With the summer holidays just round the corner, you’re probably looking forward to kicking back and relaxing with some well-earned downtime. No more worries for me or you, for a week or two, as Cliff Richard sang. And Cliff had a point – leaving life’s worries behind is one of the best things about a good holiday. And, with a bit of planning, you can give yourself the best possible shot at a worry-free break. So make a little time before you go to note down all the things you absolutely don’t want to forget – passport, tickets, currency and so on. And for a really worry-free break, make sure that your list includes travel insurance that’s right for you. You’ve almost certainly got better things to do with your time than wading through the small print of insurance policies, but if you focus on avoiding a few common problems, you can do a lot to make sure that your policy won’t let you down if anything unwelcome and unexpected happens.
So what are the most common problems? Three particular types of cover seem to account most of the travel insurance complaints that end up with the Insurance Ombudsman:
- Medical expenses
- Lost or stolen property.
If you’re getting single trip insurance, the simplest thing you can do to avoid cancellation hassles is to take out your insurance as soon as you book. Your departure date might be a long way off but if, for example, you become too ill to travel before you get round to arranging your insurance, you won’t have a valid claim. And check that the policy has the right amount of cancellation cover to compensate you. If you’re going as a family or couple check whether the cancellation amount shown is per person, or for the whole party.
When it comes to medical expenses, these can mount up. As a rule of thumb, you should check that your policy covers at least £2 million medical expenses, backed up by a 24-hour assistance helpline. If you’re travelling in Europe, remember that your insurer may not cover your medical expenses if you haven’t got a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Insurers can exclude pre-existing medical conditions, so if you’re unsure about your health issues, make sure you’ve told the insurers and that you know what they will and won’t cover – and be prepared to argue your corner, or shop around if you think an insurer is being unduly restrictive.
If you’re planning something a bit more active than a couple of weeks on a sun lounger, you also need to know that your policy probably excludes hazardous sports and activities, so you might need extra cover for that rafting or paragliding experience.
Also, find out how quickly someone needs to contact the assistance helpline for a claim to be valid if somebody on the policy is hospitalised abroad (typically, within 24 hours).
Time also matters when it comes to claims for lost or stolen property. Typical policy deadlines can be 31 days for reporting a loss to the insurers and 24 to 48 hours for reporting a theft to the local police, so it pays to act quickly and keep your insurers’ number handy. And be aware when the insurer will be looking for paperwork (a police report or crime reference number in the case of theft, or a property irregularity report if your checked-in luggage has been lost or damaged). Before you buy travel insurance, you should also have a look at the policy limits and excesses, to make sure that your valuables are covered.
This doesn’t cover everything, but being aware of these three areas before you go away should give you that extra bit of peace of mind on that relaxing break you’ve been looking forward to. And if you want somebody to spend a bit more time looking into the boring policy wordings so you don’t have to, why not get in touch with 4U No Worries today? We’re here to keep your holidays – and the other stuff you care about – as worry-free as possible.
The information in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. You must not rely on the information in this article as an alternative to financial advice from an appropriately qualified professional. If you have any specific questions about any matter you should consult an appropriately qualified professional.