Never have I researched a piece before where the words “caveat Emptor” have been so appropriate. With travel insurance the devil really is in the detail. The difficulty is the length of the detail, its often 15-20,000 words.

Essentially Travel insurance is there to pay your costs if you get sick abroad or if your travel is disrupted due to certain insured events.

The good news is the cost of cover have dropped by about 6% in the last 12 months. 

It often includes;

  • cancellation,
  • emergency medical expenses,
  • hospital benefit,
  • personal accident,
  • baggage,
  • personal money,
  • missed departure,
  • delayed departure,
  • third party supplier insolvency
  • overseas legal expenses

Some will also cover volcanic ash or weather disruptions, some policies will provide strike cover.

When picking a policy you need to decide based on;

  • Single or annual multi trip
  • Where are you going UK, Europe or Worldwide
  • Dangerous Sports?
  • Are you over 65

How to get a cheaper plan;

  • Multi trip is cheaper than buying several single trips in the same year.
  • Family /couple is cheaper than single
  • Opt for emailed docs instead of getting them by post, its often cheaper
  • Get your cover online, even if you have to ring the company, then go back to buy it online
  • Shop around, direct is often cheaper than through an intermediary. This includes your travel agent.
  • Gadgets, phones and iPad’s may be cheaper to cover with a standalone gadget policy or extending your home policy than paying for an add-on to the travel policy.
  • It’s usually cheaper if you have a health insurance.

Exclusions;

If you have to ask, the answer is No!

  • Pre-existing medical conditions are the biggest problem, discuss with your insurer before leaving.
  • You can’t get cover once you’ve left Ireland.
  • The difference in the cost of the cover is usually down to the excess. Excess is the amount of money you pay out on each claim. The higher the excess the more money you have to pay before the policy kicks in.
  • Alcohol or drug related incidents are generally not covered. So for example there was a gentleman on a cruise who vomited over the side of the boat, presumably at the end of a good night out and was refused the claim he submitted under “lost luggage” for the dentures that went over the side.
  • Countries, and often ones you wouldn’t expect can be excluded if there is civil or political unrest.
  • Dental cover is typically poor.

Acts of terrorism

People are more conscious now of what their policy covers in the event of a terror attack.  Usually for a plan to pay out the destination must be deemed unsafe to travel to by the department of foreign affairs. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an attack whilst abroad terror attacks are usually excluded from your plan however most insurers say they do cover any medical bills in this instance. Some insurers state they deal with these instances on a case by case basis.

 

Summary

The variations of each plan are incredible, cheapest isn’t necessarily best, be aware these plans are designed to kick in after you have exhausted compensation from your tour operator, airline of private health insurance company. Prices are coming down and may come down further as there is talk that there is a new entrant coming back to the market (Zurich)

 

Caveat Emptor!!!!!!!