Summer may be drawing to a close here in the UK, but many of us who aren’t tied to school holidays are looking forward to our long awaited break. The suitcases are out, the clothes are in piles ready to be packed and all the important travel documents are safely together. The passports may have been located but have you got your Travel Insurance sorted?

Anyone who is a ‘savvy’ traveller buys Travel Insurance when they’re going on a trip because they know that it can be a life saver. What could be more reassuring than knowing you’ve got cover for all those unexpected events that could cost you thousands, like emergency medical expenses; lost and stolen baggage; flight delays and cancellations? Travel Insurance even provides you with legal expenses cover, should you need it.

However, every year we see too many incidents of avoidable pitfalls that customers fall in to. Problems that could have been completely avoided, easily and cheaply.

In this article we are going to list the top pitfalls that you should look to avoid before it’s too late, and some simple do’s and don’ts for Travel Insurance to keep in mind before your next trip.

Do you regularly take medication for a medical condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s essential to check and comply with the rules set by the Travel Insurance company. It may be a longer process or more expensive for you to buy insurance that includes cover for your pre-existing conditions, but always check your options. Most companies have an accepted “No Screen Conditions” list. It is vital to NEVER withhold details of a pre-existing condition, or this could invalidate your policy and cost you thousands in medical expenses whilst you are away from home.

Are you planning some adventure activities?

Perhaps you are looking forward to going diving, mountain trekking or to fulfill your dream of swimming with dolphins? Everyone loves to try something new, especially on holiday. However, you are more at risk of injury while participating in adventure activities, and you may not be covered by your Travel Insurance. Most Travel Insurance companies have a list of accepted ”Adventure Activities”, so please check this before you go. For example, Globelink covers over 100 activities as standard, but you can pay an additional fixed charge if you are planning to try something more adventurous.

Have you bought your Travel Insurance too late?

Do not make the mistake of not buying your Travel Insurance as soon as you’ve booked and paid for some or all of your trip. Believe it or not, the best time to actually buy your Travel Insurance is as soon as you pay your deposit and certainly before you actually travel. As soon as you buy your insurance, you’ll be covered for certain unforeseen scenarios such as death or serious illness of anyone on the policy, redundancy, if the police or authorities require you or if your leave is cancelled as a member of the Armed Forces, Police, Nursing or Ambulance services. Do not leave it until it is time to travel before you buy, or you could be seriously out of pocket before you even board the plane.

Have you just opted for the cheapest policy?

One of the most common pitfalls is people buying Travel Insurance without actually checking that it sufficiently meets their requirements. Think about the cost of your holiday if you had to cancel, the luggage you are taking in case it’s stolen, any connecting flights you have paid for and any pre-paid excursions you may have booked. Take out sufficient cover to avoid disappointment and additional costs if things go wrong. The cheapest policy may indeed suit your needs, but don’t buy without checking first.

What happens if I forget to buy Travel Insurance before I travel?

We know that it’s not always the first thing on your mind when booking your long awaited holiday and we know that it’s sometimes tempting to try and save money and not buy insurance at all, but this could cost you dearly. If you do forget or you decide to buy insurance after you travel, most companies won’t cover you as you have already started your trip. Some companies do offer an Already Travelling insurance. Even if you are half way through your holiday and suddenly remember to buy, or if you are a parent and have just discovered that your son or daughter has gone off on their holiday adventure without cover, taking out an Already Travelling policy will give you peace of mind. Some countries even insist on travel insurance coverage as part of the entry requirements. For example, Havana and Poland, so please check the country entry requirements before you travel.

Are you travelling with expensive items?

A pitfall we see all too often is the misunderstanding that Travel Insurance is like Home Insurance. It’s not, and it’s not designed to be. There is likely to be a much lower ‘single item limit’ on your Travel Insurance than you might expect compared to your home insurance provider. You are very unlikely to be covered for your designer handbag or expensive jewellery, so check your policy or leave these items at home. Designer or expensive items will make you a more tempting target for theft, and you probably won’t be covered if items are stolen or lost. Some policies do offer extra cover for valuables but you may have to pay extra and there will be certain terms and conditions to adhere to.

Do you understand the Claims Requirements?

It is worth taking a look at what you might need in order to make a claim, before you face the stress of actually having to make one. All Insurance companies will require evidence of any loss before they pay a claim. This might be a police report from the local Police in the country where the incident occurred, A ‘Property Irregularity Report’ (PIR) from the airline; evidence from the carrier, tour operator’s representative, hotel or accommodation provider; receipts of purchase or other evidence. It is best to be prepared with the evidence required in order to get your claim paid quicker. One of the biggest misconceptions that travellers face is that they will be covered for every situation. Unfortunately you won’t, so take time to understand your level of cover and the claims procedures.

To discuss your Travel Insurance requirements, please contact us or call in to our offices, either in Clowne or Ripley. Alternatively, telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625 (Clowne) or 01773 748 627 (Ripley). They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.