Travel Insurance: what you need to know

Originally posted on CMJ Insurance brokers.

As we enter the holiday season, to help make sure you’re suitably covered when you’re abroad, we’ve put together some helpful tips on things you should consider.

Single-trip vs multi-trip policy

Depending on how many trips you plan on taking in a 12 month period, it’s worth considering whether you need to purchase a multi-trip policy. If you’re positive that you’re only taking one trip then a single-trip policy will be the best choice. However, if you’ve got two or three trips planned over the course of 12 months, a multi-trip policy could be considerably cheaper when compared to the collective cost of individual single-trip policies. This is especially true if your holidays are outside of Europe, particularly if you travel to USA.

Cover limits

Unfortunately, even when you’re on holiday, things can go wrong. It’s important that you read the small print and ensure you are adequately covered for eventualities such as illness, accident, injury or even cancellation of the trip. When deciding on limits for risks such as medical expenses and liability, it is worth remembering that these costs can quickly escalate.

Excess

Following on from cover limits, checking the excess of your cover is also vital. The excess is your contribution that you have agreed to pay towards any claim.  Some policy premiums will look cheap at first glance, but it may be due to a large excess. It is possible to adjust your excess on some policies, so think about how much you would be prepared to pay towards a claim.  However, keep in mind that this will have an impact on the premium. It is also worth remembering that some policies will include separate excess charges dependent on the incident. For example, a mugging could fall under medical costs and loss of personal belongings, resulting in an excess being applied for both, so take an extra bit of time to read through all the details.

Your baggage

Baggage cover means that you are covered if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged. Before you add baggage cover to your travel policy, it’s worth checking if your possessions are already covered under your current home contents policy. You should keep in mind that many insurers will have a limit on the payout for individual items such as phones, laptops or cameras. At times, it can be quite difficult to claim for items lost when abroad so, if possible, keep any receipts or evidence that you took the item with you.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it’s important you immediately declare these when purchasing travel insurance to ensure you are correctly covered.

Alcohol Exclusions

The majority of travel insurance policies exclude cover for events that happen after excessive alcohol consumption. But how you describe excessive and how an insurer describes excessive in your travel policy wording can differ enormously.  If you make a claim when you have an excessive amount of alcohol in your body, then your travel insurance policy may not cover you. Be aware this isn’t just for medical claims, for example if you lose your wallet because you were drunk and can’t remember where you left it then it’s unlikely your travel insurance will cover you. This doesn’t mean that your insurer is going to immediately turn down a claim if you had one drink, but it does mean they will carefully consider whether the incident would have happened in the first place, had you not been under the influence of alcohol.

Travel in later life

Statistics show the average claim made on travel insurance is around four times greater for people aged between 86 and 90 compared with those aged between 31 and 35. Getting the correct travel insurance is crucial, as people in this age group are naturally more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions and other issues as a result of their age. A number of insurers are looking at the ageing population and how to look after clients who wish to travel. Cruises are naturally popular with older generations, but most travel insurers don’t include cruises on their policies, while others will charge you a large sum to get it added on.

Posting on Social Media

The Financial Ombudsman and local Police forces have both issued warnings about posting on social media while away, alerting potential burglars to the fact that your house is empty. As you are effectively advertising the fact your house is empty, an insurer could take the view that reasonable care hasn’t been taken to protect your property in the event of a claim.

Insurers are also increasingly rejecting claims made by customers who have posted on social media. For example, you make a claim that your wallet has been stolen whilst on holiday in a champagne bar but you have stated that you have only had one alcoholic drink.  Insurers will carefully consider whether the incident would have happened, had you not been under the influence of alcohol.

What else should you consider?

  • Missed departure: A travel insurance policy will cover any additional expenses that are incurred by missing your flight, due to events outside your control.
  • Loss of passport: Covering you for additional travel expenses as a result of replacing a lost passport.
  • Delay: Covering you against any delays due to adverse weather, technical issues or industrial action, however, planned strikes will not be included.
  • Scheduled airline failure: Covering you in the event of the airline going out of business.
  • Cash: Covering you for loss of or damage to money held as cash.

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