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How to get the best travel insurance

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Family running on a beah
It is easy to forget about getting travel insurance in all the excitement of booking a holiday.

But if you fail to get adequate cover and fall ill on holiday you could end up with a bill for thousands of pounds. That doesn't exactly sounds relaxing does it?

We explain how to get the best travel insurance for you and your family.

Annual or single trip?

If you're planning more than two trips away this year, then it might make sense to get annual travel insurance. Compare the price of a single policy against an annual before you make a decision.

Family travel insurance

If you're going on more than one trip with your family then you may want to think about getting a family holiday insurance policy. These usually consist of two adults and up to four children (under the age of 18). Check MoneySuperMarket.com to compare family policies.

Check your bank

Some premium bank accounts that charge monthly, or annual, fees also include travel insurance.  But if yours does, make sure you're adequately covered for your trip, as it may, for example, exclude certain countries or areas.

Be sensible about the excess

The excess is the amount you have to pay to make a claim. In a nutshell, the higher the excess the cheaper the policy. When it comes to claiming, especially for the loss or theft of smaller items you need to consider how much you're willing to pay. Experts say between £50 and £75 is a reasonable limit.

Over 65?

Many general insurance companies don't offer cover to those aged 65 and over and those that do add a hefty wad of cash onto the premium for the pleasure. Try using a specialist insurer, like AllClearInsurance or Saga.

A EHIC isn't enough

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) lets you get state healthcare either at a reduced cost or free when you're holiday in all European Economic Area countries, including Switzerland. But is not an alternative to travel insurance as it won't cover you for private medical care or if you are seriously ill and need to be flown back to the UK. For more information visit www.nhs.uk/ehic

Pre-existing conditions

A standard travel policy is unlikely to cover any medical conditions you may already have, like cancer or a heart problem - and that can even include depression. You must tell your insurer before you go on holiday about any pre-existing medical illnesses, which may push up the cost of your policy. The alternative is that they may refuse to pay out, even if your claim isn't connected to your illness. Try specialist comparison providers InsuranceWith.com or allcleartravel.co.uk.

Travel insurance check list

Before taking out a policy you should check that it covers these points:

 

  • Medical cover - If you fall ill when you're away then you don't want to end up with a big bill at the end of it. Experts recommend £2million worth of medical cover, which should include repatriation incase you need to be flown back to the UK.
  • Cancellation - This is important if you need to cut your trip early or if you or a relative falls ill before you travel. The limit should be set at least £3,000. Keep an eye on the small print and check the definition of close, as you might not be covered if you're travelling with a friend who you are not related to. 
  • Delay - You should be compensated by your insurer if you're delayed for more than 12 hours. Avoid problems by getting a confirmation of the delay in writing from your airline and keep all receipts. 
  • Baggage and personal belongings - Ideally your policy will pay out up to £1,500 if your luggage or personal belongings are lost, damaged or stolen. You may need an additional clause in your insurance if you have a valuable item, like a laptop or camera, that costs over £250. 
  • Personal liability - If you're going on a winter sports holiday then it's a good idea to get personal liability cover for up to £1.


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