Arranging travel insurance is a tedious, but vital, part of planning your next dream holiday or weekend break abroad.
Without cover, you could end up having to foot a sky-high medical bill if something goes wrong while you're away.
Here are some thinks you should consider before investing in travel insurance.
1. Buy before you book
Sort out your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip. Most travel insurance policies come with cancellation cover, so if you or a close relative falls ill for example, and therefore you can't make the trip, you may be able to get the money back you paid for your holiday.
2. Shop around
It's tempting to take the hassle-free option of signing up for the travel insurance promoted on the website of the airline you're booking with, or to take out the insurance offered by your travel agent or holiday company. But as a general rule, you are likely to find cheaper, and better value, cover elsewhere. Turn to a price-comparison website, and see what they can come up with. However, it's important not to select a policy solely on price. Cheapest policies can have low levels of cover for baggage, and high excesses.
3. Match the package to your needs
Consider multi-trip policies, and policies for couples and families. On many family policies, you don't need to travel together to be insured. Also, if you travel abroad more than twice a year, taking out an annual, multi-trip policy that will cover you for any number of trips within a 12-month period, is likely to reap savings over buying single-trip policies, and saves you valuable time. It also works out cheaper, and is less hassle to buy travel insurance that covers a couple or a family. On many annual policies, you don't need to travel together to be insured. Again, use the price-comparison websites to flag up competitive annual, couple or family policies.
4. Get the right level of cover
Make sure the policy you're taking out meets your individual needs. Many policies have a single-item limit for valuables of a few hundred euro or pounds, which is less than the value of many a smartphone, tablet and computer. And if you're planning on doing any adventurous activities, check the small print. Depending on the policy, for something like bungee jumping, paragliding or scuba diving, you may need to pay an additional premium or the activity may be excluded from your cover. Also, if you're heading to the ski slopes, check the policy wording: you may find that you will not be covered if you venture off the slopes.
5. Be honest about medical conditions
If you have a 'pre-existing' (ie ongoing) medical condition, you must declare it. Doing so may increase the premium, or may result in cover being refused. But if you are not forthcoming with the insurer and you end up making a claim, your cover may be invalid. You also need to inform the insurer of any medical issues with close relatives, if their health may cause you to cancel or curtail a trip.
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