Last updated 1 August 2016

A Guide to Travel Insurance

TravelA dream vacation can turn into a financial nightmare without travel insurance. The sensible question is not "should I get a travel insurance policy", but "which travel insurance policy best fits my needs?" Here are some questions to ask yourself before you finalise your travel insurance policy.

How long is my trip?

 
A single trip travel insurance policy is adequate to cover a one-off vacation. This means the policy covers any incident from the date you leave until you return to your home address. 

However, if you are planning multiple trips in the course of a year, or are generally a frequent traveller, then an annual travel insurance policy will better meet your needs. This ensures you have constant insurance regardless of when or where you travel.

Who is travelling?

 
If you are travelling with your family, a family travel insurance policy will almost certainly cut your costs. Instead of insuring each individual traveller, a family policy covers you and your children, generally regardless of the number of children you have so long as they are younger than eighteen years old. This can translate to free coverage for your children and is available for multi-trip or single trip cover. 

If a large company employs you, it is worthwhile to check if your employer provides a collective travel insurance scheme at a discounted rate.

Some companies target those still in education with special discounts and policies, often referred to as back packers insurance, and specifically offer travel insurance schemes to cover gap years and travelling students.

If you are over 65, look around for the right deal for you, as some companies will not offer travel insurance to your age group because of the higher risk of making a claim.

Where am I travelling?
 
Your destination plays a large role in determining the level of travel insurance it is sensible to opt for, as well as the kind of cover an insurance company will offer. If you choose to travel to a country that is deemed unsafe to visit then insurance companies will most likely refuse to cover you with any type of travel insurance. Your choice of holiday destination will also determine the types of risks you need to include in your insurance policy. 

If you are travelling to and in a remote location, check access to medical facilities and services and include emergency evacuation or air ambulance cover in your policy as necessary.

What type of holiday am I planning?

Many activities and adventure holidays are not included in standard travel insurance schemes but add-ons are available to extend your cover to include winter sports or activities such as kite surfing, water sports or climbing. 

Specific insurance policies are also available for cruise holidays and backpacking or trekking vacations, and other schemes will provide financial protection for sports gear such as fishing or golf equipment. Consider carefully the items you need to take, and the risks involved in the type of holiday you plan.

What insurance cover do I need for travelling?
 
In addition to emergency medical and personal accident cover, travel insurance policies also offer cover for theft of valuable items, assistance in the event of damage or loss of your passport or other travel documents, compensation for travel delays or booking cancellations and loss or damage of luggage by an airline. 

You should also consider personal liability insurance, which will protect you financially in the event that you damage third party property or are held liable for an accident whilst travelling.

In light of the increasing risk across the globe, some insurance companies offer and specialise in Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion (KRE) insurance for international companies and individuals who travel regularly.

What do I need to pay for travel insurance?
 
The cost of travel insurance varies by company, and by the level and range of insurance cover you opt for. The best advice to get the best deal for the right service is to shop around and compare at least three different policies that meet your needs.

  

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