Arranging travel insurance is not the most exciting part of holiday planning. So it’s tempting to fix it lazily – perhaps simply by clicking on the link provided when booking flights, or taking out the cheapest cover flagged up by a price-comparison website.
But such policies won’t necessarily meet your specific requirements. To avoid finding yourself with inadequate insurance or having a claim rejected altogether, it pays to give some proper consideration to the cover you need.
Here are four areas where you should think especially carefully.
To avoid finding yourself with inadequate insurance or having a claim rejected altogether, it pays to give some proper consideration to the cover you need
If you have a ‘pre-existing’ illness or disease and you don’t declare it, then your cover may be invalid. You also need to inform the insurer of any medical issues affecting close relatives, if their health may cause you to cancel or curtail a trip.
To find reasonably priced cover, go to medicaltravelcompared.co.uk.
It provides quotes from a wide choice of insurers specialising in or geared favourably towards providing cover for those with medical conditions.
The cheapest policies have limits for valuables as low as £100 to £150 – much less than many phones, tablets, laptops or digital cameras are worth.
On more expensive policies, valuables limits can be £500 or more.
If that is still insufficient, consider paying extra for gadget cover as a bolt-on to a policy: insurefor.com offers £1,000 to £3,000 of cover for an extra £33 to £49 on an annual worldwide policy. Home-insurance policies offer valuables cover – under ‘personal belongings’ – while you’re away, but if you make a claim you’ll lose any no-claims discount.
Other areas to check the cover on offer include scheduled airline failure and so-called ‘consequential’ losses such as the cost involved in cancelling hotel or villa bookings
New security rules mean that if you’re flying to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia or Saudi Arabia, you can’t take larger electronic devices such as laptops and tablets on the plane as cabin luggage.
Though insurers don’t usually cover valuables checked in as hold baggage, some are making exceptions under these circumstances – but check with your insurer before you travel.
Even if you’re not particularly adventurous on holiday, before buying a policy read through the insurer’s list of sports and activities to establish which are automatically covered, which are covered only for an additional premium, and which are excluded.
Popular activities that may not be covered automatically include kite-surfing, white-water rafting, mountain- biking and paragliding, and policies often also only cover hiking up to a certain altitude, which may be no higher than 2,500 metres.
With winter sports, if you think you might want to go off-piste, check whether the policy will cover that or if it covers it only if you go with a guide, or if there are any other restrictions.
Other areas to check the cover on offer include scheduled airline failure and so-called ‘consequential’ losses such as the cost involved in cancelling hotel or villa bookings, along with situations resulting from natural disasters, strikes and civil unrest.
You may have to pay an additional premium to have these elements covered at all or comprehensively, but it can be worth it, particularly if you’re travelling independently instead of on a package.
Over-50s insurance specialists Staysure (staysure.co.uk) offers extended travel disruption and security cover for an additional £22 on a worldwide annual policy.