insurance covers anything from cancelled or delayed flights, missed connections, stolen items, or medical emergencies. For what it costs, the advantages of holding a travel insurance policy far outweigh the cost of taking out a policy.
Key factors to consider
- Covered wherever you travel - this is beneficial for worldwide cover, allowing you to be covered in each country if you are visiting more than one.
- Travel disruption cover - allowing for cover in case of natural disaster or airline supply failure.
- Cancellation - for cover in event of the trips cancellation.
- Delay (for a specified number of hours) - in case of delay to travel, you can claim a cost associated with this.
- Medical expenses cover - look for cover up to £10 million, for a good policy amount. This is important, as it will allow for cover in case of illness or injury, and will cover the often high-cost of professional medical care (pre-existing conditions will not generally be covered, so check before you purchase).
- Cover for personal possessions and cash - including those which may be stolen from you or damaged.
- Costs for sourcing key travel documents, such as a passport.
When to book
Your best bet is to book travel insurance straight after booking your trip, as that way you are covered immediately, in the case for any reason the trip is cancelled, due to events external to you, or such as illness. Leaving it until the last minute simply creates unnecessary risk, and if you are going to do it anyway, why not do so immediately?
Travelling more than once in a year?
If you are travelling more than once in a year, consider taking out an annual cover policy as opposed to a one-time trip. This will be cheaper overall and allow for cover to already be determined at the point of booking. It will also mean that if you travel unexpectedly within that year, the cover will be even more cost-effective. Just check the number of consecutive days you can be away for in any one-trip, to ensure you will be covered for the duration.
Limitations on the policy
Be sure to read carefully any policy prior to taking it out, to ensure that it covers all of your needs. Be aware of limits on the amount of cover on e.g. electrical items, as sometimes there is a limit on the amount which can be claimed. You may need to buy either additional insurance for certain items, or pay to upgrade the policy you are looking at. Furthermore, activities such as winter sports (e.g. skiing) are not always covered as standard, offering to require extra payments.
Finally, it is worth checking to ensure that you do not already have some form of cover elsewhere. Many of the package bank accounts have added benefits, such as worldwide travel insurance, included. Combined with some of the other perks these accounts offer, you may find it financially beneficial to look at these as a viable alternative.
Always check your legal entitlement too. Now, this varies depending on a number of factors (such as, flight delays or cancellations, and where the fault lies) but you may not always need to go solely through your travel insurance.