GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRAVEL INSURANCE
Guide to choosing the right Travel insurance and coronavirus. page updated 15th December
If you do not have appropriate insurance before you travel, you could be liable for emergency costs including medical treatment. We recommend you buy your travel insurance as soon as possible after booking your trip.
Travel insurance guide
You have booked your next holiday and now it is time to start thinking about getting some travel insurance. By having the right level of cover when you travel means that you can relax and enjoy your time away, without those niggling ‘what ifs’.
But choosing the right cover can be tough, especially with so many different policies available. Are you going with family or friends? Are you going to Europe or travelling further afield? Will you be taking part in any sporting activities? These are the type of questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on an insurance policy. All insurance policies differ in terms of cover and cost depending on what you’ll be doing and where you’re going. So before you buy your travel insurance read our guide for help finding the best cover for you.
Guide to choosing the right Travel insurance - Why do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is intended to protect you in case something goes wrong. It can cover you for a range of problems such as medical costs if you are taken ill or injured abroad and holiday horrors such as lost luggage or stolen possessions.
Some policies can even provide cover for unexpected issues such as redundancy and extra costs for pet care in cases of longer delays.
The average cost if you fall ill on holiday and need hospital treatment is approximately 1,200€ per night at a private hospital here in Spain : a fall in Spain, resulting in a broken hip could cost £15,000 for hospital treatment and flights. Without travel insurance many travellers would have to borrow from family and friends if things didn’t go to plan, a stress most of us could do without.
As well as the right travel insurance, everyone should also have a GHIC Card, if you do not have one or your old EHIC card is out of date, find out how to apply and what they cover HERE These cards are in ADDITION to your travel insurance NOT instead of.
The different types of holiday insurance
Single trip – If you are planning one holiday a year a single trip policy may be suitable.
Annual insurance – If you are a frequent traveller then an annual multi trip policy may be suitable, this can be cheaper than buying multiple single trip policies. This can also cover you for short UK breaks, but you would need to check your policy.
European or worldwide cover – European cover is often cheaper than worldwide insurance. Many of the popular holiday destinations such as Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia are not always covered by a European policy. You will need to check that your intended holiday destination is covered under the correct cover.
Single, couple or family policy – If you travel with a partner or your family look into getting a joint policy as this can bring costs down. The definition of ‘family’ can differ from various insurers so check the small print and find out who is covered before you buy.
Active – If you will be taking part in any sporting activities or going on excursions let your insurance companies know so that you can check that you have the appropriate level of cover. Some insurance companies include certain activities but charge extras for others. If you plan to be active whilst on your holiday it is essential, you check that the activities you want to do is included in the policy you have bought. If it is not included, you may have the option to pay extra to have this included but this depends on the insurance policy. It is important to always book trips abroad with a reputable supplier, and, if in doubt, check with the insurance company.
Older travellers – Policies that cover older travellers can prove costly. You may want to try a specialist insurance firm to compare costs and what is covered as these policies often include a number of common pre-existing medical conditions.
The level of cover you need
You need to ensure you choose the right type of cover for your individual needs. The cheapest policy might not always be best for you. Travel insurance can vary a great deal and extras can be added on to them, but it is important that your policy should have the following basic level of cover:
Your travel insurance should cover:
emergency treatment and hospital bills, which can be expensive. Check whether your policy covers treatment in public or private hospitals.
emergency transport, such as ambulance fees or emergency repatriation on medical grounds
getting home after treatment if you cannot use your original ticket
reasonable costs for a family member or friend to stay with you or travel out to accompany you home if required
temporary emergency dental treatment for the relief of immediate pain
24-hour assistance helplines to offer support and advice about appropriate treatment
repatriation costs in the event of death abroad
Before you travel, make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer and answer questions about your medical history in full.
Personal liability – In case you need to pay for any damage or accidents you cause.
Cancellation or curtailment – In case you need to cut short or cancel your holiday or your hotel or flights are cancelled. This could be used if you lose your job, a close relative falls ill while you are away or need to come home earlier than planned.
