Sorting out travel insurance should be part of your holiday preparations.
We’ve all heard horror stories of people needing emergency medical treatment abroad and then being landed with bills of thousands of pounds to pay. Yet nearly one in four people still travel abroad without travel insurance, according to the Association of British Travel Agents.
Last year 154,000 people claimed on their travel insurance for emergency medical treatment. The average claim was for £1,300 but some claims were much higher, running into the tens of thousands of pounds. On top of this there were 159,000 claims for cancelled holidays and numerous claims for lost and stolen luggage.
With the average annual travel insurance policy costing around £37 (less if you only need a single-trip policy), according to the Association of British Insurers, this makes travel insurance an essential for anyone travelling abroad.
This will depend on a number of factors such as:
Travel insurance policies can vary a lot but a good policy should include the following:
Other features a good policy should have include dental emergency cover, money cover and passport cover.
If you are going on any sort of activity holiday you will need a policy that provides cover for this.
If you have some travel insurance through your bank, a credit card, household contents insurance policy or private health insurance policy it’s worth looking closely at exactly what is covered as this often is insufficient.
For example, this type of insurance often only covers the most serious of medical emergencies such as the loss of a limb or an accident that leads to a permanent disability or death. So if you break a leg on the ski slopes, suffer from a bout of food poisoning or trip over and sprain your wrist, your doctor, hospital and repatriation costs may not be covered.
You may also have only limited cover for your luggage and you may not be entitled to any compensation if your transport is delayed or your holiday is cancelled.
If you’re travelling within the European Economic Area (this is all countries in the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland make sure you have a European Health Insurance card (EHIC) as this entitles you to the same level of state-provided healthcare as the people who live in the country you’re visiting. Not all countries have the same level of healthcare as you’d get in the UK and they may charge but at least you’ll pay no more than the locals. Your insurer may also insist that you use your EHIC if you receive treatment in the EEA or Switzerland.
While it’s good to have an EHIC it’s no substitute for travel insurance as it may well not cover all your medical care costs and it won’t cover the cost of getting you home if you need an air ambulance or to fly home early in an emergency.
These companies have signed up to the Safer Tourism Pledge