Travelling abroad? Do you know what insurance you need? 

Who doesn’t love a holiday adventure! Whether it’s a weekend city break, an adventure on the other side of the world, or a week relaxing on a beach! One thing we need for our holiday is a valid travel insurance policy. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) revealed that in 2017 over 10 million people went on holiday without the right travel insurance. Ok, so we all see the horror stories in the news and think, oh! That won’t happen to me, but what if it does? Is it really worth the risk? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about travel insurance.

Why should I take out travel insurance?

Quite simply travel insurance is a there to protect you in case the worst case scenarios happens whilst you are on holiday. Medical treatment abroad can quickly and easily run into thousands of pounds and what about if all your luggage gets lost, can you afford to replace it?

Travel insurance doesn’t need to cost the earth, but you do need to make sure that you have the right cover to suit the needs of your trip. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your travel insurance and if you are planning more than one trip throughout the year an annual policy could work out as better value for money. You may have noticed that when you book a flight or holiday you are offered insurance through that provider, it’s worth putting your requirements into a price comparison site to see whether the price being offered is good value for money as there may be cheaper like for like alternatives out there.

Do you already have travel insurance included with your bank account? Some packaged bank accounts come with travel insurance as an incentive to bank with a particular provider. If you think this applies to you but you’re not sure of the terms and conditions, its best to give your bank a call. Questions you might want to ask are, will it cover your existing medical conditions? Does it provide cover for trips out of Europe? Are your luggage and valuables covered? Are you covered for delayed or missed flights? What is the level of excess?

What does travel insurance actually cover?

Normally, most travel insurance policies will cover you for lost or stolen bags (although this may be in the additional extras section of some policies), emergency medical expenses, cancelled or delayed trips and personal liability. However, you need to read the terms and conditions fully to make sure you are completely happy with the policy you are purchasing.

What activities are you planning whilst away, scuba diving or water sports in sunnier climates or are you planning on a winter sports trip such as skiing or snowboarding? Most of these activities are classified as dangerous and would probably not be covered under your standard insurance policy and would require you to take out extra cover.

How old are you? If you are over 65 and have any pre-existing medical conditions, you might need to purchase specialist insurance. Age aside for a moment, its vitally important that when you are filling out your insurance application you answer all medical questions honestly, even if you don’t think it’s important. If you do not give your insurer all the required information, should you make a claim, there is a risk that it will invalidated.

Where are you travelling to? If the country you are planning on travelling to is deemed unsafe by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office then it’s unlikely that you will be able to purchase travel insurance. Not sure whether this applies to your next trip? For a list of countries’ information click here.

Do I need travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?

Many of us will be familiar with the EHIC card (formally E111) but a lot of people consider this to be a replacement for travel insurance if travelling in Europe, but it’s not. The EHIC card entitles you to the same level of state provided medical care as someone who lives in the country you are visiting. The EHIC card can be used throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be given the same level of care as you would receive by the NHS and you will still have to pay for treatment if that’s how the system works in the particular country you’re visiting. The EHIC card will also not get you home should you have a medical emergency whilst on holiday, which can often be extremely costly.

Having said that, it’s most definitely worth having an up to date card in your purse or wallet when travelling. Many people are asking whether Brexit will affect you when using an EHIC card. It’s thought that 27 million Britons have an EHIC card and can benefit from free medical emergency care, so is this about to stop? In all honesty, no-one has a clear view and Brexit is due to take place on 29th March 2019, so until then it’s business as usual.

Did you know the EHIC card expires every five years, so when did you last check whether yours is still valid? It’s reported that in2016  5.3 million people travelled with an out of date card, so make sure you check yours well in advance of travelling. It’s also worth double checking the country you are travelling to and what you can use the card for, it’s better to have too much information that none at all.

What insurance do I need for a gap year?

If you are thinking about taking some time out and travelling for a year, then you need to make sure you have the correct insurance. Most comparison websites will have several options when you are selecting which type of travel insurance you require. These are usually single, annual multi trip policy or backpacker and for a gap year you need the backpacker option. A gap year policy is different from an annual multi trip policy as it will cover you for the entire duration that you plan to be away. It’s worth noting that gap year policies are aimed at younger people so make sure you read the policy terms and conditions properly to ensure all your destinations are covered.

What is actually covered by gap year insurance? As you would expect from normal travel insurance you will be covered for loss of baggage, illness, accident and medical cover. However, some policies will also cover activities such as working abroad. Another thing to be mindful of is that you can tailor your policy depending on whether you are travelling alone or with other people.

What are the common exclusions on a gap year policy? When planning your travel itinerary it’s worth remembering that countries that are in a state of political unrest or considered a war zone might not be covered. Also, what activities will you be partaking in whilst away? Whilst your policy should cover basic adventure sports, dangerous activities might not be included. So it’s worth taking five minutes to read the exclusions, making sure that you are only partaking in activities that are covered, or seeking specialist insurance if necessary. Be honest on your application! This applies for all insurance policies, but it’s vital that you are honest about any pre-existing medical conditions. In the long run it’s worth paying a bit more for your insurance, than potentially being hit with hefty premiums later down the line when you need to make a claim.

When deciding on which policy to purchase it’s important you read the exclusions carefully as some of these might be part of your holiday requirements. It’s worth spending a bit more money to make sure you have the cover you really need. Keep an eye on the excess amount as this will be different on each policy and choose an amount that you think is affordable. If that means having to pay more for the policy up-front then so be it, you don’t want to be in the situation where you need to claim on your insurance but you can’t afford the excess.

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