Excellent travel insurance can save you a lot of time and money, both with domestic and international travel. For things that aren’t covered by the Package Travel Regulations or an ATOL, travel insurance makes a huge difference.
During the pandemic, it’s also important to check for COVID policies around travel and travel insurance with your insurance provider.
Why is Travel Insurance Important?
Though it’s hopeful you won’t have to make a claim for incidents while you’re travelling, travel insurance is vital in the circumstance that you do.
Travel insurance will cover you for different types of damages. For example, medical bills if you must have treatment abroad, cancellations or delays with flights, and any stolen possessions.
What Won’t Travel Insurance Cover?
What travel insurance will and won’t cover can vary from each policy to another. You should always check on the specific policy you’re using, but there are some things that are generally excluded. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Results of being intoxicated or under the influence
- Theft of unattended possessions
- Extreme sporting incidents and some risky leisure activities such as skiing or bungee jumping (you can extend your policy to cover these things)
- Medical treatment for pre-existing conditions the insurance provider was not made aware of
- Things that could have been prevented by vaccine
- Medical fees if you stay abroad after your doctor declares you fit to return to the UK
- Strikes and industrial action if the dates were known when you booked
- Rescheduled flights from the airline
- Trips to destinations where the FCDO advises against all but essential travel (You can check this on the FCDO advice page)
What Will Travel Insurance Cover?
There are a variety of things that your travel insurance will cover if you’ve got good insurance.
These can get very expensive even in this country. Having good travel insurance (minimum of £2m of medical cover in Europe and £5m worldwide) will ensure that the costs of medical treatments you need to have abroad are covered. This includes:
- Emergency Medical Treatment
- Return flights if you miss yours for medical reasons
- Accommodation and travel expenses for anyone that must stay with you (e.g. a carer)
- If your UK doctor recommends, the cost for someone to travel out of the UK
It’s worth noting that these may vary depending on your travel insurance company’s policies. You should also make them aware if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
The cancellations resulting from being unable to travel because you’re ill or you’ve lost your job should be covered by travel insurance. Therefore, it’s important that you get your travel insurance when you book, in case of any cancellations that might arise. These are the things your insurance could cover, but you should always check the policy:
- Family bereavement
- Pregnancy that is unknown at the time of policy purchase
- Jury Service or witness summons
- Home emergency
- Weather conditions that affects the flight or ship transport
Lost or Stolen Items
It is preferable that the travel insurance you get covers at least equivalent to the value of all the possessions you’re taking abroad with you. You should also ensure it covers your luggage at all points during your holiday, especially while it’s being held by the airline.
You should check this against your policy, but most travel insurance will cover these things:
- Individual valuables (check about the limit on how much you get per item)
- Lost and stolen items of luggage, cash, or traveller’s cheques (with restrictions for careless conduct e.g. theft of something left unattended)
If you have any doubts about your specific claim, you can check the Association of British Insurers’ website for more general information.
Staying Prepared on Holiday
Having travel insurance is a good start, but it’s equally important to make sure you know how to use it.
Keeping your insurance provider’s number close at hand when you’re on your travels can make any issues you have much faster to resolve and provide some peace of mind.
Keeping this number in your phone alongside up-to-date medical information in the form of a medical ID can be a simple but efficient bit of preparation for those who use smartphones. We advise your travelling companions have access to your insurance provider’s number and your policy number too, in case you are incapacitated.
It could also be helpful to leave all the necessary details and numbers with family or friends at home in case they need to contact the insurance provider on your behalf. The necessary details could include:
- The insurer’s number
- Your policy number
- Date of birth
Though it is mainly for emergencies, you shouldn’t feel shy to use your insurance provider’s number. Whether you need advice or assistance relevant to your insurance, such as medical advice, that is what it’s there for.
Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
The GHIC gives the holder access to state medical care across the EU either at a lower cost, or free of charge. It’s replacing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which can be used until it expires if you still hold one. You can acquire one free of charge from the official GHIC website.
A GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. It won’t cover any private medical healthcare or costs such as flights home when you need serious attention. It also doesn’t cover matters outside of healthcare.
State health regulations and policies will differ in other countries in Europe. Therefore, while a GHIC will allow you access to medical care, it is vital to still have health insurance. This is to ensure you are fully covered under the UK’s health policies.
However, some insurers will require you to hold a GHIC, so it is important to have both.
When you are applying for a GHIC or Travel Insurance, always make sure to read up on what the specifics do and don’t cover. This will ensure you are as prepared as possible and make the right choice for your journey.