Monday, September 20, 2010

Travel Insurance Tips

Travel Insurance Tips

Savvy holidaymakers will shop around to make sizeable savings on flights, package holidays and accommodation. However, many of them overlook travel insurance (also known as 'holiday insurance') and simply accept it as an add-on. This is an expensive mistake because some travel agents in the UK can make more profit from selling travel insurance policies than they do from the holidays themselves.

This money saving article will examine how you can save cash on your travel insurance - whether you should choose an annual or single-trip policy, where to go for cheap travel insurance and more.


What do you need to cover?

Before you think about what you need to cover you might ask - 'do I need cover at all'?

Though travel insurance is not mandatory, it is advisable to take out a policy as complaints about lost baggage are a common occurrence and medical bills in foreign countries can be astronomical for non-citizens. Medical claims are frequent with a third of UK tourists suffering from 'Delhi belly' while abroad according to Halifax, with almost two out of five travellers sick for two or more days losing around £42.42 per person a day off the cost of their holiday. If you're going to a country with poor medical facilities, ensure your policy includes repatriation costs.

The levels of cover available vary greatly and there's no point paying for something you don't need. Consequently here is our recommendation for the level of cover you should take out on a typical travel insurance policy:

  • Medical expenses (£2m)
  • Personal liability (£1m)
  • Cancellation (£3,000)
  • Baggage (£1,500)
  • Cash (£250)
  • Also make sure the travel insurance company has a 24hr emergency line and cover for legal costs.

Bear in mind however, that the amount of cover you need depends on your circumstances. For example, if you are taking a low cost flight for less than £50 is there really any point in securing cancellation cover? By the time you have paid off the excess you might only be claiming back £10. Additionally, be wary of ridiculous amounts of medical expenses cover - some will offer as much as £20m, when £2m is nearly always adequate.

It's also important to take out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip - particularly with the cancellation stipulation in mind. If you book your holiday months in advance but plan to wait until the last minute to secure your insurance then you won't be covered if you are forced to make a cancellation - perhaps due to a family bereavement or illness. So book your travel insurance to start immediately after booking your holiday to give yourself peace of mind and make sure your cancellation cover at least matches the cost of your holiday.

Also pay close attention to baggage cover. Typically a policy will cover around £1,500-£2,000 for lost baggage, which is nearly always sufficient. However, many policies have single-item limits, usually ranging from £200-£300, and there may be an excess to pay in the region of £50-£70. According to Age Concern Insurance Services, around a third of Brits don't bother to check the terms and conditions of their policy - so ensure you read the small print thoroughly and look for any notable exclusions.

1 comment: