A Guide to Buying Travel Insurance
Do you take several annual holidays abroad, or one long trip to a tropical destination? Is your travel made up mostly of work, or leisure? Would you describe your holidays as laid-back or activity-packed?
All these – and several more – are factors in selecting the right Travel Insurance package – one that gives you full coverage at a reasonable price. Our team of brokers at Buckingham are experts at finding quality Travel Insurance, and have combined their experience to bring you this guide.
Whatever Travel Insurance plan you choose, and for however long it is valid, it should include these essential covers:
Medical cover. This could literally save your life. If you have to be treated for an accident or illness in a private hospital abroad, or be repatriated to the UK, medical expenses could be astronomical. That’s why we generally recommend a minimum cover of £2,000,000.
Cancellation, curtailment and delay. If you have to cancel or cut short your holiday – or if you’re significantly delayed, it can be a big financial blow. A professional broker, familiar with fine print, will be able to find you cover with reasonable conditions, unlike some cheap online policies, which can prove invalid for many situations.
Personal liability. For some holidays, specifically those involving sports, you, or someone in your care, could cause an injury to someone else – which might result in an expensive court case, in addition to the emotional trauma. Most professional brokers recommend a minimum cover of £1,000,000.
Baggage and personal belongings. If these were lost or stolen while travelling, think how much it could cost you between the expense of finding and/or replacing lost items – which could include passports, electronic devices and jewellery.
Emergency assistance. Many quality Travel Insurance policies now include 24-hour assistance, which can be a life-saver when you’re far from home.
Factors that may Influence your Policy
Business vs Leisure
At a glance, there may not be much to distinguish between a business and leisure trip. However, in the eyes of your insurer, the risks posed can be quite distinct – so you must never make the mistake of thinking you can cover a business trip with holiday insurance, or vice versa.
To give you an example, depending on the activity and destination involved, the risk of kidnapping can be dramatically increased depending on whether the trip is business- or leisure orientated.
Annual vs Single Trip Cover
Purchasers of Travel Insurance always face this dilemma, as the costs of annual insurance are proportionally much lower, and the conditions can be better. None of us can know the future, but if you’re likely to take two or more holidays a year, annual cover is something you should consider, preferably with the help of a broker.
Pros of annual insurance:
- Can work out cheaper per trip
- Less mental effort
- Makes last-minute holidays easier and more attractive
Pros of single trip insurance:
- Higher level of ‘tailoring’ possible
- Can work out cheaper if you travel infrequently
Insurers are famously reluctant to cover medical conditions which are considered to be ‘pre-existing’. This can act as a get-out clause for purveyors of cheaper Travel Insurance policies. More comprehensive policies are available, however – usually at a higher premium. If you’re worried about a condition that might affect your insurance, the best thing is to work with a broker who has the experience to answer your questions.
One particular condition to be aware of is pregnancy. Most insurers will cover pregnant women at no extra cost, but generally only until 24 weeks. You may also want to consider whether getting pregnant on holiday could result in curtailment of your trip – and whether this would be covered by your Travel Insurance.
Points to Remember
- It’s always worth taking the time to consider and discuss your Travel Insurance policy, as what might seem quick and cheap at the time of purchase could look very different when it comes to making a claim
- If you do encounter problems on holiday or while on business abroad, keep a record and receipts – and get a police report if possible. These may prove invaluable in securing compensation
- If you have any doubts about any aspect of Travel Insurance and need personal advice, buy your insurance through a professional broker with a strong understanding of policy wording, who can guide you through the process both when purchasing and making a claim