Posts tagged: travel insurance

Travel Insurance Tip No 2: Are you eligable for cover?

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By , September 21, 2011 3:04 pm
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2. Check that you are eligible for travel insurance cover and buy the policy before you leave the UK.

Tip number 2 of our top ten travel insurance tips is to check that you are eligible for the travel insurance cover you want to buy and to make sure you buy your travel insurance policy before you leave the UK.

When you buy travel insurance, online or by phone, you will usually be presented with a list of requirements to ascertain whether you are eligible to be covered under that policy.

You must read these requirements carefully and be honest, because if you are not eligible for cover and you go ahead and purchase the travel insurance anyway, your policy will not be valid and you will not be covered if you need to make a claim.

Most travel insurance policies sold by insurance providers in the UK, require you to be a UK resident in order to be covered. Definitions of a UK resident may vary from policy to policy, but a common requirement is that you have been living in the UK for 6 months or more at the time of purchase. They will probably also require you to have been registered with a general practitioner or GP for 6 months.

Other requirements are likely to include:

– You need to be in the UK when you buy the travel insurance policy.
– The trip must start and finish in the UK and the policy must cover the entire duration of your holiday.

This means it’s vital that you remember to buy your travel insurance before you depart on your trip. Once you have the left the UK it is too late and you won’t be able to get travel insurance cover.

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General strike in Italy: Does travel insurance cover you for strike action?

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By , September 7, 2011 12:39 pm
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Strikes or other industrial action can affect anybody’s holiday, it doesn’t matter how well organised you are, it’s completely out of your control. What you can control is the travel insurance you buy and when you buy it – and this could make a difference if your holiday is effected by strike action.

POMD: January 17, 2009 by Rosa Say, on Flickr

POMD: January 17, 2009 by Rosa Say, on Flickr

Although the on-going battle between BA and it’s cabin crew appear to have been resolved for the time being, this summer has seen industrial action in several countries, such as Spain, Greece and now Italy, caused by economic conditions and austerity measures.

Yesterday saw yet another strike which had an impact on British holiday makers. Italy’s largest trade union confederation, CGIL, staged a one day nationwide general strike as a result of the Italian Government’s austerity measures.

Strikes affecting air services ran from 10am to 6pm yesterday, with many flights in and out of Italy being cancelled, and the disruption is likely to have a knock on effect over the next couple of days.

With the threat of industrial action impacting travel arrangements ever present, it’s important to know what your travel insurance should cover you for, and how to make sure you get the most benefit from your travel insurance cover.

Buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday.

The most important thing to do is to make sure that you buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, or if you have annual travel insurance, make sure you don’t let the cover lapse. If you’ve paid for a holiday in advance, you should have travel insurance in place to protect that investment.

Generally speaking, as long as you have booked your holiday and bought your travel insurance before strike dates are announced you will be covered under the travel delay section of your travel insurance, if your flight or holiday is affected by industrial action.

Once a strike is announced you are very unlikely to be able get travel insurance that would cover you if your holiday was affected. Think about it, travel insurance is designed to cover you if something unexpected happens, therefore if you already know that your flight is likely to be affected by industrial action before you buy the policy, you won’t be covered.

The travel delay section of your policy will usually allow you to claim a fixed benefit for every 12 hours you are delayed, or if you have a long delay eg. Over 12 or 24 hours, you will usually have the option to abandon your holiday and make a claim for the cost. You should check your policy wording to see the terms and conditions of your own policy.

The best way to ensure that you will be covered is to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. This will mean that you’re covered by the delay section of the travel insurance policy if a strike is announced; it also means you get the full benefit of cancellation cover, for instance, if you are unable to travel because you become ill.

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FCO highlights importance of travel insurance

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By , September 1, 2011 10:02 am
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Every year the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) publishes a report entitled ‘British Behaviour Abroad’. The report details the numbers of UK citizens that the FCO have provided help and assistance to over the course of the year, it also highlights the importance of travel insurance.

Did you know that you are statistically most likely to need consular assistance in Thailand? And if you do require assistance the chances are you will also incur unexpected expenses such as medical fees or the cost of replacing a passport – that’s where travel insurance comes in.

See our illustration ‘Brits Abroad’ which combines figures from the FCO report with information on lost luggage and flight delays to illustrate the why travel insurance matters.

Travel insurance, hospitalisation and medical expenses

3689 Brits were hospitalised abroad in the year from April 2009 to March 2010. The highest number of hospitalisations occurred in Spain, however in proportion to the number of visitors, Brits were statistically most likely to be hospitalised in Thailand.

Although the FCO can provide assistance, such as contacting family or visiting you in hospital, if you require hospitalisation or medical treatment abroad, they won’t cover the cost. This why it’s important to have travel insurance comes.

