When it comes to holidays, travel insurance is just about as important as taking your passport with you. It offers protection against the cost of medical expenses while abroad and the cost of replacing lost or stolen belongings. Travel insurance may even allow you to recoup the cost of your holiday if you have to cancel.
Here are our top tips on how to find the best travel insurance deals.
Before you purchase any travel insurance, check what your existing financial products might already cover. You may have a current account that offers travel insurance as part of the package. Alternatively, you may find that your home insurance policy includes cover for belongings outside the home.
Some credit cards, from providers like American Express, also include travel insurance. Basically, you don’t want to end up paying for something you already have, so it could be worth checking to see whether you are covered.
If you are planning to travel three or more times within 12 months, you are likely to find that an annual policy will suit your needs best, rather than single trip policies for each holiday. Similarly, if you are travelling as a family or part of a group, you may find it easier to take out a policy tailored towards multiple people, rather than each person paying for individual cover.
While having a higher excess on your policy may lower your premiums, the overall cost could be higher. Whatever level you set your excess at, consider whether you are happy to pay that amount if you ever have to make a claim.
With some policies, you may even find that excesses are paid on a ‘per section’ basis. So if you were mugged while abroad and sustained injuries as a result, you might, for example, be required to pay a £75 excess for your medical costs and a £50 excess for the loss of your personal belongings.
You will only feel the benefit of travel insurance if you get the right level of cover for your trip. You could end up incurring expenses you can’t claim for because your policy only covers up to a certain amount.
Similarly, if you are planning to take items such as an iPad or laptop away with you, make sure that your policy doesn’t include a single item limit that is lower than the value of your item. Also, activities such as skiing or horse riding often require explicit cover, as they are deemed more risky.
However, remember that it’s a good idea not to pay for more cover than you actually need. Carefully consider the type of trip you are taking and the value of the possessions you plan to take. This can help you determine the appropriate level of cover for you.
Try to avoid opting for the travel insurance offered by a travel agent, tour operator or airline. These policies are usually bundled up with your holiday booking and tend to be more expensive.
Instead, make use of the many comparison sites available. But just remember to be truthful when filling in your details. If you fail to mention an existing medical condition, for example, you may find that your policy is invalid if you need to make a claim.
Also, when comparing products, try to make sure the excess on each policy is the same, so that you can compare like for like.