Posts tagged: travel insurance tips

FCO advise against all but essential travel to Maldives capital

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By , February 9, 2012 5:12 pm
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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised British Nationals against all but essential travel to the Island of Male in the Maldives. The latest advice from the FCO follows political unrest, demonstrations and the resignation of the president earlier in the week.

Maldives from the air 3

If you travel to the Male Island against FCO advice your travel insurance may not be valid.

The FCO have advised British Nationals who are in Male already to avoid demonstrations and beware of spontaneous gatherings. Those staying on other islands in the Maldives, or about to visit the Maldives should avoid travelling to Male altogether.

Holiday makers should be aware that if they choose to travel Male against the advice of the FCO that their travel insurance is unlikely to be valid. Most travel insurance policies have a clause in the terms and conditions which states that they will not provide cover in the event that you are travelling against the advice of the FCO.

Read our earlier post for more information about how FCO travel advice affects travel insurance cover.

There are currently no reported incidents or unrest in the tourist resorts on the other islands in the Maldives and the FCO have specifically pointed out that their advice against travel does not include Male International Airport (which is actually on a different island) or travel to and from the airport to any part of the country other than Male Island.

If you are travelling to the Maldives soon your travel insurance should be valid, so long as you don’t travel to any of the areas which the FCO advise against. This is currently just the island of Male.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office update their travel advice regularly based on what is happening on the ground, so if you are travelling to the Maldives soon you should keep up to date with the latest advice on their website.

You should also contact your tour operator for further information.

If you are worried about whether your travel insurance will provide cover for your trip contact your travel insurance provider who will be able to confirm whether you travel insurance is affected.

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Check the latest advice from the FCO: It can impact your travel insurance cover

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By , January 27, 2012 11:29 am
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Summary: The travel advice published by the FCO can have an impact on your travel insurance cover. Travelling against FCO advice can make your travel insurance void: find out why.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides a wealth of useful information to help you stay safe abroad. This includes information on local laws and customs, dangerous areas that you should avoid, and any upcoming strikes or industrial action that could impact your travel plans.

You should check the latest information for the country you are visiting, before you travel or even before you plan your trip.

How does the FCO travel advice impact your travel insurance cover?

The FCO publishes travel advice by country which is updated daily. They have a page of in-depth information about every country in the world, if there are any travel alerts that you need to be aware of they will be highlighted at the top of these pages.

This information is important to your travel insurance cover, because if the FCO is advising against travel to a country or a particular area of a country, your travel insurance will not provide cover if you travel to those areas. Most travel insurance policies have an exclusion in the terms and conditions which states that they will not provide travel insurance cover if you are travelling against Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice.

It is likely to still be possible to buy flights to areas that are considered unsafe, so it is up to you to check the latest travel advice to see whether it is safe to go there and whether your travel insurance will be valid.

For example, British Airways have recently announced that they are to restart flights to Tripoli, the Libyan capital from the beginning of May.  (Flights were stopped last year when tensions in Libya escalated).

This may be an extreme example, as not many people are going to be planning a holiday to Libya, however it does illustrate the point. Although you can easily book a flight from London to Libya, the FCO are advising against all but essential travel to some areas of the country, and against all travel to other areas.  If you do choose to visit Libya against FCO advice, a standard travel insurance policy will not cover you.

Even if you are going to a popular holiday destination, you should still check the latest FCO travel advice before you depart, as the recent events in Kenya and the revolution in Egypt last year highlight. Both destinations are popular with UK holidaymakers and although the FCO didn’t advise against all travel, they did and do advise against travel to specific regions, so if you are travelling to these countries you should be aware of which areas should be avoided.

Is it fair that travel insurance doesn’t provide cover if you are travelling against FCO advice?

In a word, I would say yes. As we’ve discussed in various posts before, travel insurance, as all insurance, is designed to cover unexpected and unforeseen risk.  Travelling to a country or area of a country that the FCO considers dangerous for British Nationals is a much higher risk than travelling somewhere that is considered safe.

Information on strikes and Industrial action

The FCO also publishes the latest information on strikes and industrial action which could have an impact on your trip.  This is type of information is definitely worth knowing, because even if you can’t change your dates of travel, it pays to be aware of any upcoming strikes so you make plans accordingly, such as allowing more time for journey’s on public transport.

