Travel insurance: Explaining the sections of cover

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travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of the complicated forms of insurance you can buy

When you buy travel insurance you will often be presented with a schedule of benefits, usually in the form of a table which shows you the name of the section of cover e.g. Cancellation and Curtailment, and a maximum amount of travel insurance cover provided under that section e.g. £2000, this is usually specified as a per person value. But do you know what all the names of travel insurance sections mean and what they are actually intended to provide cover for?

If you do find travel insurance confusing, it’s not surprising really, because travel insurance is one of the most extensive and complicated insurance policies that you can buy. It provides cover for so many different types of risks, from emergency medical expenses to lost or stolen personal possessions, personal liability, legal expenses and pet care! In this article we explain the most common sections in a travel insurance policy, what they cover and what to look out for when you are comparing travel insurance.

Our explanations are a general overview of travel insurance; they are not applicable to any particular travel insurance provider or policy. As with any other type of insurance, you should always read the terms and conditions carefully when you buy travel insurance and if you are unsure of anything contact your travel insurance provider who will be able to explain the cover to you.

Emergency Medical/Repatriation Expenses

Medical and repatriation cover

Medical and repatriation cover - Travel Insurance

This is the most important section of your travel insurance cover, as the cost of medical treatment abroad can be very expensive, easily running into thousands of pounds. It provides insurance cover for the cost of emergency medical treatment overseas, and if necessary your repatriation back to the UK if you are unable to travel on your pre-arranged transport. This could be by air ambulance if necessary, or an alternative scheduled flight.

Most travel insurance policies provide a 24 hour emergency support line as part of their medical travel cover; they are there to help you in the event of a medical emergency.

To ensure that you are properly covered by your travel insurance for medical expenses you need to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance.

Cancellation and Curtailment

The cancellation and curtailment section of a travel insurance policy provides cover if you need to cancel your holiday before you depart, or curtail (cut short) your holiday whilst you are abroad due to various reasons, which will be specified in the terms and conditions. Most travel insurance policies will provide cover for you to cancel due to illness, the illness of a close relative (as defined by the policy) redundancy or your home becoming inhabitable.

When choosing travel insurance look at the amount of cover provided for cancellation and curtailment and compare it to the cost of your holiday. The amount of cover provided under a travel insurance policy is usually listed per person, not per policy. So think about what your holiday cost per person.

Remember, travel insurance is designed to cover any unrecoverable costs as a result of cancelling or curtailing your holiday – so you can only claim for the costs that your holiday supplier won’t refund.

travel delay - travel insurance

Travel insurance provides cover for travel delay


Travel Delay and Abandonment


This section of your travel insurance provides a benefit if your outbound or inbound international journey is delayed, due to various reasons such as strikes and industrial action, adverse weather and mechanical breakdown.

Travel delay cover provides a fixed benefit, designed to cover the cost of additional expenses such as food and drink whilst you wait at the airport, it can be anything from £10 to £50, for every 12 or 24 hours that you are delayed.

If you are delayed by more than 24 hours most travel insurance policies also give you the option to abandon your holiday and make a claim for any unrecoverable costs up to the amount specified in the Cancellation section of the policy.

Check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy for more details – You usually have to have checked in for your flight in order to make a claim, and you will need to get a letter from your airline confirming the delay.

In the case of strikes and industrial action, if your travel plans are affected you should have cover under the Travel Delay section of your travel insurance policy as long as you bought your travel insurance before the strike dates became common knowledge.

Missed departure - travel insurance

Missed departure

Missed Departure

The missed departure section of your travel insurance policy usually provides cover for the cost of additional travel expenses in the event that you miss the departure of your outward or final return journey home, due to an accident, or an electrical or mechanical breakdown of the vehicle you are travelling in. The exact terms and conditions of this cover will vary with different travel insurance policies, so you should read your policy wording carefully.

Be aware, you are unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance for missed departure due to bad weather, because you are expected to leave a reasonable amount of time to complete your journey in whatever weather conditions are prevalent at the time.

Personal Possessions or Baggage Cover

Personal Possessions Cover - Travel Insurance

Personal Possessions Cover is part of Travel Insurance

This section of a travel insurance policy provides cover for the accidental loss, damage or theft of your baggage and personal possessions, up to the amount specified in the schedule of benefits.

When you are looking at the amount of cover you have for this section, don’t just look at the overall limit. Look out for a single article limit and a valuables limit.

