What should your travel insurance cover?

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Travel insurance checklist

Get a comprehensive travel insurance policy that ticks all the boxes, to make sure you’ve got the right cover for you

Whether you’re going on a mini-break or taking the whole family on a summer holiday, make sure you pack the right travel insurance

You never know what’s going to happen on holiday, especially in a different country where you aren’t in familiar surroundings. But with adequate insurance you can financially protect yourself from some of the potential pitfalls of travelling. Everyone has different circumstances, so opting for a comprehensive policy can make for a softer landing if something goes wrong. Here’s a checklist to consider when you’re buying travel insurance for your next holiday.

Medical emergencies

Your biggest potential cost abroad is emergency medical care, so it’s essential to have appropriate medical cover. Within Europe, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will offer basic cover, but is not an alternative to travel insurance, as it doesn’t include any private medical costs such as mountain rescue, being flown back to the UK, lost property, or cruises.

When checking what medical cover is included in your policy, make sure it encompasses treatment costs (including hospital charges and ambulance fees), returning home if you’re unable to use your original ticket, transport and accommodation for a friend or family member to accompany you, temporary emergency dental treatment, and 24-hour access to an assistance helpline if you need advice or support.

Pre-existing conditions

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to pre-existing conditions, as withholding information about your medical history can invalidate your policy. Depending on the condition, the additional cost of adding it to your cover might only be minimal, whereas if you don’t inform your insurer about it at the time of taking out the policy, you could end up uninsured and out of pocket.

Baggage cover

Do you travel light, or do you pack for all types of weather? Perhaps you take expensive gadgets such as e-readers, mobile phones, sports equipment, bikes, cameras or laptops with you? In the event that your belongings get lost or stolen, make sure it’s all covered by your travel insurance policy by checking exactly what’s included, the maximum amount you can claim for, and if you need to add anything to your policy separately. This also applies to cover for cash, which often has a relatively low cap, so it’s safest to carry as little as possible.

Dangerous activities

You might think this just means extreme sports, like off-piste skiing or white water rafting, but insurance companies will often not provide cover as standard for other potentially risky pastimes too, such as a hot air ballooning, zip lining and scuba diving. Check the small print to see what’s covered – some sports are included but only to a certain degree, for example when diving to a limited depth.

Cancellation or missed departure

Without the ability to see into the future, it’s impossible to know if something will happen that will cause you to either miss your flight or have to cancel your holiday completely. Some travel insurance policies cover these eventualities in certain circumstances, such as a medical emergency or bereavement, but being late because there was traffic on the M4 won’t cut it. See what cover is offered and if you would like to add to it, for extra piece of mind.

A full breakdown of what your travel insurance policy should include is available on the UK Government website.

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