Top 10 Travel Insurance Tips

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Buying travel insurance these days is easy; you can get instant cover online or by phone in a matter of minutes. But sometimes its worth slowing down for a minute; take the time to check that you’re getting the right cover for you and your holiday and avoid making a mistake.

Overlooking an important detail or entering the wrong travel date could cost you dearly if something goes wrong and you find that you are not covered.

But don’t worry, it’s easy to get it right, just take your time and follow these simple tips.

1. Get your travel dates right

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 policy.

Your travel insurance policy must cover you for the entire duration of your trip, including the day you leave home and the day you arrive back in the UK.

More information on travel insurance tip no.1: Are your travel dates right?

2. Check that you are eligible for cover and buy the policy before you travel.

Most travel insurance policies sold 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, a common requirement is that you have been living in the UK for 6 months or more at the time of purchase and are registered with a UK GP.

You also need to be in the UK when you buy the policy.
So, make sure you remember to buy your travel insurance before you depart on your trip. Once you arrive in resort it’s too late.

3. Don’t hang around – buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday.

To get the full benefit of cancellation cover you should buy your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. That way you’re covered if you need to cancel for various reasons such as illness or redundancy.

Another reason to buy cover as early as possible is to make sure you are covered for delays due to strike. If you buy travel insurance after a strike has been announced, you are very unlikely to be able to make a claim if your holiday is affected.

4. Get the start date on your annual travel insurance right

When you buy an annual policy you will usually be asked when you want the cover to start.

It might seem like a good idea to start the cover on the date you depart for your next holiday, but that might leave you financially exposed if you need to cancel the trip.

If you already have a holiday booked you should start your annual cover immediately, that way you are covered in case you need to cancel the holiday for various reasons such as illness or redundancy.

5. Kids may be covered free of charge, but don’t forget to mention them.

Many family policies will cover children under 18 free of charge. Even though there is no charge, you still need to list them when you buy a policy. If your insurer doesn’t know they exist they won’t be covered.

6. Declare any pre-existing medical conditions

No matter how minor a condition may seem, 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, even if these are controlled by medication.

If you decide not to declare a condition you run the risk of incurring medical bills amounting to thousands of pounds if you need medical treatment abroad

7. Tailor your policy to suit your budget and your holiday

Gone are the days when you simply took whichever insurance was on offer from your travel agent.

Today it’s easy to tailor your policy to get the right cover for your holiday by adding additional options or making sure that you’re not paying for cover that you don’t need.

If your luxury trip to the Maldives cost £5000 per person, make sure you’ve got cancellation cover to reflect that.

On the same note, if you’re staying in youth hostels or camping, the amount of cancellation cover won’t be so important.

Check out what additional options are available such as Scheduled Airline Failure, Or Natural Catastrophe cover which provides cover for incidents like volcanic ash.

Some of these add-ons can be particularly useful if you book your holiday independently rather than with a bonded tour operator – so check them out.

8. If you’re travelling to Europe get an EHIC

The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC entitles you to low cost (and sometimes free) healthcare in the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

Although it shouldn’t be used instead of travel insurance, because it won’t cover all medical cost or repatriation, there are advantages to having one.

For instance, mnny travel insurance providers will forego the excess payment on a medical claim if you have used an EHIC card when you received treatment.

9. Get covered for sports and activities

Think about whether you’re going to take part in any sports or activities on holiday. If you are, check the policy details to see if they are covered as standard or whether you need to buy extra cover.

Winter sports is the obvious one, but there are many popular activities which may require additional cover such as bungee jumping, quad biking or scuba diving.

10. Do your research before you travel

No matter where you’re going on holiday, it pays to do some research first. Strikes, civil unrest and health issues can all affect your travel insurance cover.

Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for the latest information before you travel, and be aware that if you travel to a country or region against Foreign Office advice your travel insurance could be invalid.

And think about vaccinations, if you don’t get the recommended vaccinations before you travel to a country and then become ill – you may not be covered.

Now, I know we’ve already done 10 tips, but one last thing is worth mentioning. When you buy a travel insurance policy in the UK you are entitled to a 14 day cooling off period.

This gives you the time, after you’ve bought your policy, to read through the terms and conditions carefully and to ensure that it provides the cover you need.

Use this time to check that all the details you’ve provided, such as dates, names and ages are correct.

If the cover doesn’t suit you, or some of the details are incorrect you should be able to get a refund or amend the policy without charge during this period.

Buying travel insurance for your holiday is easy, just take a bit of time to check that you’ve got the cover you need, then relax and enjoy your trip!

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