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Travel insurance secrets

If you’re going abroad, even for a short while, travel insurance is an absolute must. The big thing to remember though is that it is actually best bought at same time as you purchase your holiday as cover applies immediately, should anything happen between buying and going on holiday.

It can also cover you for all sorts of other things, from the cost of emergency medical treatment while you’re away to helping out if you accidentally miss your flight or transfer.

For the most part, it’s a fairly straightforward thing to buy as well, but it’s always worthwhile going over the fine print of your policy so you know exactly what you’re covered for and what you’re not. It is important to note though that often most policies will only cover cancellation in the event of a death of a partner/close relative or if you are made redundant and you will be required to provide proof of this (this if of course dependent on the insurer).

Whether you’re planning a cross-continental adventure or just escaping for your annual two weeks of sunshine, here are five extremely important things you need to look out for when you buy a travel insurance policy that you didn’t even know about:

Your gadgets might not be covered by your Travel Insurance

Packing for a holiday is no longer as simple as taking a toothbrush and a few changes of clothes: travellers now bring a whole host of electronic gadgets and devices with them abroad from Kindles to relax with by the pool to cameras and phones to document every last second of a holiday on Instagram.

Given that all of these is usually quite expensive, and – in the case of phones and cameras – often carry images and information that’s sensitive or holds a lot of sentimental value, it’s vitally important to protect them while you’re abroad.

The trouble is that many travel insurance policies don’t include cover for these as standard. So, if you drop your phone into the pool or your camera ends up missing or stolen, you could be left out of pocket and out of luck.

Before you go abroad you should double-check your travel insurance policy to find out exactly what it does cover and exactly what it doesn’t. Many travel insurance providers offer gadget insurance as part of their policies, or alternatively you can take out dedicated gadget insurance which will mean your electronics are properly protected both at home and abroad!

You might not be covered if you don’t depart from a UK airport

This is an extremely important point to note, but one which very few people seem to know about. If you buy travel insurance in the UK, the fine print will often state that you must depart from a UK airport, otherwise your policy could be rendered invalid.

Although it’s most likely to apply to travellers here in Northern Ireland who choose to depart from Dublin Airport, the same can also apply to anyone beginning their journey from an airport outside of the UK.

As a result, it’s incredibly important that you check the finer details of your travel insurance policy to ensure that it covers you at your departure location, your arrival destination and also for your return travel. If you’ve bought a travel insurance policy in the UK or Ireland, make sure you’re covered if you fly from a non-UK country or airport.

European Travel Insurance cover might not cover Spain

When you go to buy your travel insurance, you’ll usually be presented with two options: cover for if you’re travelling to Europe, and cover for if you’re travelling further afield.

This may seem fairly clear cut, but there are a couple of issues you can fall foul of. First is that insurance providers generally define European cover geographically, not just for countries that are EU members.

Second is that some countries which are in Europe might not actually be covered by European travel insurance, namely Spain, Cyprus, Malta and the Canary Islands. This might seem a little bizarre and it tends to vary from insurance provider to insurance provider, but given the popularity of these destinations it’s an important one to keep an eye out for.

The reason that these countries often aren’t included in European cover options is that the cost of healthcare has risen particularly steeply there. If anything were to happen to you abroad, that means costlier medical bills which in turn means more expensive claims.

But your European cover might cover countries that technically aren’t in Europe...

Somewhat confusingly, many insurers do offer cover for a handful of non-European countries on a European travel insurance policy. Often, these include the likes of Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Tunisia.

The good news is that if you’re considering a holiday in any of these destinations it can be worthwhile pricing up European travel cover first of all, as it can often work out cheaper than worldwide cover.

Do be aware though that this doesn’t apply to every insurance provider and the details are subject to variation so it’s always worthwhile double checking. It’s important to remember that your European Health Insurance card (EHIC) won’t be valid in these countries either.

Your Travel Insurance won’t cover you in dangerous destinations

Although you’ll often find it difficult to find cover for destinations deemed to be dangerous full stop, it’s still important to know that if you visit a country that the Foreign Office has warned against you won’t be covered for any claims.

This is because you’ll be deemed to have ignored official government advice, and an insurance provider could argue that it was negligent on your behalf to proceed anyway.

For some countries and destinations this can seem fairly obvious, but did you know that the Foreign Office also specifically warns against visiting certain parts of popular destinations like Thailand, Turkey, India and Israel?

On a similar note, if you’re worried about terrorism at a holiday destination and decide not to go, generally you won’t be covered for cancellations. The majority of standard travel policies don’t include cover for terrorism-related threats or incidents, so it’s always worthwhile checking the fine print on your insurance to be clear.

If you’re in any doubt about the destination you wish to travel to, you can check the foreign travel advice site for up-to-date information.

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