The case of a British National who fell off the back of a motorbike in Thailand illustrates the importance of taking out travel insurance every time you travel. The man seriously injured his knee, and despite taking the prescribed medication it became severely infected and he required intravenous antibiotics. Fortunately he was insured and his travel insurance covered the full cost of his treatment which came to about £10,000. Without travel insurance, the man would have had to foot the bill himself. In comparison to a few pounds on a travel insurance policy, this is huge expense that most people simply could not afford.

An example without such a satisfactory ending is that of a 19 year old man who was on a working holiday in Australia. During a party he fell from a 3rd floor apartment and landed on a concrete pavement below. His injuries were severe and he remained in intensive care for several weeks. Fortunately his emergency hospital treatment was covered under the reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and Australia. But he had let his travel insurance expire, so his parents had to cover the high cost of bringing him back to the UK.

Got an EHIC? You still need travel insurance

You may think if you are travelling to Europe you can make do with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) instead of travel insurance, but that is not the case. The FCO highlights the case of a British man who spent 5 weeks in hospital in Spain after a serious motorcycle accident. He was repatriated back to the UK by his travel insurance company. If he did not have travel insurance this could have been a very different story and the man could have been stuck in a Spanish hospital for much longer.

Although an EHIC entitles you to reduced cost or free emergency care within the European Economic Area and Switzerland, it is not a replacement for travel insurance, because as illustrated above, it does not provide cover for repatriation back to the UK.

Get travel insurance cover for activities

A man was on a skiing holiday when he had a bad fall, breaking his collar bone. He ended up with a €4500 bill for mountain rescue, transport and medical costs because he didn’t have adequate travel insurance cover.

The lesson to learn here is, always check that your travel insurance will cover you for the sports and activities that you intend to take part in whilst you’re away.

Lost and stolen passports are covered by travel insurance

In the year, April 2009 to March 2010, the FCO dealt with over 27,000 cases of lost or stolen passports. In proportion to the number of visits, UK travellers are statistically most likely to have their passport lost or stolen in New Zealand. One reason for this is that a driving licence is not accepted as a valid form of id in bars and pubs, therefore Brits carry their passports with them to prove their age.

Although the FCO can issue a replacement passport, they don’t do it free of charge and I’m guessing that a replacement passport was not what you planned to spend your hard earned holiday cash on. Travel insurance can cover the cost of a replacement passport in the event that yours is lost or stolen whilst you are away.

Lost and delayed baggage – check your travel insurance

According to the Association of European Airlines, you have a 1 in 77 chance of losing your bag when you fly with a European Airline. From November 2008 to March 2009 European Airlines lost 1,583,068 bags. Although 85% of mishandled luggage is reunited with its owner within a day or 2, it is still highly inconvenient if you arrive in your holiday destination without a change of clothes.

Travel insurance can provide a benefit to cover necessary expenses such as toiletries and clothes if you reach your resort before your bag does.

And, in the unfortunate event that you never become reunited with your bag, your travel insurance can provide cover which will help you replace your lost possessions.

Flight delays and travel insurance

In 2010, the average flight delay from a UK Airport was 16.85 minutes, with just under 1% of flights delayed by more than 3 hours. 1% may not seem like many flights but that equated to 12,374 flights in 2010. (Figures from the CAA, analysed by

If your flight is delayed, your travel insurance can provide a benefit to help cover additional expenses, such as food and drink whilst you wait at the airport. Many travel insurance policies also give you the option to abandon your holiday and claim back the cost after a delay of 12 or 24 hours. Check your travel insurance policy for details.

The FCO and travel insurance

Wherever you go on holiday, and whatever you’re doing, from visiting friends to taking part in adventurous activities it is important to have adequate travel insurance for your trip. The FCO are available to offer you assistance when things go wrong abroad, but they don’t pick up the cost – that’s where your travel insurance comes in.

Visit the FCO website for the latest information on a country before you travel and be aware that your travel insurance may not cover you if you travel against FCO advice.

This article is intended to provide a general guide to the importance of travel insurance. You should refer to the terms and conditions of your policy for detailed information on cover and benefits.

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Travel insurance tip no.1: Are your travel dates right?

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By , August 21, 2011 9:26 am
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1. Get your travel dates right on your travel insurance policy

It sounds simple, but it’s a mistake that people do make, and it’s very important to get it right because if you don’t you could invalidate your whole travel insurance policy.

A common mistake is to start your travel insurance policy on the date that you arrive in, or leave resort, rather than the date you leave or arrive home, which on a long journey could be different. Be careful with return flights that leave resort late at night, it could be the next morning by the time you land back in the UK.

It is very important that you buy travel insurance cover for the entire duration of your holiday. This means that your outbound journey and return journey must both be completed during the period of travel insurance cover. If you don’t do this your policy could be invalidated and you will be effectively travelling without insurance cover.

It only takes a second to double check your travel dates when you buy your travel insurance policy to ensure that you will be covered.

See more travel insurance tips.

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