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Travel Insurance: The Full Monty

You wouldn’t purchase the first holiday listed in the search engine results, so why should you do so when it comes to travel insurance? Given how much it could save you, shopping around and not just accepting the first policy the travel agency offers is advisable.


What travel insurance covers


Travel insurance doesn’t just cover you for any medical emergencies incurred while on holiday but for a whole host of other unforeseeable events that might prevent or impede your holiday. Travel insurance typically covers finances for things such as:


• Redundancies affecting your decision/ability to go on the holiday
• A loved one being taken ill
• The airline going into administration
• Compensation if your flights are delayed
• Loss or damage to personal belongings
• Personal liability
• Medical bills

Globe with citiesWhat kind of cover will I need?


When comparing travel insurance, the most financially economical isn’t always the most advantageous. First consider your needs and the kind of holiday you’re taking. For instance a skiing or snowboarding holiday might require inclusion of cover for accidents during risky activities. Some travel insurances don’t offer this sort of cover as standard.



Basic types of policies


Short stay travel insurance


Also known as ‘single trip’ insurance, it covers for one specific holiday and is common for travellers only taking one annual holiday.


Annual multi-trip travel insurance


This covers you if you’re travelling more than once a year. It’s common for winter sports to be included in this kind of cover, without you needing to pay extra, but be sure to check this first. By selecting a family policy, individual members are covered for holidays they take within the year of the policy. This is beneficial if you’re likely to have the occasional business trip.


Long stay single trip travel insurance


This covers travel lasting up to 18 months as standard. It often allows for a short break period should you need to return home briefly during your travels.




This is the type of policy you would need for travelling abroad to partake in a particular sport. Be warned that some activities might incur extra cover charges on a separate policy, for instance winter sports. These can be added on to the basic charge for any of the types of cover mentioned.



How much could travel insurance save you?

Having travel insurance could save you a fortune. If you require hospitalisation or the use of an air ambulance, it could cost you in excess of £45,000 to be treated and brought back to the UK. This isn’t an affordable sum for most holiday goers and without travel insurance it is the holiday goer liable to pay. In these circumstances, one option might be to take a personal loan to pay the pending charges, (it’s advisable to shop around for this too and not to go for the first one available, given the urgency of the situation).



Luggage lost, stolen or damaged is also something to consider, so make sure you’re covered for this. Standard travel insurance policies cover you for around £4,000 in baggage, lost cash and cancellation cover. Again, failing this, a short term loan could be an option for those who are not covered but are in need of a smaller cash sum. It’s advisable to shop around and visit comparison websites for this too. Be sure to check the repayment plans, interest charges and repercussions if you are unable to meet the repayments.



What about the European Health Insurance Card?


The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the E111 document in 2006 and could be useful if you’re considering travelling around Europe. It covers you for medical treatment in state-run-hospitals in and around the EU, including Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. It ensures you pay the same amount for medical care as residents of that country. This means that if the cost of the care to the nationals is free then you won’t be charged for any healthcare either. The main feature of this card is that it’s free but the downside is that it won’t cover you for flights home if you have an accident or become ill, whereas travel insurance would. It’s advisable to ensure that you have both an EHIC and valid travel insurance when travelling in the EU.



Check your bank account

Often referred to as package accounts or added-value accounts, there are a number of current accounts that include additional benefits to the consumer such as phone insurance, breakdown cover and, typically, travel insurance for a monthly account fee. Holiday goers that have these ‘added-value’ accounts should check with their bank before going abroad to check whether they need any additional travel insurance. If unsure whether these benefits are currently included in your current account then you should contact your bank either by phone or going into branch.


With all this in mind it’s worth checking with your bank and shopping around for the perfect travel insurance package and not just the cheapest one offered by travel agents or booking sites.


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