If you’re planning a holiday, it’s never been more important to have a good travel insurance policy. But what does that mean? And how do you know if it will cover you for the things you’re planning on doing? Here’s Resolver’s ultimate guide to the things you need to know.
The two types of policy
There are two basic types of travel insurance policy – annual and one trip.
Within both of these categories, there are a huge variety of choices, but as a general rule of thumb, the cheaper the policy, the less it covers.
Single trip insurance does just what it says on the tin. It’s cheap and cheerful and often sold alongside packages or at airports. Annual policies are worth it if you’re taking a few holidays in a year (lucky you!) and it’s useful if you want to take advantage of those last-minute bargains, knowing you’ll be covered. It’s better for long-haul trips too and the cover can be more extensive.
Make sure you’ve got cancellation cover. If something unexpected happens in the run up to the holiday (death of a relative, illness, an unexpected event) then cancellation cover will pay out a sum towards the costs of not being able to travel. Cheap policies can exclude this completely, so never assume you’re covered. Cancellation cover isn’t for every eventuality. It only covers things happening to you or immediate family for example. And if you’ve splashed out on a megabucks trip, make sure you know what you know what the maximum payout will be. T&C’s alert! If you’ve got a medical condition that might affect your ability to travel, you’ll need to disclose this. If you don’t, then your claim might get turned down.
There’s a ton of terms and conditions. Some travel insurance policies can read like War and Peace. We’ve seen ones pushing 140 pages. Nightmare. This is excessive, but then travel insurance covers you for many more scenarios than other insurance policies might. Regardless, you should get a ‘key facts’ booklet that tells you the most important things, like excess levels and how to claim. T&C’s alert! If a clause in the contract is ‘significant’ it should be in the key facts document. If your insurer turns down a claim and you don’t think it’s fair, Resolver can help you make a claim – and the financial ombudsman upholds loads of disputes over dodgy clauses every year.
Excessive times. Always, always check the excess fees and the level of cover. In terms of the amount you should be covered for, I’d suggest policies that cover you for at least £2 million for medical expenses/repatriation (hospital charges can be terrifyingly high), £2-3,000 for cancellation, £1,500 for lost or damaged luggage and £1 million for personal liability (in case you get sued for damage you cause to you, property or other people by accident). You’ll find that cover for things like travel cash is low, so keep your money safe. The excess fee is what the insurers knock off your claim as a charge. The lower the excess the higher the premium. You can sometimes adjust and tailor this too.
Don’t give up if you’re high risk. There are a few things that can make getting insurance harder or more expensive;
Being older (over 70)
Having a serious medical condition (even if it’s treatable)
Going somewhere where travel is dangerous.
Taking part in (legal) high risk activities.
Don’t give up. There are brokers, charities and specialist insurers who can help you find cover. Get in touch if you need details of who to contact for free.
Family planning. There are lots of family insurance policies so if you’re going away with the kids, it’s worth opting for one. As with anything, if the kids are going to be out of your sight at a holiday club or taking part in an activity, check for suitable supervision as this may be part of the T&C’s. Family cover will also allow you to stay with a sick child in hospital or travel home with them if necessary – but usually only covers one parent. This can be distressing for parents when they find this out, but it’s pretty standard in policies.
Resolver can help you sort out complaints about pretty much anything – so why not help a friend or relative sort out a problem, get a refund or make a claim. Check out www.resolver.co.uk and share your experiences at email@example.com