Below are some key aspects to keep in mind when choosing the right travel insurance policy for your needs.
Which policy is best for me?
If you take holidays several times a year, you may wish to invest in a multi-trip policy that will cover you for an unlimited number of holidays within a period of 12 months, although the duration of each holiday is normally a fixed number of days, there may be a maximum number of days you can have on any travel insurance policy. If you are confident that you are only going for one break in the year then a single-trip policy may be better suited to you.
You can also make the choice between a policy that just covers you for most countries in the European Union (EU) or one that covers you Worldwide, including all countries in the EU and the US.
If you are travelling alone you can take out individual cover or choose couples or family cover for larger groups.
What does your policy cover?
The maximum amount paid out for each aspect of your insurance policy will vary depending on the level of cover you choose. Cheaper policies may also omit certain benefits, so it is important to identify what you need from a policy. When choosing travel insurance try and ensure that it has the following key benefits:
- Medical expenses (any cost incurred in the prevention or treatment of injury or disease)
- Hospital benefit (benefits that pay for hospital visits, including the room and other costs incurred during the stay)
- Repatriation (the process that returns you back to your home country)
- Personal Accident cover (a lump sum is paid out in the event of an accident resulting in permanent injury or fatality)
- Personal liability (if someone is injured or their property is damaged by you or something belonging to you)
- Cancellation (provides a fixed amount if you have to cut short or cancel your trip)
If you are travelling independently and are worried about your airline going bust then you may want to include scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI) in your policy.
If your holiday package is already protected by ATOL, a financial protection scheme managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), then you are covered if a tour operator goes out of business and the CAA will ensure you don’t lose the money you have already paid. They will also arrange for you to finish your holiday and fly home.
Other benefits that you may want covered in your policy include personal effects and baggage, legal expenses and replacement costs for losing your passport or drivers licence.
Some benefits carry an excess payment, meaning that you will have to pay a fixed amount will be deducted from the amount you receive from a claim.
Travel to Australia
Most insurers will require you to register with Medicare when you seek medical treatment in Australia. This is the country’s state healthcare system and it part of a reciprocal healthcare agreement between Commonwealth countries including the UK. A Medicare card will entitle you to the following benefits:
- Free treatment at a public hospital in-patient or out-patient department
- Selected medicines subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- Medicare benefits for out of hospital medical treatment provided by doctors through private surgeries and Government Health Centres
Sporting activities covered under your policy
Subject to the insurer’s terms and conditions you may be covered for playing and participating in some of the following sports and activities: surfing, snorkelling, hill walking, horse riding and scuba diving.
You may need to take out a specialist policy for winter sports such as skiing or have this as an add-on to your regular travel insurance policy. This gives you additional benefits such as cover for unused ski passes, ski hire and tuition fees due to illness or injury.
Pre-existing medical conditions
A standard travel insurance policy is unlikely to pay out for pre-existing medical conditions and any medical treatment that is needed as result. You are always required to disclose full details of pre-existing conditions when you take out the policy and some specialist insurers will cover this, normally at an increased premium. The good news is that pre-existing medical conditions won’t prevent your from securing a travel insurance policy, as you can simply buy a policy that excludes cover for the condition(s).
It is critical that you visit your travel nurse before you head off on holiday so you can be sure that that you are adequately protected from tropical diseases that may include Malaria and Yellow Fever. The travel nurse will be able to tell you what you need to take to protect yourself, and you should check with your insurer to see how and if immunisations affect your claims.Back to top