HomeLifestyleTravelTravel Guides

8 Common travel insurance mistakes to avoid

4 min read

8 Common travel insurance mistakes to avoid
With summer fast approaching, it's time to book your trips. However, there are several travel insurance mistakes that could stop you from getting a payout, and need to be avoided
If there’s one thing Brits love, it’s going on holiday. But it appears that many British holidaymakers are making some serious travel insurance mistakes when it comes to booking trips, with many being confronted with surprise medical or cancellation fees. But which mistakes are the most common, and how do we stop them from happening?
To help Brits prevent any unexpected travel insurance costs this year, insurance experts PayingTooMuch shared the eight most common travel mistakes people make when booking their holiday, and gave advice on how to prevent them happening to you.

1. Failing to disclose pre-existing medical conditions

It’s crucial that you tell your insurance provider about any medical conditions you have. This includes any medical problems you have experienced, or have been treated for recently. If you fail to disclose the information, you won’t be covered for any issues related to the condition while you’re on holiday.
"It’s crucial that you tell your insurance provider about any medical conditions you have "
Each insurance company is different, with some requesting you inform them of all conditions in the past five years, while others might only request information from the last 12 months. If you miss something out, and you run into a medical issue, you’ll likely have to pay for this yourself.
There are some medical conditions you should always let your insurers know about, even if they happened a long time ago. These include things like heart conditions, high blood pressure or cholesterol, diabetes, stroke or a brain haemorrhage.
If you’re not sure if you need to mention a medical condition you have, it’s worth asking your insurance provider.

2. Not letting your insurance provider know if there are any changes to your pre-existing medical conditions

Man in airport with feet up on case watching plane taking off
Another common mistake British holidaymakers fall into is failing to report any health changes.
To make sure you’re not out of pocket during your holiday, you need to inform your insurance provider of any developments in your medical history.
Insurers ask for medical information in order to give you the right level of cover. If anything changes health-wise, let your insurer know as soon as possible to avoid any complications.

3. Buying travel insurance too late

The third mistake they shared is something many Brits can be guilty of, leaving buying insurance until the last minute. A good rule of thumb is to organise your travel insurance at the same time you book your holiday.
Travel insurance covers you for your holiday as well as the period leading up to it. By booking your insurance at the same time as the holiday itself, you’ll be covered if anything changes, or you need to cancel your trip.
"By booking your insurance at the same time as the holiday, you’ll be covered if anything changes"
You should also avoid organising insurance once you’ve already departed for the holiday. You might be able to buy insurance at the airport, but you won’t be able to once you’ve left the country. Make sure you organise insurance well in advance so you’ll be covered for cancellations, and don’t run the risk of not being covered at all while you’re away.

4. Not updating your travel insurance policy if the location or date of your trip changes

Pins in countries in Asia on map
Another common mistake is not informing the insurer if your trip dates change.
For both single and annual multi-trip policies, you’ll need to let your insurer know if the destination of your trip changes. For annual policies, you need to tell your insurer if your holiday is outside of the area you’re already covered for.
This is especially important as insurance can cost more for some countries, like the US, where medical costs are far higher. Making sure you’re covered for the destination you’re actually going to is essential so you don’t end up with a huge unexpected payment.

5. Taking out an annual policy for a long-stay trip

Because annual policies typically cap trips at 31 days (though some extend to 50, age-dependent), consider a single-trip policy for broader options if you’re planning on a longer journey.

6. Getting your details wrong when booking travel insurance

Packing for a holiday
Make sure to check your details carefully. You won’t be covered if you’ve given your insurer the wrong information. Double-check everything you’ve entered before finalising your travel insurance.
Ensure you check your details as soon as you receive your documents. If you’ve spotted a mistake afterwards, most insurers will let you amend your details.

7. Relying on your GHIC/EHIC card without travel insurance

Another frequent mistake for Brits is the assumption that a GHIC or EHIC card will offer the same level of protection as your travel insurance, and therefore thinking you won’t need to buy insurance at all.
"Make sure you have travel insurance as well as your GHIC and EHIC cards "
The GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) and EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) give UK travellers access to healthcare services in the European Economic Area (EEC) and Switzerland. Even if you have one of these cards, you’ll still need to take out insurance.
GHIC and EHIC cover is limited to emergencies such as A&E visits or treatment for pre-existing health conditions, so might not cover all health costs, or cover fees if you need to get home in an emergency—so make sure you have travel insurance as well as your card to avoid any unexpected payments!

8. Choosing the cheapest policy

Plane taking off
While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest travel insurance policy to save money in the short run, the cheapest travel insurance policy may not include everything you potentially need.
If you need hospital treatment on holiday, you could end up out of pocket if you don’t have enough medical cover. If something happens to your baggage or if you experience cancellations, a cheap policy might not cover all the costs.
Make sure you compare key features and benefits of travel insurance policies, and not just the price. Insurance is vital for your trip, so make sure you take the time to understand what you’re paying for.
Banner photo: Gustavo Fring
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...