10 Things you need to look for when you buy travel insurance

So, your bags are packed, the dog’s in the kennels, the cat has been given the neighbours, and you’re on your way to the airport to begin your long awaited annual holiday. But, did you read the small print on your travel insurance? Travel insurance is so cheap these days that most people have it, or they got given travel insurance cover bundled in with a bank account, or a credit card, but very few people ever check what they are actually covered for.  If you have never taken the time to read the small print on your travel insurance, here are ten things that you should be looking for, before you board your flight.

1. Have you declared any medical conditions?
If you do make a claim on your travel insurance, your insurer had the right to check your medical records, so have you declared everything that you should? It is estimated that 60% of UK travellers have risked invalidating their travel insurance by not declaring pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure and asthma. Just because a condition might not be causing you any problems, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to declare it on your travel insurance.

2. Make sure that you will be covered in all your destination countries
Not all policies will over all countries in the world, so make sure that your travel insurance covers you for all the countries that are planning to visit. It’s not just the out of the way countries and war torn regions either; some policies won’t cover you for the USA and Canada.

3. Check that you are covered for financial failure
Many people travel independently now, so it’s important to make sure that you have insurance that will cover you should your airline, or hotel go into liquidation while you are away.  If you book through a package holiday company then you will be covered for this, but if you booked independently, your travel insurance may not cover this.

4. Check how many consecutive days you are covered for
If you are having an extra-long holiday, it is important to check the number of consecutive days your travel insurance will cover you for. The number of days covered varies by policy and just one day over the limit could invalidate your travel insurance.

5. Make sure that you can afford to pay the excess
Do you know what the excess is on your travel insurance? Make sure that you are comfortable with the amount that you will have to fork out in excess. If you have a family policy, check to see if that excess is for all the people in your party, or whether it is per person.

6. Find out what you have to do to protect your belongings
Your travel insurance will so probably stipulate the precautions that you should take to protect your property and, if you don’t follow their guidelines, they won’t pay out if you lose something. Most policies won’t, for example, cover you for lost cash unless it was locked away in a mini-safe in a hotel room, or if you had the cash on your person.

 7. Check you are covered for any activities that you have planned for your holiday
Some travel insurance policies specifically exclude what they call “hazardous activities”. If you do think you might try a little scuba diving, horse riding, or anything else that could cause you injury, then check your insurance first to make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident.

8. Find out if you are covered for missed flights
Getting a puncture, or getting caught in traffic, on the way to the airport, is everyone’s nightmare scenario and, most basic travel insurance policies do not cover you for missing your flight. Even the policies that do provide you with cover for this eventuality often have strict rules with regard to your proving why you missed your flight.

9. Check your limits
Many travel insurance policies will only cover you up to a prescribed limit for each thing that you claim for. Make sure that you know what these limits are, for example, baggage cover, and make sure that what you take with you does not exceed these limits, or increase you cover to account for it.

10. Buy your cover when you book your holiday, not just before you leave
A lot of people don’t buy their travel insurance cover until just before they are due to go away. Buy your travel insurance when you book your holiday and, subject to the terms of the cover, you will be covered in the event that you have to cancel your holiday and you will be able to claim for any loses

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