10 Tips for Buying Travel Insurance

A view of the New York City skyline
3rd March 2015 0

With so much travel insurance on the market, it’s sometimes hard to know what to choose for the best. Buy just any policy and you could find you haven’t got the right cover. But choose wisely and you’ll be glad you did your research.

The following tips are well worth considering when you buy travel insurance:


1. Get the right level of cover

Everyone’s different, and so are their travelling habits. If you’re off skiing or golfing, then you may want to add winter sports or golf cover to your policy. If you’re going on a long cruise, then you might need extra cover for all that baggage, while air ambulance cover might be a requirement of the cruise operators.  Many policies have a single item limit for valuables so if you’re bringing an expensive camera, tablet, phone, or jewellery that you want to insure you’ll need to check your policy’s limit and whether they require you to claim on a home insurance policy first.

The consumer magazine Which? only recommends policies with at least £2 million worth of medical cover (this includes repatriation expenses) for Europe and £5 million for other worldwide destinations.


2. Declare your pre-existing medical conditions

Health should not stand in the way of you enjoying a well-earned break. When taking out travel insurance, it’s important to declare everything, including your medical history. This avoids the disappointment of making a claim, only to find your policy may be rendered invalid because you forgot to declare a condition.

You must also get clearance from your doctor that you are fit for travel. Once you have declared all your conditions, answered the insurer’s medical screening questions and paid any necessary additional premium, you could well be insured just like anyone else – no matter what your age or medical condition.


3. Single trip, long stay or multi trip insurance?

It’s important to tell the insurers exactly how long you’ll be travelling for. Most insurers will offer the following types of cover:

Single Trip policies are ideal if you’re jetting off on one trip only and they can be great value.

Long Stay cover is normally for longer trips away – ideal if you are taking a once-in-a-lifetime jaunt across the world, or even a year out.

Annual Multi Trip (AMT) policies are perfect if you are a jet-setter and want to save time and money, particularly if you’re travelling more than once a year. They also avoid having to purchase a new Single Trip policy each time you decide to go chasing the sun.


4. Additional cover options

Because everyone is so unique, it’s ideal if your insurers are versatile enough to offer various additional cover options. Be it for a winter sports holiday, a golf holiday or a cruise, there will be specific things you particularly want covered should something happen on your trip.

Make sure you tell your insurers about the type of holiday you are taking as they may well be able to offer you additional cover, usually for a small extra premium.  This could be well worth having if, for example, you have to cancel a golfing trip you had already paid the green fees for or, if you do go, your golf clubs go missing. It’s always good to know that your additional golf cover will pay the costs.


5. Limits on claims

It’s vital to check the cover limits of any insurance policy you buy. That way, if you need to make a claim, you should be covered for the amounts you’d hoped for.  So add up the value of the items you are taking with you, as well as any cash you plan to carry. Then check the single item and the cash cover limits on the policy. Are they sufficient?

If you have cancellation and curtailment on your policy, will the cover limit in fact cover the total cost of your pre-paid flights, accommodation and excursions?

Excess – Be sure from the start how much you will have to pay should you need to make a claim for anything, bearing in mind that insurance policies can vary greatly in the excess they charge. You can sometimes reduce or increase the excess fee, so it’s worth asking your insurers to do so if it would better suit your requirements.


The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy


6. Cancellations

This is popular cover and many people expect to see it on their travel insurance policies. If something serious happens which is beyond your control (for example, unexpected illness, jury service or a death in the family) and you have to cancel or cut short your holiday unexpectedly, you’ll be very glad you have cover for your pre-paid tickets, accommodation and even excursions. But check exactly what situations are covered and up to how much you can get reimbursed for.

Flight cancellations can often also be covered if you can’t get compensation from the airline, so find out what cover you can get from your insurers.


7. If you miss a flight

Being stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the airport or waiting for a delayed train are the stuff of many people’s nightmares. But unfortunately they do happen in real life too and, although it’s not your fault, many policies will not cover you should you need to buy new flights. If you find a policy that covers this, double check the cover limits and claims procedure beforehand to avoid any disappointment if you need to claim.


8. What is the claims procedure?

Policies vary in their requirements but you will normally have to get a police report to support your claim in the event of a theft or crime. You’ll often need to contact your insurers to get your claim registered within 24 hours of the incident.

If you are covered for a missed flight or lost or delayed baggage, make sure you get written proof from the airline to support your claim.

For medical claims, you will sometimes have to get authorisation from the insurers beforehand if your treatment costs over a certain amount. And you’ll often need to report the treatment to your insurers within a certain time frame, depending on their requirements. As always, reading the small print or asking your insurers beforehand is vital to getting the cover you purchased.


9. High risk activities

What exciting activities are you planning for your holidays? Insurers include and exclude different things and some consider certain sports or activities to be higher risk than others. So before taking out a policy, be sure you’re covered for any dare-devil stunts you might be doing while skiing, mountain biking, climbing, snowboarding or even bungee jumping. Let your insurers know what you will be doing so that they can add cover if possible.


10. Enjoy a few drinks on holiday?

If, like many people, you will be enjoying the local tipple on your holidays, then beware. If you have an accident or incident while under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs, any claim you make is likely to be denied. Before you buy travel insurance, it’s best to check the policy for its specific exclusions and alcohol limits.


Travel insurance

Talk to TIM and find out how simple getting travel insurance can be. We treat you as an individual, no matter what your age or medical history. We make all the necessary travel insurance comparisons for you to find the perfect policy which not only suits you, it suits your pocket too.

Get an online quote from us today or Talk to TIM free of charge on 0800 054 2252 – we look forward to helping you.

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