If the only holiday you're planning this year is some fun in the sun for a week or two, then this is the policy for you. It will cover you for one trip and usually includes cover for medical expenses if you become ill or get injured, if your holiday gets cancelled or if you lose or suffer damage to your luggage or belongings. Although, you'll need to check each policy to see exactly what is covered.
It can be tempting to buy the cheapest policy and hope that nothing unexpected happens. But you should make sure you choose a policy that pays out enough to cover what you paid for your holiday. For example, if your trip to the Bahamas is going to cost you £5000, don't buy a policy that will only pay you £3000 if you have to cancel it.
There may also be limits on the amount you can claim for individual items, so if you're thinking about doing some work by the poolside, choose a policy with a single item limit big enough to pay for that laptop or tablet, just in case it ends up taking a dip in the shallow end.
If you're a seasoned traveller, a world map up on your wall with red pins stuck in all the places you've been to, or you have a number of trips planned for the year, an annual policy could be the cheapest option for you. You will usually be covered for unlimited multiple trips but there may be some restrictions on how long you can go for on each trip.
An annual policy will also cover you for trips you take in the UK as well as your visits abroad. If your luggage goes astray at some motorway services on the M25, your policy could cover the cost of replacing your belongings.
As well as confirming the policy has adequate cover levels for your needs, you should also look at:
Taking a gap year and travelling the world? Or maybe you've finally saved up enough to go on your dream trip visiting surfing meccas of the South Pacific. If you're off on a multi-country trip for an extended time period, Backpacker insurance could be the best option for you.
Not only does it offer the usual travel insurance protection such as personal liability and medical expenses, many policies also include sports and adventure activities and cover for working abroad. You still need to check the small print to make sure the activity or work you are undertaking is covered.
Top tip; before you go, don't forget to get your visas for the countries you will be visiting. It won't be much fun watching your mates go trotting off to sample the delights of another magical country after you've been turned away at the border!
Taking a quick city break in a famous European city like Paris or Amsterdam? Don't make the mistake of thinking because you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you don't need to buy travel insurance. While the EHIC could give you access to reduced costs for state-provided medical treatment in countries in the European Union and Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein, these countries may not provide the same level of free care as the NHS does.
It won't cover you if you need to be repatriated, or for any of the other non-medical protection a travel insurance policy provides, such as loss or damage to baggage and belongings.
Some travel insurance policies will only cover you for travel in the UK and Europe, so if you're planning to go further afield to swim with dolphins or ride the latest rollercoaster in Disneyland, then worldwide cover is the one for you.
Chances are if you're off to a small African country in the midst of a civil war, you won't be covered so check the small print for exclusions. It's also a good idea to check if there are any limitations on the length of time you can be away for, the further you travel, the more likely you are to stay away longer, and some policies may not cover the amount of time you are planning to travel for.
Travel insurance is designed to provide protection for unexpected or unforeseen events. If you have a medical condition and don't declare it to your insurance company, you may find yourself without cover should you fall ill while you are away, as standard travel insurance policies generally exclude pre-existing medical conditions.
The simplest way to avoid this happening is to buy a policy which covers pre-existing medical conditions. You need to tell the insurer about any illness, disease or injury you have now, or have previously had. This can include things such as asthma, diabetes or heart conditions. This kind of policy could cover your medical expenses and the costs of having to fly home (if necessary) should you become ill during your trip.
More and more of us are using our retirement to travel the world and enjoy new experiences now the drudgery of having to work is behind us. Ironically, even though we are generally living longer and healthier lives, travel insurance costs increase as we get older. This is because older travellers are seen as higher risk, for example more likely to fall ill when away than their younger counterparts.
Age is no barrier to travel however, as many insurance companies offer policies exclusively for the over 65s. They may cost more, but they are also more likely to have higher levels of medical and emergency cover.
A cost-effective way of insuring a family travelling together is to buy a family policy. A standard family policy will usually cover two adults and up to four children (aged 18 and under), and includes the usual cancellation, lost luggage and medical expenses cover.
Some policies may have restrictions relating to age and whether the family lives together at the same address, so it's important to read the policy details to make sure the cover is suitable for your family.
Going away with a group of mates to Benidorm on a stag do? Off to Holland on a cycling holiday with your cycling club? Why not consider a group travel insurance policy to keep costs down? Group cover is one policy that covers between two and ten individuals within your group, rather than everyone having to buy their own cover individually.
Remember to take a good look at the benefits and features offered for each insurance policy and pick the one that suits the overall needs of your group. For example, if you're taking sporting equipment with you, make sure the policy will cover the cost of replacing it should it get lost or damaged.
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