With all the uncertainty around travel in 2021, it’s even more important than ever that you get good travel insurance when you’re planning a holiday, and as soon as you do, as well.
Separate to the actual booking itself and entirely in the consumers’ hands, sometimes the proper attention deserved to travel insurance can get bypassed. Perhaps you get something cheap without much research so that you can get to the fun parts, but it’s a necessary effort that will be well worth it when you’re on holiday and know you have nothing to worry about.
It can seem like a big task. Your travel agent or tour operator may be able to point you in the right direction or give some tips on pinpointing good travel insurance. However, it is mostly your responsibility so there is limited help they can give. You can also visit the government page to learn more about travel insurance requirements.
Set Out Your Requirements
The best way to start with finding the best travel insurance for you, is assessing the trip you’re taking and what forms of protection you need and to what extent.
For example, travel insurance will give you protection against your luggage getting lost or stolen (unless there is carelessness on your part) but, depending on your travel insurance, they will only cover you for a certain amount. In this case you would need to get a general idea for the minimum protection depending on the value of your luggage.
This is also a big consideration if you’re planning on doing any ‘hazardous activities’ such as shark-cage diving or going to places with extreme climates. That will be something you’ll need to look out for on the insurance. Most travel insurance won’t cover this at the basic level.
This will help to determine how much you should be spending. Good travel insurance is never cheap, but it is worth it for the quality of protection you’ll be getting from it.
Figuring out what your priorities are and what sort of protection you should be looking for at a minimum will help narrow the options down and set a budget.
When you’re going through the contract for travel insurance you’re considering, have a list of your minimum requirements that you can check off to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
Talk to a Professional
At the end of the day, there are experts out there that can help you. Getting a second opinion from your PTS Member is a good help since they have experience. Though, if you really want confirmation that you’re picking the right insurance, a professional is invaluable.
Give them the details of where you’re going and your medical and possessions situation so they can help you pick out the best deal and know what you need. There may be things you didn’t think of, even with extensive research.
They will also be able to tell you what things you should prioritise and where your money should be going. Buying travel insurance cheap is never a good idea. However, that doesn’t mean you should be overpaying for something you don’t need for your holiday.
Decide Which Type You Need
There are many types of travel insurance. But, on the basic level there are three types you need to choose between:
- Single Trip – this will cover a single trip for its duration
- Annual Multi-trip – this will cover you for all trips you take within a year. Generally this is better economically if you’re taking more than 3 trips.
- Backpacking – this will cover you for an extended period over multiple destinations
Keep in mind that this will also be affected by your destination and their COVID restrictions in 2021. Especially in the case of a backpacking insurance package, you should check the rules for your specific destinations as no one else takes responsibility for these things.
You should be selecting travel insurance at the same time as booking your trip. Making this decision early will be easy and slim down your options to a more manageable list.
Be Aware of Exclusions
There are generally a list of similar exclusions across most travel insurance. But when you’re looking into what to get, it’s important to pay attention to the things that won’t be covered. This will vary but could include:
- Unattended Belongs – generally anything considered as ‘carelessness’ won’t be covered, this is one example. If your belongings are stolen or missing and you left them unattended when it happened, you won’t be covered.
- Undeclared Medical Conditions – if you have a pre-existing medical condition before you book your holiday and get your travel insurance, it is vital that you inform the company providing your insurance. If you don’t and you fall ill for any reason connecting to your condition, you won’t be covered for any medical attention.
- Risky Activity – we mentioned this earlier, but if you are planning on doing any particularly dangerous activities that could result in injury, you need to at least inform your insurer otherwise they can’t cover you on this, whether your package includes it or not.
- Travel Recommendations – this is especially applicable in 2021. If the government has advised you against travelling somewhere for any reason, results of this won’t be covered. Researching these recommendations and choosing whether to travel there or not despite the warning is in your hands.
- Change of Heart – if you’re just not feeling it and want to cancel or return home from your holiday because you’re not enjoying it, this won’t be covered by your insurance.
You should also watch out for things like age limits on insurance since your age will be a factor in the price.
When it comes to finding the best travel insurance with your handy list of requirements, getting context and perspective will be very useful.
Make sure not just to look at one insurer. Compare prices and ratings with what they offer. This way you can be sure you get not only everything you need for your holiday, but that you get the best price for the quality insurance you’re getting.
Will I Be Covered If My Country Is Amber or Red Listed?
If you are travelling to a red list country, you will most likely not be covered by travel insurance. However, amber is a bit less certain.
If your destination is amber listed and you are not going for essential travel, most insurers will not cover this. If the FCDO advise against travel to a destination, it is common for travel insurance not to cover that, whether it is Covid related or not.
Equally, if your destination falls from the green list, this may not be covered either. However, some insurers will still cover these circumstances. For example, if a country falling from the green list while you are in destination. The government have created a ‘watchlist’ to give pre-warning in this situation. In this case you will most likely not be covered if it is on the watchlist before you travel.
At the moment, you will not be covered for cancellations due to government advice in this area. So, you should make sure you keep up to date on the government advice.
Will I Be Covered If I Contract Covid Abroad?
This depends on the situation in which you contract Covid. Generally, most insurers will cover basic medical costs due to catching Covid. It is also worth keeping in mind that if your travel insurance has covid cover, you’ll need to book your travel insurance at least 15 days pre-departure. This is because if you test positive within 14 days before your holiday, you will have to rebook or cancel due to UK covid travel policies.
For example, if you contract Covid through a situation in a green list country that is entirely out of your control and you could not have predicted, then you will most likely be covered for this.
However, if you travel to an amber list country and don’t follow the local restrictions such as wearing a mask or staying 2 feet apart, travel insurance probably won’t cover you.
This falls under the general clause of “unexpected and unavoidable circumstances” that a lot of travel insurance contracts will have. If you could have reasonably prevented something, chances are you won’t be covered for it.
Will I Be Covered If I Have to Quarantine Abroad?
Probably. In all cases it’s important to check your specific insurance contract or get in contact with your provider about specifics. However, if you test positive abroad and are required to quarantine unexpectedly at the end of your holiday, your insurance provider may extend your contract to cover this time.
Some insurers will also cover you for cancellations in this situation.
If you’re still unsure about how to go about getting travel insurance and you need assistance don’t forget to check out our consumer protection page, or you can call one of PTS’s wonderful staff at 0207 190 9988 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.