For more information about travel insurance cover for strikes and industrial action read our post.

Delays due to strikes: Travel insurance cover & your rights

Where to find travel advice from the FCO

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/

https://twitter.com/#!/fcotravel

http://www.facebook.com/fcotravel

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 9 – Check you have cover for sports and activities

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By , January 19, 2012 1:32 pm
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Tip number 9 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is: Make sure that your travel insurance provides cover for any sports and activities you will be taking part in.

Before you buy your travel insurance policy, have a think about what you’re going to be doing on holiday. Are you going to be taking part in any sports or activities?

Skiing and other winter sports are the obvious ones, so if you are going on a beach holiday you may think that you don’t need to worry about it. But what about if you decided to have a go on a jet ski whilst you are there, or go on a quad biking excursion? These types of activities might not be covered on a standard travel insurance policy, so before you take part you should check.

Travel insurance generally covers a number of sports and activities as standard, but it does vary between different travel insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking.  You may find that your chosen activity is covered by your travel insurance as standard, or you may need to add extra cover to your policy.

Most travel insurers will allow you to upgrade your cover to include more adventurous or hazardous activities. As I said before, winter sports is the obvious one, but
there are many popular holiday activities which may require additional cover such as bungee jumping, quad biking or scuba diving below a certain depth.

Don’t take any chances; check that you are covered before taking part in any hazardous
activities – if you’re not covered you could face large medical bills in the event of an accident.

Many travel insurance companies will allow you to add extra cover for sports or activities after you have bought your travel insurance policy, sometimes even if you have already departed on your holiday – so it’s never too late to check your travel insurance cover.

It’s easy to get the right travel insurance cover if you take a few minutes to think about the sort of activities you’re going to take part in before you buy your travel
insurance.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 7 – Tailor your travel insurance for your budget and holiday

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By , December 14, 2011 2:44 pm
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Tip number 7 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is: Tailor your travel insurance policy to suit your budget and your holiday.

The days of simply buying whichever travel insurance is offered to you when you book your holiday are long gone. Today it’s easy to shop around and tailor your travel insurance policy to get the right cover for your holiday, either by adding additional travel insurance cover, or making sure that you’re not paying for travel insurance cover that you don’t need.

Let’s take cancellation cover as a starting point; if your luxury trip to the Maldives cost £5000 per person, you need to make sure that the cancellation cover amount in your travel insurance reflects that. On the same note, if you’re staying in youth hostels or camping, the amount of cancellation of cover which your travel insurance includes won’t be so important, so you could choose a travel insurance policy with a lower level of cancellation cover. Alternatively, if you travelling imminently you could choose to exclude cancellation cover altogether and reduce the cost of your travel insurance policy.

You could also choose to exclude baggage and personal money cover if you already have your personal possessions covered away from home as part of your home contents insurance.

You should also look at the ways you improve your travel insurance cover.
Check out what additional policy options are available to add to your travel insurance such as Scheduled Airline Failure, which is designed to provide cover in the event that your airline or other holiday supplier becomes insolvent, either before you go away or while you are in resort.

This type of insolvency cover is particularly important if you book elements of your holiday independently, rather than booking a package holiday with a bonded tour operator.

Another popular add-on is Natural Catastrophe cover, which provides additional travel insurance cover for cancellation and additional incurred expenses as a result of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or the volcanic ash crisis in 2010.

Sports and hazardous activities, if you are planning on taking part in any sports or hazardous activities whilst you are on holiday, make sure that your travel insurance provides cover in the event that you have an accident and need medical treatment. Most travel insurance policies provide cover for a range of activities as standard, plus give the option to upgrade your travel insurance policy to include cover for more dangerous pursuits.

Travel insurance is available for sale all over the place, from travel agents, supermarkets, price comparison sites and direct from travel insurance providers, so there is no excuse for travelling with it.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 6 – Declare any pre-existing medical conditions

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By , December 14, 2011 2:08 pm
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Tip number 6 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is; declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance.

No matter how inconsequential a medical condition may seem to you, you need to declare it when you buy travel insurance. Anything and everything, from mild asthma to high blood pressure and heart disease, needs to be declared to your travel insurer at the time of purchase.

