Planning a trip? Check out my top tips for booking travel insurance and make sure you are adequately covered.
I take out an annual travel insurance policy, and have done so for the past 30 years. I would never travel without it, and frankly I don’t understand anyone who does. When you consider that European travel insurance cover starts at just €17.95 for an annual trip – it is without a doubt going to be the cheapest part of your holiday, and its worth paying that for peace of mind alone.
If there is one thing that the last two years has taught us, it is you never know what is around the corner. Even when we thought travel was back to normal again, Omicron arrived and brought more travel restrictions along with it. But leaving Covid-19 aside, travel insurance is important for many more reasons.
The cliché “it will never happen to me” springs to mind. When we are looking forward to our annual summer holiday, we don’t want to consider flight cancellations, holiday accidents, or lost baggage – that happens to other people…
I appreciate that I travel more than the average person, but I have claimed for lost luggage twice, kids doctors visits more than I care to remember, and a flight cancellation where were delayed 24 hours – all of this pre Covid.
I am delighted to see that Covid-cover is now included in some annual travel insurance policies, including Multitrip.com, the company I have used for over 20 years. If you are diagnosed with Covid-19 abroad your medical expenses should be covered, and an amount towards additional travel or accommodation expenses should you need to extend your stay.
You are also covered for cancellation if you or your travelling companion are diagnosed with Covid-19 within 14 days of departure. Note there are always limits on the amount covered, so it is important to check the Ts & Cs before you book. I have some other top tips on booking travel insurance below.
1. Take out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip
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When you book your holiday, take out your travel insurance at the same time. You will immediately have cancellation cover. This means that in the event of an unforeseen incident like an illness or an injury, you are covered.
Most travel insurance policies have moratoriums in place so you will only be covered seven (or possibly longer) days after you have taken out your policy. This means that if you book travel insurance within seven days of your departure, you would not be covered for cancellation or a covid-19 diagnosis, should this happen at the last minute.
2. Choose your travel insurance provider wisely.
It is always a smart idea to shop around, and travel insurance is no exception. This is especially true if you have are taking any medication. Some insurance providers don’t cover people who have a pre-existing medical condition. You may have to undergo pre-screening in some instances to enable a more tailored policy to suit your requirements.
3. Don’t always go for the cheapest option.
The cheapest travel insurance is not necessarily the best value option. Always compare like with like. One policy may have higher excess charges should you need to make a claim, some policies include Covid cover as standard, while others charge a supplement to add it on.
4. You DO need travel insurance cover in Europe
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If you think that you don’t need travel insurance whilst travelling in Europe, think again. Many believe that the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) provides adequate cover, it doesn’t. This card only gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare for medically necessary treatment, during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
It is not a replacement or alternative for travel insurance. It will not repatriate you to your home country, and provides no cover if you have lost baggage or you need to cancel your holiday. The other thing to consider is that the EHIC card is only for treatment on the same basis as a resident of that country.
It is worth noting that in some countries, patients are expected to make a contribution to the medical costs incurred so you could be facing a large bill for services when you least expect it.
5. Make sure your policy has covid cover and travel disruption cover.
In the current climate it is vital that covid cover is included in your policy. You need to ensure that you are covered for cancellation due to a covid-19 diagnosis pre departure, and for medical and accommodation expenses should you contract Covid abroad.
Most policies will have a limit on accommodation and repatriation expenses, so if you are travelling to an expensive holiday destination, it might be advisable to add on travel disruption cover too.
Pre-Covid, pilot strikes and air traffic control strike were pretty common, and no one could have foreseen the extent of flight disruption when 100,000 flights were cancelled due to the Icelandic ash cloud. Most insurance policies will not cover you for ‘acts of God’ like hurricanes, storms, or volcano eruptions, or for airline strikes or closures.
Travel disruption covers you for additional expenses if your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 12 hours. You can also claim back expenses due to flooding, strikes, earthquakes, or if you are advised against travel to a specific country due to unrest. See more here.
6. Honesty is always the best policy!
Don’t purchase a policy that does not provide cover for your medical condition and hope for the best! It is vital that you disclose to your travel insurance provider that you have a medical condition or are taking medication.
You should make full disclosure, even if you think it is of no consequence. If you are not completely honest regarding any illness/medical condition/medication, you may find yourself paying out thousands of Euro should something happen that is related to this illness.
7. Check your travel insurance policy Ts & Cs
Don’t make the mistake of booking a yearly travel insurance policy for €17.95 and think you are covered for everything. The cheaper policies tend to be priced for travel within Europe and for people with private health insurance.
Cruise connection, ski insurance and worldwide cover will incur extra charges and always check the excess on each claim. I usually pay extra for a policy with zero excess because I travel so frequently and usually make at least one claim per year.
It is vital you check the maximum amount payable in case of cancellation or a covid diagnosis. If you have booked a honeymoon in the Maldives and paid €10,000 for the privilege, you may be shocked to learn that the maximum cover for cancellation is only €2,000.
8. Make sure you can contact your insurance provider while away.
There is not much point in having travel insurance if you cannot get in touch with your provider in the event of an emergency. Bring your policy with you, and familiarise yourself with the extent of cover that you have. Pre-program the Emergency Assistance Service number into your phone so you will have it with you. Contact details for the Emergency Assistance Service can generally be found within the ‘Policy Wording’ section.
Regardless of where you are travelling to, don’t travel without travel insurance. At the time of issue Multitrip.com were offering annual multi trip travel insurance cover from €17.95.