The holiday season is just around the corner with the vast majority of the UK population looking forward to a well deserved break.
With the world at your feet - there are a million and one destinations to consider and plan for. Whether its two weeks of sun in the Balearics, a once in a lifetime trip to Rio to watch the footy or a trip up to Scotland to sample the Commonwealth Games, making the right preparations now could mean if things don't go to plan - all is not lost....
So once you’ve dug out your passport, the only remaining essential is a good Travel Insurance policy.
What you should look for
Protecting the cost of your holiday
Firstly think about protecting the cost of your holiday, with costs ranging anywhere from a couple of hundred quid to thousands of pounds it’s essential that you choose a policy which provides sufficient cover should you have to cancel.
The main reasons for cancelling a holiday are illness or injury, so make sure that you speak to your insurer to tell them about any medical conditions which you or your fellow travellers may suffer from, even if you think it is insignificant it’s always best to let your insurer know.
If you are taking your holiday in the UK, make sure that your insurance covers trips within the UK, most will, provided you have at least 2 nights pre-booked accommodation.
If you have chosen to forego the traditional package holiday and booked your travel and accommodation independently make sure that you are protected if your accommodation become uninhabitable due to severe weather or damage, or if a strike disrupts your travel plans.
Recently the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against travelling to Kenya, forcing thousands of holiday makers to change or cancel their plans, for those people who had booked outside of the traditional tour operators it led to uncertainty around whether their insurance covered them. This cover is not always included as standard and so you will need to look at the policy terms and consider the add-on options if this is not included as standard.
Protecting the cost of your healthcare
The next thing to think about protecting is your health; too many holidays are ruined because of illness or injury. With the average cost of medical treatment being around £800 in Europe, and on average double this in the U.S. it’s essential that your insurance provides ample cover for emergency treatment.
Check that your policy covers you for additional travel or accommodation cost if you have to return home early or if you are forced to stay beyond your planned return date; find out whether additional costs have to be paid and claimed back or whether your insurer will arrange everything for you – if you are seriously ill the last thing you want to do is worry about finding the extra money to get yourself home.
If you are travelling to Europe make sure you take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as this will entitle you reduced rate or free treatment in European state hospitals. For more information.
Remember – the EHIC should not be considered an alternative to Travel Insurance as it will not cover all medical costs or the cost of bringing you back to the UK.
Protecting your things
The next thing to think about is covering your belongings; Check with your household insurer as you may already have cover in place, but if not make sure you have sufficient cover with your Travel Insurance.
Check the level of cover you have, make sure that you have sufficient cover for those all important items you are taking with you; cameras, phones and tablets are often considered to be ‘valuables’ so make sure that the limit is enough to cover them as well as any jewellery that you may be taking.
Check the ‘single article limit’ as this may not be enough to cover certain items.
Make sure that you check the cover and limits for cash and whether you have cover for lost or stolen tickets, passports or visas.
Additional consideration should be made to ensure that you will be covered for the type of holiday you are planning and for any activities you are likely to take part in – sunbathing may be your priority, but what about ringo’s or banana boats?
If you are planning a skiing holiday you may need to buy additional cover for winter sports, even if you are planning a day dry slope skiing!
A standard Travel Insurance policy should cover most activities, but if you are planning something unusual or dangerous you may need to buy a specialist insurance.
Remember if you are injured while taking part in a sport or activity that isn’t covered you’ll not be covered for any emergency medical treatment that you may require.
Service – when it counts
Should anything happen that impacts your travel plans – the value of a top-notch claims service really counts. Ensure you know how to contact your insurer – are they available 24/7 if you need to contact them in the event of an emergency? If you needed emergency medical treatment would they take control of the situation, speak to doctors and hospitals and arrange payment or medical costs for you? If you had to be brought home would they take care of the arrangements on your behalf? Like with so many other things – what you pay is what you get and so consideration to the service you receive is needed.
Wherever you are off to on your travels this summer – enjoy, be safe and make it a long lasting memory
NFPTGA0049 June 2014