Amidst all the excitement of planning a dream trip away, buying travel insurance is hardly the most glamorous of things to think about. But as much as it smacks of the humdrum and sensible world you want to leave behind for a while, it should be considered a travel essential.
The risk people take with travel insurance – apart from not taking out any cover at all – is rushing their purchase to get it out of the way. It is often assumed that all travel insurance policies are alike, when in truth this is far from the case.
At best, jumping at the first policy you are offered – by your travel agent, for example – might see you pay over the odds for cover you could have got cheaper elsewhere. At worst, it could leave you with a policy which does not cover you for your needs, putting you at considerable financial risk should you need to make a claim.
Like any product, if you want the best value and/or quality from your travel insurance, you should take some time to shop around. Here are some key things to bear in mind as you do.
Your travel agent, tour operator or airline may offer you cancellation cover in the event that you cannot make the trip, entitling you to at least a partial refund. However, the prices you will be quoted for this cover will often be high – about as much as you can buy a full policy for from a specialist provider. Many travel insurance policies will include cancellation cover, so it pays to shop around early and get everything included in one purchase.
Single trip travel insurance policies can last a long time – up to 365 days in many cases – but they still only provide cover for a single trip. In other words, as soon as you come home, your cover ends. This can catch some people out, as they think if they buy cover for a full year, it will still be valid if they go away again within 12 months.
What you need in this case is multi-trip cover. Multi-trip policies typically last a year and are valid no matter how many trips you take in that time. They may look on the face of it to be more expensive than long-term single trip policies, but overall work out cheaper than having to buy new insurance each time you head away.
Reading the fine print is no one’s idea of fun, but it is important to know the details of what your travel insurance does and does not cover you for. This is essential if your trip is going to involve any activities remotely out of the ordinary, such as white water rafting, mountain climbing, or sports of any kind. If you take out general travel insurance and get injured doing any of these things, you may not be covered. Of course, sometimes taking part in an activity like this is a spur of the moment thing, so if you are the sort of person who might be tempted by an impromptu bit of paragliding or mountain bike trekking, make sure you get as flexible a policy as possible.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is vitally important that you make this known when you buy your travel insurance. As with sporting injuries, you will probably not be covered if you need medical assistance abroad and have not asked for specific cover for your condition. Many insurers will bump up the premium or may even refuse cover altogether, so the best thing to do is look for a provider which specialises in policies for people travelling with medical conditions. That way you can be reassured that you are getting the appropriate cover for whatever medical attention your condition may require, and you will probably save yourself some cash too.
Planning to go abroad more often? Don’t forget your multi-trip travel insurance. For those travelling abroad frequently, multi-trip insurance can save you money, time and hassle. Avanti Travel Insurance specialises in travel policies for the over 50s with pre-existing medical conditions. Visit our website now for more details on our bespoke annual multi-trip insurance.