We spend weeks counting down the days until our holiday, thinking of the places we’ll visit and the “sun hours” ahead, but for true peace of mind, it’s arguable that really good travel insurance is as important as booking a really great resort. It’s only when things go wrong – a missed flight, a stolen wallet – that you realise you should have made more effort to make sure your family is well covered on the insurance front.
So, once you’ve booked your timeshare week, the holiday countdown isn’t the only thing left to tick on your “to do” list. Instead, you need to buy worthwhile travel insurance to ensure you’re covered for everything from medical costs and lost possessions to cancellation.
Wherever possible, avoid simply picking the cheapest insurance and instead pay attention to the fine print/conditions Just to make sure you’re insurance savvy, here are ten potential travel insurance exclusions that you should be aware of:
1) Always declare pre-existing medical conditions
While it may be tempting to hide pre-existing conditions from your insurer to keep costs down, it’s essential to give your insurer your honest medical history. If you don’t and something happened while you were away, then your insurer would have the right to request access to your medical records, and your claim could be deemed invalid.
2) Check policy limits
Having your handbag stolen on holiday can be upsetting, but it’s even worse if you find out afterwards that you’re not covered. To protect you from any nasty surprises, find out how much you can claim back for lost cash, luggage and cancellation cover – be aware that some items, such as mobile phones, may not be covered by your travel insurance if lost. (Side note: especially in bigger cities, it’s worth wearing an cross-body bag, not one which can be yanked from your shoulder by a thief on a speeding moped).
3) Take care of your possessions
If you plan on travelling with wads of cash, check your policy carefully to find out whether or not you would be covered should it be lost or stolen. You should be aware that many policies will only cover theft or accidental loss of cash that went missing while on your person, or locked in a safety deposit box in your room.
4) Report theft as soon as possible
If you do have something stolen, then many insurers often like the crime reported to the police 24 or 48 hours after the incident. If you report it later, or simply don’t get a police report, chances are you won’t be covered.
5) Check you’re covered for action
Whether you’re into bungee or quad biking, you should always check your policy to see whether you would be covered should you have an accident. Many insurers have a list of “hazardous” activities that they don’t cover. Winter sports are also often not included within a standard travel insurance policy, so if you’re a ski bunny, check whether you need to add this on.
6) Avoid incidents involving alcohol or drugs
Research from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) found that most insurers have exclusions around alcohol or drug-related incidents. However, these vary massively, so be sure to read the fine print!
7) Think about how long you’re travelling for
Whether you’re on a year-long trip-of-a-lifetime or a week’s beach break, make sure you know how many consecutive days abroad you need to be covered for.
8) Make sure your policy covers your destination
This may sound glaringly obvious, but check that your policy covers you for the destination you are travelling. Turkey and Egypt are destinations to take into careful consideration when choosing a policy, and if you’re travelling to the USA, Canada or the Caribbean, check that you have the correct worldwide cover. If you’re going to Morocco, this is covered under “Europe”.
9) Consider missed departure cover
Many basic travel insurance policies refuse to cover you for new flights if you miss them through no fault of your own. Even if your policy does cover you for missed flights, try to make sure you know what you will need to do to make a claim – some insurers require proof that you set out in sufficient time to make the flight.
10) Cover yourself for bereavement or cancellation
It is sensible to buy a travel insurance policy that covers you for cancellation at the same time as you book your holiday. If you care for a close family relative and they are ill at the time you book your holiday, make sure that you declare this as you may not be eligible for cancellation otherwise.
At the end of the day, there’s only one way to be 100% sure. Read the fine print and ensure you understand it, and insure yourself through a company with a solid reputation.