Gloomy winter weather can often be the trigger to start looking at holidays in warmer climes, but if you do book a break, make sure you pick the right travel insurance policy to protect you in the event things don’t go to plan.
Travel insurance can provide valuable peace of mind that if something goes wrong on your holiday, or even before you leave, you won’t be left out of pocket. Taking out cover at the same time as you book your trip means that you’ll be protected from that moment onwards until your return. This means that if you aren’t able to travel due to unforeseen circumstances, such as illness,an accident, or a death in the family, you won’t end up with financial losses on top of missing out on your trip.
Cover doesn’t end there though. Policies typically will cover your possessions against loss while you’re away, as well as emergency medical treatment, cutting short your trip due to circumstances beyond your control, and accidental damage or injury which might be caused by you.
Here, we explain what you need to know about finding the right policy to suit your needs, what affects the price of travel insurance, and some of the ways you might be able to keep the cost of cover down.
Finding the right travel insurance policy for you
When buying travel insurance, it’s important to think about what you’ll be doing on your holiday, where you’re going and what sort of things you’ll be taking with you.
For example, if you’re planning on an activity-filled break, packed with sports and trips, you might need a higher level of cover than if you’ll be sitting by the pool for a fortnight, as the risk of you having an accident is greater. Some types of holiday, such as cruises, require specific cover, so that you’re protected if you’re unable to dock at a scheduled port due to bad weather, or are confined to your cabin for reasons out of your control.
Ryan Howsam, chief executive and founder of insurer Staysure, said: “Staysure’s policies include a vast range of activities in its cover as standard but it’s worth always checking what activities you’ll be covered for before travel.”
Bear in mind too that if you’re taking lots of expensive gadgets with you, such as your laptop, a camera, or a valuable watch or jewellery, you’re likely to require a greater level of cover than if you’re only packing clothes and books.
Your destination is also important, as different travel insurance policies cover different locations, and the cost can vary depending on where you’re headed.
“You may notice when shopping around for travel insurance to the USA that it costs more than for holidays to Europe,” explained Mr Howsam.”The reason for this is the US is deemed a higher risk destination because healthcare is much more expensive than the rest of the world. The USA is the most expensive country to have a medical emergency in.”
If you’re looking to buy travel insurance, Staysure is the UK’s most trusted travel insurance provider with more 5 star reviews on Trustpilot than any other travel insurance provider. You can get a no obligation quote online here.
How much will travel insurance cost?
Travel insurance premiums can vary hugely depending on the type of cover you need, which provider you go to, and other factors, such as your age and any pre-existing medical conditions you might have.
Here are some of the things your insurer might look at when working out your travel insurance premium:
Travel insurance premiums tend to increase the older you get, as there’s a greater risk that you might become ill, or may have already been diagnosed with a medical condition. Premiums are usually highest for those in their 70s and 80s.
You may find you can’t get cover from certain providers at all once you reach a certain age, as they might impose a maximum age limit, above which you aren’t eligible to buy cover. Some insurers however, including Staysure, have no age limits on their travel insurance policies.
Any medical conditions you have
When you take out travel cover, insurers will need to know if you have any pre-existing medical conditions so they can assess whether these are likely to increase your chances of requiring emergency medical treatment when abroad.
Don’t be tempted not to disclose them, as if you aren’t up-front and need to make a claim, this could invalidate your cover.
How long your trip is
The shorter your trip is, the cheaper your travel insurance premium is likely to be, as there’s less chance of you needing to make a claim on your insurance while you’re away.
So, for example, the premium for a long weekend in Italy will be lower compared to if you’re spending a fortnight in the same country.
Where you’re going
Certain countries are considered lower risk than others by insurers, so your premiums will cost less if you’re going somewhere that there’s unlikely to be a natural disaster or conflict. Even if these risks don’t apply to a country, you’re still likely to pay more the further afield you go, as the costs of repatriation, should you need to be transported back to the UK earlier than expected, will be higher.
European destinations are usually considered lower risk than destinations that are further afield, so you’ll pay less for insurance if you’re going to France than if you’re heading to Fiji, for example.
You are unlikely to get a standard travel insurance policy to cover you for travel to a high-risk destination or a country where the Foreign Office advises against travel.
The price of healthcare at your destination also influences insurance premiums. Mr Howsam said: “When going to Europe, holidaymakers can access free healthcare with a European Health Insurance Card or Global Health Insurance Card (EHIC or GHIC). The card covers the cost of the state healthcare offered in that country, which means travellers are less likely to make a claim on their travel insurance if they become ill abroad. Higher risk countries tend to be long-haul destinations.”
Top tips to keep the cost of cover down
There are several ways to keep travel insurance premiums down, and don’t mean that you have to compromise on the level of cover you have.
Some of the steps you might want to take to cut insurance costs include:
Leaving valuables at home
The more expensive items you take with you on your holiday, the higher your premiums will be, as there’s a greater chance you’ll make a claim if they are lost or stolen. Try to leave anything you don’t really need to take with you such as valuable jewellery or gadgets locked securely at home to help keep travel insurance premiums down.
Choosing a lower risk destination
When planning your holiday, it’s a good idea to compare the cost of travel insurance in various different locations. Premiums will be steeper in areas where there might be a chance of political unrest, for example, or which are particularly remote. Some countries won’t be covered at all by standard travel insurance policies as they are considered too high risk, so always check that your policy provides cover for the country you’re wanting to travel to.
Making sure you have the right level of cover
There’s no point paying for a travel insurance policy that offers much higher cover limits than you need, so make sure you buy the correct level of cover. For example, if you’re going on a weekend to Rome and it’ll cost you £600, you don’t need to pay extra for £5,000 of cancellation cover.
Always read the small print of any policy you’re considering buying carefully so that you don’t end up forking out for benefits you won’t be able to use, or that you don’t need.
Whatever your holiday plans this year, travel insurance can provide valuable protection against financial losses in case things go wrong unexpectedly. Although you aren’t legally required to have it, travelling without it could prove a false economy if your holiday doesn’t go as planned.
If you’re looking to buy travel insurance, Staysure has a 5 star rating from Defaqto and are 6 times winners of the Best Travel Insurance Provider Award at the British Travel Awards. You can get a no obligation quote online here.
**All data Jan-Dec 2018 provided by Staysure’s underwriter