In order to make a claim under the personal possessions section of a travel insurance policy you will be expected to have taken reasonable care of your possessions, for instance valuable items, such as cameras should be kept on your person, not put in your checked-in baggage during a flight.

Personal Money

Personal money cover - travel insurance

Personal money cover - travel insurance

The personal money section of a travel insurance policy provides cover for the accidental loss or theft of your personal money whilst you are on holiday.

The terms and conditions of most travel insurance policies will state that in order to be covered your money must be kept on your person, in a safe or locked securely in accommodation which is under your control. As with the travel insurance for your personal possessions, you are expected to take reasonable care of your money in order to be covered, travel insurance does not provide cover if you are reckless or careless.

Delayed Baggage

Delayed baggage cover - travel insurance

Travel insurance provides cover if your baggage is delayed

Delayed baggage provided a fixed benefit in the event that your baggage is delayed on your outbound journey. It is designed to cover the cost of some replacement clothing and toiletries until your luggage arrives at your destination.

You should keep the receipts for any replacement items that you purchase and you will need to obtain a letter from your airline confirming that your baggage was delayed and the length of time it was delayed for.

 

 

Passport and Travel Documents

Lost passport cover - travel insurance

Lost Passport

This section of a travel insurance policy provides cover for the reasonable costs of replacing your passport or travel documents to allow you to return to the UK following accidental loss or theft.

If you need to obtain a replacement passport whilst you are abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be able to help you, via the nearest British Consular Office. However there will be a cost involved in this, which is where your travel insurance can help.

Hospital Benefit

Hospital benefit - travel insurance

Hospital benefit

If you are unlucky enough to fall ill or have an accident abroad and you have to stay in hospital as an in-patient, this section of your travel insurance provides a benefit payment for each 24 hour period that you spend in hospital, up to the maximum amount specified.

Hospital benefit is designed to cover additional expenses that you may incur as a result of you being hospitalised.

Personal Accident Cover

Your travel insurance policy will usually include an element of personal accident cover. This means that if you sustain bodily injury whilst you are on holiday, due to an accident, which directly results within in your death or permanent disablement you should receive a benefit payment as specified in the policy terms and conditions.

Personal Liability

Personal Liability provides insurance cover up to the amount specified, if you are found legally liable for costs relating to you accidentally injuring someone, or damaging or losing their property whilst you are on holiday.

Legal Expenses

The legal expenses section of a travel insurance policy provides cover for your legal expenses up to the amount specified, if you have to claim compensation or damages from another person due to something that happened during the period of your insurance (whilst you were away on holiday).

The legal expenses cover will usually include the appointment of a lawyer on your behalf who will defend your legal rights.

Catastrophe Cover or Replacement Accommodation Cover


This section of your travel insurance is designed to cover additional accommodation and/or travel expenses if you are forced to move from your pre-booked accommodation as a result of a catastrophe such as hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake or medical epidemic. It is designed to enable you to continue your holiday or if your trip cannot be continued, return to the UK early.

This travel insurance is designed to cover additional irrecoverable costs, so if you have been forced to move accommodation, but your tour operator has organised it all with no cost to yourself, there will be nothing to claim for.

If you do have to move accommodation whilst you are away due to flood, fire or earthquake etc. you will need to get a letter from a local authority confirming the cause. You should also obtain receipts for your additional expenses.

Hijack - travel insurance

Hijack cover

Hijack

Since 9/11 hijack cover seems a little out dated, nonetheless it is generally an element of most travel insurance policies. It provides a daily benefit in the event that the aircraft or ship you are travelling in is hijacked, and you are delayed in reaching your destination. Like travel delay cover, it will usually a fixed amount for every 12 or 24 hours that you are delayed.

Pet Care

Petcare is often included in travel insurance policies

Petcare is often included in travel insurance policies

The pet care section of a travel insurance policy provides a daily benefit, to cover additional kennel or cattery fees if you are delayed for a specified amount of time, generally 12 or 24 hours, on your return journey and therefore unable to collect your pet at the pre-arranged time.

Not an important element of travel insurance for some people, but if you do have a pet, it’s nice to know that you have cover for additional expenses if your return home is delayed. It does also give us an excuse to include a picture of a cute kitten!

That is just a quick run through of the cover available in a standard travel insurance policy. When you buy travel insurance, whichever policy you choose, you should read the terms and conditions carefully and if there is anything you are unsure of, contact your travel insurance provider for more information.

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