You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

How to buy the right travel insurance

The Independent logo The Independent 18/02/2019 Travel desk
a close up of a piece of paper © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The world of travel insurance can be overwhelming, with myriad policies to choose from, each of them with their own small print clauses ready to scupper you when you find yourself in a bind abroad.

Here’s how to get the right cover to suit your holiday needs.

Finalise the fun stuff

Once you’ve decided on booking a holiday, work out major details from the get-go, advises Neil Wright, founder of travel insurance provider CoverForYou. This includes which countries you’re visiting, how long you’re going for and what activities you’ll be doing.

“These factors will determine which regions you need cover for (Europe or worldwide including or excluding the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean) and whether you need certain activities included in the policy,” says Wright. “Skiing, bungee jumping, some levels of canoeing and scuba diving, jet skiing, kite boarding and paragliding, among other things, often require higher levels of cover as they’re considered riskier activities.”

Getty © Getty Getty

Think longterm

If you’re planning more than just one holiday this year, an annual multi-trip cover might be more economical than a single policy. “It also means you only need to sort out travel insurance once in a 12-month period,” says Wright.

Sometimes it’s better together

Opting for a policy based on who you’re travelling with can be a good idea. Most companies offer single-parent family cover, couples travel insurance (if you both live at the same address) and family holiday insurance – usually two adults and up to four children travelling together.

“Watch out for wording though,” warns Wright. “A ‘family’ policy sometimes only applies if everyone is travelling at the same time and might not cover children who don’t live permanently with the policyholder.”

British motorists must apply for 70-year-old permit to drive in EU after no-deal Brexit, Simon Calder explains

Find your perfect policy partner

Work out what’s important to you first – keeping costs down? Having a totally tailored policy or specific medical cover? Using a provider with a high Trust Pilot rating?

“Research travel insurance companies that specialise in areas which are a priority for you,” advises Wright. “It’s worth asking friends and family for recommendations or trying aggregator comparison sites like Money SuperMarket and Compare the Market.”

Watch: This is what to do if your luggage gets lost [Buzz60]

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Choose the right level

Travel insurance companies usually offer different policy levels: high, mid and low tier. Boring it may be, but reading through all the particulars really is the only way to ensure you’re properly protecting your trip and won’t be out of pocket if something does go wrong on holiday.

“Make sure you look at all the small print – or find an insurer that specialises in being super simple,” says Wright.

“Be aware insurers are legally obliged to provide a 14-day cooling-off period from the date you purchase your policy. During this time you’re within your rights to cancel your policy and receive a full refund if you discover it’s not the right fit upon reading the fine print.”

Assess the excess

It’s definitely worth evaluating the policy cover against the excess – this is the amount you’d be required to pay under certain sections, per person and per section, if you need to make a claim.

“Ensure you’re happy with the amount you’re quoted and the level of cover it comes with – or even better, find a policy with zero excess; they do exist,” says Wright.

Getty © Getty Getty

Tailor your policy

Medical issues are one of the main reasons people have to claim on holiday. While basic cover starts from £1-2m, it’s better to seek out ones offering cover in the region of £10-15m, according to Wright.

All companies offer a 24-hour medical claims helpline that’s useful if you need to speak to your insurer in an emergency. 

“Be as detailed as you can with any pre-existing medical conditions, to save any unwanted hassle if you end up making a claim. Failure to declare this could lead to you not being able to make a claim, which could lead you to being seriously out of pocket,” says Wright.

Think about phone and gadget cover, too. The average family takes up to £3,000 worth of tech with them on holiday, so it’s worthwhile extending your baggage cover to protect your valuables from damage, loss and theft.

Getty © Getty Getty

Be Brexit proof

Things like Brexit and drone chaos mean it’s an uncertain time for travelling. Make sure you check the policy covers different types of scenarios, such as travel delays and flight cancellations. Often these things are included under add-ons like “travel disruption cover,” which can be purchased as part of your policy at fairly nominal prices. 

As it is unclear what will or won’t happen after 29 March, you should purchase travel insurance as soon as possible, according to Wright: “Ideally at the time of booking, as this will give you cancellation cover from the moment of purchase, for no extra cost.

“If you purchase an annual multi-trip, use the booking date as the start date for the policy, rather than the start of your first holiday, to ensure that you have cancellation coverage.”

If the UK does crash out of the EU without a deal, it’s likely the European EHIC card will no longer be valid. 

“Even if we have a scenario where it’s still accepted, remember it’s not a substitute for travel insurance,” says Wright. “EHIC will not pay for you to be repatriated in a medical emergency, nor does it cover cancellation, baggage and all the other benefits associated with a travel insurance policy. So, make sure you’ve got a policy that includes all these elements.”

Gallery: Into travel photography? Here are 15 picturesque places to explore [EasyVoyage]

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Independent

The Independent
The Independent
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon