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How to get the best travel insurance deal

With a few key exceptions like buying a house or welcoming a new addition to the family, there’s not much more exciting than planning and booking an amazing holiday. What’s perhaps less exciting is planning  what kind of travel insurance you’ll need, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important!

Of course, most people will be able to tell you why it’s so vital to have good travel insurance before you go abroad, but knowing exactly what type of travel insurance to get is another matter entirely.

Here’s a list of some of our favourite tips and tricks for getting the best travel insurance deal possible plus other important things to consider before you jet off abroad. 

Medical expenses, how much is too much?

One of the most common issues people can run into when looking for travel insurance is not knowing how much to insure themselves for, particularly when it comes to medical expenses. It’s not uncommon for travel insurance providers to say they can cover you for up to £20 million in medical treatment, however figures like these can be a little meaningless in practice.

The average medical expenses claim is estimated to be around £1,200. The most expensive travel insurance claim of all time currently sits at approximately £650,000 and was incurred by a Canadian woman who prematurely gave birth while travelling in the US. In other words, while it’s always wise having a little extra protection and not needing it than needing it and not having it, buying cover for sums like £20 million is a bit unnecessary and means you could be paying over the odds for insurance cover you just don’t need.

According to independent financial information firm Defaqto, the vast majority of people will rarely need more than £1 million worth of medical expenses cover if they’re travelling in Europe or more than £2 million if they’re travelling further afield. 

Look carefully at your dental cover

Dental claims while on holiday are more common than you might think, often for things like fillings that have come loose while eating out abroad. Particularly for people who might be more at risk of dental issues, adding dental cover onto your travel insurance policy can be an attractive option.

However, it’s worth going over the finer details of the policy with an advisor given that some insurance providers can levy large up-front excesses onto the cost of their policies which could in some cases be as much as the amount it would cost to have your teeth repaired in the first place!

Always, always, always have cancellation cover

Some policies allow you to exclude cancellation cover in order to reduce the overall cost of your travel insurance. However, most insurance experts agree that this is simply not worth the risk, particularly given that cancellation cover is the number one most common travel insurance claim.

Regardless of your circumstances there’s always the risk that a holiday might need to be cancelled, and so it’s worth paying a few pounds extra for better peace of mind and to avoid being left potentially thousands of pounds out of pocket.

How good is your home insurance?

Thinking about home insurance when you’re planning a trip abroad might seem a little counter-intuitive, but in some cases having a robust home insurance policy might save you the need to make a claim on your travel insurance.

Case in point: baggage cover often comes with limits on how much you’ll receive if you make a claim for valuable single items like jewellery or watches. However, you can instead add these items on to your home insurance policy which will ensure that they’re adequately and accurately covered.

Know what baggage insurance covers and what it doesn’t

Whether you’re travelling with an overnight bag for a quick city break or enough supplies for a six-month cross-continental adventure, baggage cover is immensely important. However, it’s also the most commonly rejected travel insurance claim.

This is usually as a result of travellers being unclear on the purpose of baggage cover and how it works. Baggage insurance exists to reimburse you for the cost of any items lost, damaged or stolen – it’s not designed to cover you for the inconvenience of having your things lost, damaged or stolen.

You can be reimbursed for the cost of any clothing or essential items you’re forced to purchase if your bags are delayed, however it’s vital that you keep all of your receipts. No receipts mean no proof, which means you can’t be reimbursed.

It’s also important to note that most travel insurance policies cover your baggage on a ‘wear and tear’ basis, which means that you won’t receive the full amount that you originally paid for any baggage, clothing or shoes that are lost, stolen or damaged.

If this is something that you think you might want or need, you can instead opt for ‘new for old’ baggage policies, which are typically more expensive than the standard ones but which will ensure you’re covered for the full amount you paid for your belongings. 

Sports Travel Insurance isn’t just for sports

Holidays used to be all about rest and relaxation, however it’s becoming increasingly popular for travellers to skip the sunbathing in search of an adrenaline rush, whether it’s winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, mountain biking or white water rafting.

But where it’s possible to go wrong is if you sustain an injury or break a bone doing any of these things and you haven’t told your insurance provider about it. In this case, an insurer could count this as ‘non-disclosure’ and refuse your claim. Needless to say, the costs are pretty large: research shows that the average cost of breaking a bone in France is £2,000 while in the US it’s a staggering £25,000!

Most travel insurance policies will include cover for more modest activities like hiking, but anything more intense than that will often not be covered. This doesn’t just apply to extreme sports, but also common holiday activities like jet skiing, scuba diving or even riding zip-lines between trees.

As a result it’s vital that if you’re planning on any sports activities while abroad that you inform your insurer; in many cases you’ll be able to purchase specific sports insurance to add to your travel cover to ensure you’re properly protected for every eventuality.

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