What Should Your Travel Insurance Cover?
Travel insurance is considered such an essential part of going away that most holiday companies offer to include it in the overall price of a booking. Savvy consumers know they can take out holiday insurance independently and save money, so many choose to go down this route.
It is believed as many as 20% of people in the UK don’t take out insurance before they travel. Ironically, usually people in this group end up falling ill, or experiencing an incident that leads to them incurring considerable expense which would have been covered under an insurance policy.
Getting the Best Travel Insurance
While taking out holiday insurance can be confusing— understanding what is and isn’t covered being the main culprit—all policies should cover the basics. When shopping for travel insurance, individuals should consider any additional features they need. Many insurance providers will automatically assume a need for extras, although often these are an unnecessary cost. Cheap travel insurance is easily available to the holidaymaker that understands what they need.
What are the basics that a holiday insurance policy should cover?
Cancellation Cover on Both Sides
Cancellation cover is a standard feature of travel insurance and in most cases the thing that will prevent someone from losing a lot of money. Knowing the level of cancellation cover needed is easy; simply calculate the total cost of the holiday.
It pays to know what is covered when it comes to cancellations. Being made redundant and no longer being able to afford to travel, the hotel where a booking was made closing down, and serious illness—including to family members—are usually covered as standard. Some insurers will also cover close friends becoming ill prior to a trip, and a range of other unforeseen circumstances. Such policies will cost more but ensure peace of mind.
Flight delays in excess of 12 hours should be compensated as standard. Holidaymakers are also encouraged to keep any receipts for expenses incurred because of a delay. A new book, meals, and anything else that is a reasonable expense will usually be reimbursed, though a sizeable bar bill probably won’t be!
Luggage and Personal Belongings
Most insurers will cover lost luggage up to £1,500, although there is often a limit on cover for specific lost or damaged valuables like tablet devices and digital cameras, usually up to £500. Holidaymakers should question the need to travel with such valuables, or consider taking on board as hand luggage.
Cover for any cash stolen is usually capped at £500, too.
Personal Liability Cover
Holidaymakers are recommended to travel with personal liability cover up to £1million. This covers any injuries or damage to property that may be inflicted by the holidaymaker, and specifically claims made by a victim or property owner affected. Personal liability cover is usually only valid in the event of an accident and wouldn’t cover an assault, for example, or deliberate damage to property or belongings.
Emergency Assistance and Medical Cover
A 24-hour emergency helpline for holidaymakers is the industry standard in the insurance sector today; it is worth checking that it is actually a 24-hour manned helpline. Some insurers will have an answerphone taking messages round the clock but only have people calling back in a certain period; not ideal in an emergency.
Medical cover is often the biggest concern holidaymakers have when travelling, with cover of £2million recommended to cover any bills, treatments, and travel back to the UK if needed.
Many holiday insurance policies will offer cover over and above the benchmarks provided here, though in reality these figures are what most claims will go up to and therefore represent what is truly needed. Higher levels of cover will always cost more.
Avoid paying excessive travel insurance premiums for a level of cover that isn’t necessary!