The definition of a pre-existing medical condition can vary between different travel insurers; you should check the terms and conditions of your policy for details. However in general a pre-existing medical condition is anything that you have visited the doctor for, or received treatment for, or taken medication for.

Many travel insurance providers make it easy for you to declare pre-existing medical conditions online as part of obtaining a travel insurance quote; others will require you to call them to declare medical conditions. Either way, it is generally very easy, and you should still be able to obtain instant travel insurance cover for your holiday without the need for any doctor’s certificates.

Failing to declare a medical condition when you buy travel insurance could cost you dearly, it makes no difference whether you did it on purpose, to try and save money, or inadvertently, because you didn’t think you needed to declare a medical condition.

If you don’t declare a pre-existing medical condition when you buy travel insurance you run the risk of incurring medical bills, which could easily amount to thousands of pounds, if you need medical treatment abroad.

So, the important thing to remember is, no matter how trivial you think your medical condition is, you should declare it when you buy travel insurance – you may find that it doesn’t increase your premium at all. But it will mean that you are appropriately covered by your travel insurance if you fall ill abroad and need medical treatment.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 5 – Kids may be covered free, but don’t forget to mention them

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By , October 20, 2011 3:45 pm
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Tip number 5 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is, kids may be covered on your policy free of charge, but don’t forget to mention them.

This may sound obvious, but people have made the mistake of assuming their children will be covered even though they haven’t actually listed them when buying their travel insurance policy.

Many family travel insurance policies will cover children under 18 free of charge, when they are travelling with a parent or guardian insured on the same policy. Some insurers may limit the number of children that can be covered free, per insured adult, others have no limits.

The important thing to remember is that even though there is no charge to cover the children, you still need to list them when you buy a policy- If your insurer doesn’t know they exist they won’t be covered.

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Hospitalised abroad without travel insurance, who foots the bill?

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By , October 5, 2011 12:09 pm
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In short, if you don’t have travel insurance, the answer is you or perhaps your family if you’re lucky. However a recent survey by ABTA, the Travel Association has worryingly revealed that 21% of people wrongly believe that the UK Government will cover the costs.

The poll by ABTA has revealed some shocking statistics regarding UK travellers and their travel insurance buying habits.

ABTA’s survey has revealed that one in five, 20% of travellers, are running the risk of sky high medical bills when travelling abroad through not taking out travel insurance in spite of recent high profile cases highlighting the significant risks of doing so to both health and finances.

This fact may be partly explained by 21% mistakenly believing that the UK Government will cover their bills in the event that something goes wrong. One in four, 25% of 15-24 year olds think that this is the case.

Medical treatment abroad can be very expensive and to avoid being faced with large bills if taken ill or after having an accident, the Foreign Office urges people to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy every time they go away. Although the Foreign Office can provide support and assistance if you are hospitalised abroad, they do not foot the bill.

A recent case of an uninsured man having a motorcycle accident Bali draws attention to how high those costs can be. The man’s family are facing bills in excess of £120,000 for medical treatment and a further £110,000 for an air ambulance to fly him home.

The survey also revealed that 17% of respondents also mistakenly believe that travel insurance is unnecessary when travelling in Europe if they have a European Health Insurance Card.

This is not the case, because although an EHIC card entitles you to basic free state health care in the country you are travelling to, this is unlikely to be of the same standard that you would receive on the NHS and it does not cover repatriation back to the UK. Which means that you could find yourself stranded in a foreign hospital for months on end, or footing an expensive bill for air ambulance transport back to the UK.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 4 – Think about the start date on your annual travel insurance

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By , October 4, 2011 4:42 pm
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When you buy an annual travel insurance policy you will usually be asked when you want the travel insurance cover to start. Now, it may seem sensible to start your travel insurance cover on the date you depart for your next holiday, but that might leave you financially exposed if you need to cancel the trip.

For the same reason that you should buy single trip travel insurance cover as soon as you book your holiday, if you have a holiday booked you should start your annual travel insurance cover immediately.

That way, your annual travel insurance is in place in case you need to cancel your holiday for reasons beyond your control, such as illness, of either yourself or a close family member, redundancy or your home becoming uninhabitable.

