With the holiday season finally upon us, there’s no doubt that you’re counting down the weeks and days until you can relax, unwind, and enjoy some quality downtime – hopefully, in the sunshine.
Soon, you’ll be swapping spreadsheets for sunbeds, meetings for margaritas, the morning commute for leisurely strolls along the beachfront. But, whether you’re jet-setting to an exotic country or keeping it local with a staycation, travel insurance is a must-have holiday essential.
Protecting your trip
Like other types of cover, travel insurance varies hugely between providers, so reading the small print before you buy is really important. And while it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest policy – often costing just a few pounds more than a poolside cocktail – it might not provide you with the level of cover you need.
So, when thinking about insuring your upcoming trip, here are five questions you should be asking yourself:
1. When should I book travel insurance?
Taking out travel insurance is often left until the last minute, but starting your search early will give you time to compare cover and find the best deal. If you book far in advance, it could be worthwhile choosing a policy with cancellation cover, just in case you or your partner or travel companion fall ill and you are forced to cancel or postpone the trip.
Certain policies also feature redundancy cover, which will pay out if you had to cancel your trip due to one of you losing your job.
2. Have I shopped around?
If you’ve booked your holiday through a travel agent, they’re likely to recommend a certain provider or policy. However, better deals may exist elsewhere, so it can pay to shop around.
Comparison websites will give a good overview of available deals; but again, don’t let the price tag be the sole factor swaying your decision. The cheapest policy might not provide you with adequate protection, meaning you might not have the cover you wanted.
3. Should I go for annual cover?
If you’re lucky enough to have a few holidays in the pipeline, you could always take out annual cover rather than separate, single trip policies. Not only will this mean less hassle for you – as you’ll only need to arrange insurance once – but it could also save you money. Again, just make sure you read the small print of the policy so you’re aware of things like the maximum number of days covered for each trip.
4. What’s the right level of cover for me?
Make sure you familiarise yourself with standard levels of cover provided by insurers. For instance, Which? only recommends* policies with at least £2 million of medical cover for Europe, or £5 million worldwide. It also suggests that you should have £1,500 worth of cover for baggage and personal belongings, and £3,000 for cancellation or curtailment.
You need to be sure that your policy reflects your needs, and pay attention to exclusions listed in the terms. This is particularly important if you expect your trip to be adventure-filled, as certain activities might not be covered as standard, requiring you to add them onto your policy for an extra fee.
5. How honest should I be about medical conditions?
Under no circumstances should you twist the truth when taking out insurance, even if you think it may land you with a better deal. Lying about medial conditions – or about anything else for that matter – could invalidate your policy, and you’ll be the one who loses out in the event of a claim. For the sake of potentially saving a few pounds, it’s really not worth it.