What should my travel insurance policy cover?
A good comprehensive policy will cover:
Medical expenses. these can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, sometimes even higher, particularly in the USA. Travel insurance will cover those bills. We recommend that you choose a policy with a minimum of £2m of medical cover in Europe and £5m worldwide. Note that if you have a pre-existing medical condition it is vital you declare it to the insurance company.
Always check the small print, but most insurance policies will cover:
- Emergency medical treatment
- A return flight should you miss yours due to medical problems
- Accommodation and travel expenses for someone to stay with you
- The cost of someone to travel out from the UK if your doctor recommends it.
Cancellation charges. if you fall ill or lose your job and are unable to travel the resulting cancellation fees should be covered by your travel insurance. For this reason it is important that you purchase insurance at the time of booking as you can never predict when you might need to cancel. Check to see what your policy offers for the following:
- Family bereavement
- Pregnancy (unknown when you buy the policy)
- Jury service or witness summons
- Home emergency: fire, storm or flood, burglary
- Bad weather – affects the departure of flights and ships.
Lost luggage and belongings. we recommend your policy provides at least £1,500 to cover lost or stolen possessions.
Look for insurance that protects your possessions and baggage at all points of your holiday – particularly baggage lost while it is in the care of an airline.
Most travel insurance policies will cover:
- Individual valuable
items – although there is generally a cap on how much is paid out per item
- Lost and stolen items and luggage
- Lost and stolen cash and travellers’ cheques.
Travel insurance will cover lost and stolen belongings but make sure that you take good care of them. For example, if you leave your baggage unattended or in an unlocked hire car or check high value goods into the aircraft hold, the insurance company may take the view that you did not take due care and this may affect your claim.
What isn’t covered
This will vary from policy to policy, so always check the small print. The following are a list of common travel insurance exclusions:
- Incidents that occur after drinking too much or taking drugs, you might not be covered if you have an accident or lose something. Don’t leave your common sense at home!
- Theft of unattended possessions – many insurers require that you take ‘reasonable’ care
- Sports, extreme sports and some leisure activities such as skiing, white water rafting or bungee jumping – you may need to extend your policy or buy a specialist policy
- Medical treatment resulting from:
- existing medical conditions that you have not declared- conditions preventable by vaccine or advisable medication such anti-malarials