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You’ve packed the sunscreen, passports and holiday money, but have you remembered your holiday insurance?
Figures from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) reveal that 20% of British holidaymakers travel abroad every year without insurance, risking the extra stress and financial burden that can arise from unexpected events, such as illness, injury or last-minute cancellation.
With various policy types and levels of cover to choose from, here CashLady explores how to select the right holiday insurance policy for you.
Shop around for the best holiday insurance deals
If you’re buying your holiday through a travel agent then it may be tempting to purchase your travel insurance through them too, however, this can be up to seven times more expensive than buying it yourself.
Research online and use comparison websites, such as Money Supermarket and Compare the Market, which makes shopping around for the best travel insurance deals quick and easy. Free to use, they provide a simple way to compare deals and policy types from different insurers at a full range of prices.
How much holiday insurance cover do you really need?
According to figures from the Association of British Insurers, in 2015 the average medical expenses claim was more than £1,200, and the average cancellation claim was £800.
Depending on where you are travelling and what you plan to do there, the cheapest travel insurance policies might not provide the full level of cover that you need, while the more expensive policies might offer far more cover than you require. These travel insurance statistics will help you decide whether taking out holiday insurance is really worth the bother.
A beach holiday in France, for example, is likely to require less cover than an extreme sports trip in North America, where you are at higher risk of injury and medical bills are more expensive.
Think about whether you will be carrying lots of valuables and currency, or taking part in winter sports, as this will help you decide the type of policy you need and don’t forget to check the small print.
Apply for a European Health Insurance Card
If you’re travelling to Europe or Switzerland, then ensure that you have an up to date European Health Insurance Card for you and your family.
This isn’t a substitute for travel insurance but it does provide access to state-provided medical treatment at the same rates as a resident, meaning that if it is reduced price or free for them, then it will be exactly the same for you.
The card is completely free but beware of unofficial websites offering it for £25, which you can avoid by following the link above.
Is annual cover cheaper?
If you are planning to jet off at least twice over the year then you may find that an annual travel insurance policy is better value than a single trip cover.
Any savings depend on the details of your trips, including destinations and durations, so it’s best to run the figures through a comparison website first.
In most cases, an annual cover is a cheaper option if you are planning to go away three times or more over a 12 month period and it saves time having to organise insurance before each trip.
Consider a family or couple insurance policy
If you are travelling as a family or a couple then you should also consider a group policy as opposed to single cover, which in many cases is cheaper.
Run the figures before selecting your policy and be wary if anyone in your party is over 65 or has a pre-existing medical condition because this could push the overall price up.
Check whether you are already insured
Before rushing to buy a new travel insurance policy, first, check whether you are already covered.
Many banks offer annual cover as an extra with their premium current accounts, which charge a monthly fee and offer other services, such as breakdown cover. Be sure to check the details of the policy before you travel.
Don’t invalidate your travel insurance policy
Many insurance policies won’t pay out if they find that you have been irresponsible or drunk excess alcohol, so remember to take care, especially in new and unfamiliar surroundings.
Key points to consider when selecting your travel insurance
- Have you shopped around and compared the best deals?
- Would an annual policy be cheaper?
- What about a family or couple policy?
- Are you already covered? If so, check the details before you travel
- What level of cover do you really require?
- Have you checked the small print? This is especially important for winter sports