Travel insurance covers you and your possessions when you are travelling. It can cover the financial cost of unpredictable incidents like accidents, flight delays and loss of possessions. It can cover things such as emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost/damaged luggage and third-party liability, depending, of course, on your coverage.
Travel insurance can give you peace of mind so it's worth spending the time to get a policy that suits your needs.
Common types of policies
Generally, you can choose between single-trip policies and annual policies. The right choice for you will depend on your travel frequency. If you travel frequently, an annual policy may be better value. You can also choose a bespoke plan for yourself or your family, covering you and your immediate family.
Most policies include cover for:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Personal liability
- Lost, damaged or stolen luggage
- Money lost
- Travel cancellation
- Travel delay
Generally speaking, the most important aspect of any travel insurance policy is coverage for emergency medical expenses including the cost of returning home for treatment. These costs can be very expensive. So always check the level of coverage and any exclusions very carefully.
For cancellation of travel plans, check carefully what grounds for cancellation are covered, eg accident or sickness. Check whether illness of close relatives is also covered.
Other things you need to pay attention to include:
- Bring the original or photocopy of the policy with you when travelling. It outlines the policy coverage and the insurer's contact detail.
- If an unpredictable incident happens, remember to keep all the relevant documents such as the record of reporting to the police or medical certificate, for the processing of claims.
When choosing a travel insurance policy, shop around and make sure you understand what is covered and what is not covered.
Other factors to consider include:
- how often do you travel?
- the cost of the premium
- any excess
- limits on how much you can claim - pay careful attention to limits for things like medical expenses cover and exactly what is covered, eg treatment, accommodation, emergency flights home, etc.
- how to contact your insurer while you are away
- what documentation do you need if you need to make a claim, eg police report, receipts
Travel insurance with a credit card
Some credit cards offer travel insurance to cardholders. If you are going to rely on such travel insurance, check the terms of the policy carefully to ensure that it is sufficient for your needs.
Most travel insurance policies do not cover everything. Common exclusions for cover include:
- pre-existing medical conditions
- accidents as a result of certain adventure or extreme sports
- war and some radical disorders
Always pay close attention to the exclusions. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are planning an engaging in adventure sports, talk to your insurer or intermediary. Remember always tell the truth when applying for a travel insurance policy, otherwise any claim might be denied.