Travel insurance FAQs
Plenty of holidaymakers live to regret not taking out travel insurance, assuming their credit card accident cover, home insurance, or private health cover will offer enough protection. Travel insurance is vital, however, because an emergency abroad could prove very costly – but how do you know which policy to choose?
Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about travel insurance to help you shop around for the best policy.
What is travel insurance for?
Standard travel insurance generally includes cover for:
- lost and stolen possessions;
- medical treatment in case you fall ill or are injured while you're away;
- personal liability cover, in case you are sued for causing injury to someone or damaging property; and
- cover for cancellation or curtailment of your trip.
What 'exclusions' should I look out for?
Many standard travel insurance policies have a number of 'exclusions' – for example you may assume that the policy will cover your golf clubs or electronic goods within 'baggage cover', but some exclude certain items and devices such as mobile phones, so you may need additional cover for these.
What types of cover are available?
Standard travel insurance is available for single trips, or as an annual multi trip policy, and premiums are usually more expensive for trips to exotic ('higher risk') countries. If you take more than one or two holidays each year consider a multi trip policy – but remember these usually limit the number of days you can spend abroad during any one trip, so if you're off backpacking for several months you may need to find specialist 'extended trip' travel insurance.
Other specialist travel insurance includes policies for winter sports holidays, or travellers over the age of 65 – and if you do plenty of research you should find a policy well-suited to your individual circumstances and travel plans.
What is 'excess'?
An excess is the amount you pay if you make a claim. This varies from one insurance provider to the next. Some policies with a higher excess may be cheaper than equivalent policies with a lower excess.
What is classed as a 'pre-existing medical condition'?
A pre-existing condition is usually classed as a medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was either received or recommended. It's vital to tell your provider of any pre-existing medical conditions before you travel because a claim could be rejected if they feel you've withheld information they deem relevant to the claim. There may also be exclusions after a certain point during pregnancy.
When does cancellation cover start?
If your policy includes cancellation cover, this begins as soon as you buy the insurance – so it's important to buy your travel insurance as soon as you have booked flights or a holiday, even if it's months away.