Medical emergency – To cover the cost of treatment due to sudden illness or through an accident you have whilst on holiday. Your cover should also include repatriation in case you need to be flown back to the UK.
Pre-existing medical conditions – You need to declare any health issues you have when applying for travel insurance, failure to do this may make your policy invalid or may mean you are not protected by your policy in the event of a claim. You will find a list of Insurance companies that cover pre-existing medical conditions HERE
Delays – This coverage is designed to cover you for long delays. You may need to get the airline to confirm this in writing and also keep any receipts for items you’ve bought due to the delays.
Loss or theft – This can cover the cost of replacing money, personal items or replacing luggage should anything be lost stolen or damaged.
Emergency assistance – Most insurance companies offer a 24-hour emergency helpline. This can be a real-life saver when you are in a different time zone.
Every year we see in the newspapers cases where holiday makers have been refused hospital treatment or been given huge medical bills due to travelling uninsured or not disclosing pre-existing medical conditions. Can you really afford not to take out travel insurance?
Whatever policy you choose make sure it also covers your personal belongings and baggage during your trip in case they are lost, stolen or damaged. This can be purchased as an extra add-on with many policies. Sometimes you may be covered under your home insurance if you have cover for items away from home (usually called personal belongings) however you would need to contact your home insurance provider.
All policies differ greatly and what is covered by one policy, isn’t guaranteed to be covered by others. It is vital that you are thorough when reading documentation and if in doubt, ask. This guide is intended to help you chose the right policy for you but it important to do your research when choosing a policy and ensure you understand exactly the level of cover you are buying.
Compensation if your travel is disrupted
Some travel insurance policies only cover certain types of disruption. Check your provider’s terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need if your travel is cancelled or delayed.
Your consumer rights will not change from 1 January 2021. This means that if your travel is cancelled or delayed you may be able to claim a refund or compensation. Check your booking’s terms and conditions to find out more.
If your travel company goes out of business
You’re protected if you buy a package holiday, and the company goes out of business. You get this cover even if it’s an EU company, as long as the company targets UK customers.
Otherwise, you could claim compensation if you used your credit card. You’ll continue to be able to claim for payments between £100 and £30,000.
A limited number of insurers are offering policies that cover COVID-19 check out:-
Holiday Extra - In conjunction with Battleface Insurance
Our Covid bubble protection provides all the protection to you need when travelling today in the new normal.
. Emergency Covid medical expenses while abroad
. Repatriation if you catch Covid-19 and its medically required for you to get home.
. Cancelling your trip if you or anybody covered on your policy catch Covid before travelling
Rush Insurance - Underwritten by Travel Insurance Facilities Group
Staysure (no travel disruption extension for new customers, but emergency medical treatment for coronavirus is covered)
Trailfinders (cover for some coronavirus-related cancellation and medical expenses)
Santander (cover for some coronavirus-related cancellation and medical expenses)
Battleface Insurance (new policy will give travellers the peace of mind they have been looking for. including to countries currently advised against traveling to by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) for travellers up to and including age 59, includes cover for medical expenses caused by or resulting from COVID-19)
SAGA (emergency medical cover) are among providers who do.
Nationwide - cover if your destination restricts its borders before you travel for reasons relating to the pandemic
AllClear - If the FCO changes its advice before you travel
Allianz Assistance - worth checking out
Hays Travel - The new cover, which will be offered as standard to customers through Rush Insurance Services and Allianz Insurance, will include provisions for cancellation or curtailment of holidays, emergency medical expenses and repatriation due to Covid-19 or other epidemics and pandemics. The insurance will also cover cruise holidays when clients are confined to their cabins or if they miss port calls and pre-paid excursions.
Jet2insurance are one of the only UK insurance providers that offer cancellation and medical cover for COVID-19. So, if you or your party become ill with COVID-19 before you travel or while you’re abroad, rest assured that our insurance has you covered.