Travel insurance is a bit of a grey area for many people; it needn't be. Getting it will take a few mouse clicks and about five minutes of your time. It's that simple. And by getting the right policy, you will potentially save yourself years worth of medical bills and extras costs if something goes wrong.
In the eager rush to get things done before a trip, it's common to overlook an important detail or two. Here are the most common mistakes people make when booking travel insurance, so you can learn what not to do.
Children under 2 are covered free of charge on some family policies, but you still need to list them when booking. Your policy cannot cover anyone not listed on it during the time of purchase. This may sound obvious, but it's a surprisingly common and expensive error.
If you are going somewhere exotic that requires you to get vaccinations or take preventative medication before you arrive, make sure you have done so. Ask your travel agent if you aren't sure, or check the NHS list of worldwide travel vaccinations. Aside from getting very sick, which is never fun, you will be liable for all costs if you have failed to get the required jabs or meds before leaving.
With any sports cover, there will always be limits to what you are and are not covered for. If you are skiing off piste, make sure you have taken out a policy that includes "off piste" cover. If you are hiking above the 2,000 meter altitude point, make sure you have sports travel insurance that goes up that far with you. These are all things that seem basic, but overlooking them when taking out your policy could be the difference between you forking out for a hefty hospital bill and being covered.
If you are travelling with specialised business equipment, making sure it is covered sufficiently should be one of the first things you do. Insuring your laptop, iPhone, Kindle, hired sound equipment and company cash-card is not a problem - as long as you have taken out a policy that offers you business travel cover to that extent. While standard policies do offer entry-level cover for business equipment, you may not be able to recover the full amount unless you upgraded to a more specialised policy.
Underwriters do not view drunken accidents in a favourable light. If you decide to go for a ski after five beers, or you get into a hazy bar brawl with some guy whose face you didn't like and end up needing medical assistance, you won't be covered. Plain and simple. Your insurance policy is not a policeman who comes with you on holiday, but if you deliberately put yourself in harm's way you can't expect someone else to pick up the tab.
If you are considering not declaring a medical condition because it may cost you extra on your premium, you are wasting your time by taking out any travel insurance at all. If you get sick and it has anything to do with an illness you failed to declare, you will have to pay all your medical bills on your own. You will also be surprised by the number of pre-existing medical conditions we cover without additional fees, for a slightly increased premium. Our online screening process is non-invasive and won't take you more than five minutes.
Most people leave booking their travel insurance policy until the last minute. But if you book your insurance after an airline strike is announced, adverse weather disrupts flights, your holiday provider goes bust, any strike, political riot, natural disaster or a no-travel warning is issued for a particular destination, you will not be covered by most policies purchased after the announcement was made public. If it's dangerous, unstable or unsafe for you to travel there, insurers may be less than thrilled about covering you. Read our tips on when to book travel insurance.
Baggage sometimes isn't covered by standard travel insurance policies. Not only can your bags go astray, airlines can be notoriously rough with your personal belongings and not overly generous when it comes to reimbursing you for damages caused. If you do have bags to check-in, we recommend making sure that you choose a policy that covers your bags and belongings.
However, if you are travelling with hand luggage only, you can save 10% on the cost of your Single Trip travel insurance premium.
Almost one in five travellers do not buy travel insurance, because it is considered an unnecessary and expensive extra. Please, please, please do not put yourself in this category. Not having travel insurance in the event of an accident abroad can be financially crippling for years to come. In the UK, we are extremely lucky to have the NHS, but healthcare like ours is not available throughout the world at such a fair price. A broken leg or arm can cost thousands to treat abroad.
Because a holiday includes so many costs above and beyond your flights, you need to make sure your entire investment is covered. If your flight is cancelled or delayed to a point where you cannot go on holiday any more, you will not automatically be covered by all policies for costs already paid to hotels/tour companies.