If you already have an annual policy which is about to expire, you should start your new policy on the day after your current policy expires so that you get uninterrupted cover for cancellation and are not exposed to any unnecessary financial risk. 

When you have an annual travel insurance policy your insurance provider has a responsibility to contact you  before it expires to make sure that you are aware that your cover is about to end.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 3: Two good reasons to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday

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By , September 26, 2011 1:55 pm
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Many of people leave buying travel insurance to the last minute, if you’re one of them,  I’m going to give you two very good reasons why you should buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.

1. You or a family member falls ill and you need to cancel your holiday

Here’s the scenario, you research your holiday carefully, you book your holiday, pay for it and then you get on with the rest of your life whilst in the background dreaming about your upcoming trip. 

Then, the week before you go, you have a last minute panic about all the things you need to sort out before you go, such as currency, how you’re getting to the airport, who’s feeding the cat and buying travel insurance. You rush around getting everything sorted out and then jet off on holiday to relax and enjoy your break.

Now, consider a change in this scenario, you book and pay for your holiday, get on with the rest of your life and dream about your forthcoming trip, then two weeks before you are due to go on holiday, your daughter gets chicken pox and is not allowed to travel.  The result is that you have to cancel your family holiday.

If you’d already bought travel insurance, you’d be able to make a claim for the cost of the holiday under the cancellation section of the travel insurance policy.  You wait for your daughter to recover and re-book your holiday for a convenient date.

If you hadn’t already bought travel insurance, you’d be forced to cancel your holiday, you’d be out of pocket and may not be able to afford to book another holiday.
We all know that the most important aspect of travel insurance is to cover you for any unforeseen medical expenses whilst you’re away, but another important part is the cancellation cover that you get on your policy.

Cancellation cover is designed to provide financial protection for you in the event that you need to cancel your holiday due to various reasons such as illness or redundancy. The exact definition of this cover will vary with different travel insurance policies, so should always check the terms and conditions.

The key thing to remember is that when you book and pay for a holiday in advance, you should buy travel insurance immediately to protect that investment and when choosing which travel insurance policy make sure that the amount of cancellation cover included reflects the cost of your holiday.

2. A strike is announced that affects your travel plans

Another reason to buy travel insurance cover as early as possible and something I have touched on before, is to ensure that you are covered for travel delays due to strike action. For example the recent general strikes in Italy and Greece which affected air traffic control and caused cancellation and delays for many travellers.

If you booked your holiday and bought your travel insurance before any strike dates are announced you should be covered for travel delay and abandonment due to strike action.  This will usually take the form of a set benefit per 12 or 24 hours of delay to help cover additional expenses, such as food and drink, plus most travel insurance policies will also give you the option to ‘abandon’ your holiday after a delay of 12 or 24 hours and make a claim for the cost. This will be up to the amount specified in the policy, so make sure you buy cover that reflects the cost of your holiday.

If you buy travel insurance after a strike has been announced you will not be covered by your travel insurance if your holiday is affected. Once a strike has been announced it becomes a known risk, travel insurance is designed to cover unforeseen events.

The only way to ensure you would be covered is to buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. Look at it as a way of protecting the money you’ve invested in your holiday.

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Another day, another strike affecting UK holiday makers . . .

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By , September 22, 2011 8:51 am
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Public Transport Strike in Greece

It seems like barely a week passes before another strike is announced which could affect UK holiday makers. Qantas staff walked out over pay last week, and today Greece is being hit by another strike.

A 24 hour public transport strike is the latest protest against the Greek Government’s austerity measures.  Train, bus and taxi transport will all be affected and air traffic controllers will also walk out for several hours, causing disruption to flights.

Now I know I’ve said this before, and am going to sound repetitive, but this again highlights the importance of buying travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.  

Most travel insurance does cover strike action under the delay and abandonment sections of the policy, but only if your holiday was booked and your travel insurance policy was purchased before the strike was announced.

Once a strike is announced you are very unlikely to be able get travel insurance travel insurance that would cover you if your holiday was affected.

So, the really important thing is to buy travel insurance cover as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.

For more information about how travel insurance covers strike action read my post about the recent general strike in Italy.

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