Every traveller knows the importance of choosing an appropriate travel insurance policy before setting off on vacation, however finding the Best Travel Insurance Policy for you might not be as easy as it seems. Researching and making comparisons between providers can just be a chore, but if you don’t take care, you could find that you end up purchasing cover that doesn’t meet your needs, and that’s a recipe for disaster should the worst happen and you need to make a claim.
Why Buy A Travel Insurance Policy?
We all know someone who has boasted about saving money by forgoing travel insurance when going on vacation. However, that’s a risk that you should never consider taking. Just imagine that you need to unexpectedly cancel your trip because of a family illness or death, or consider what would happen if you become ill or become injured on your travels. Perhaps your luggage is stolen, or your passport is lost, or your laptop or camera is damaged during your journey. That’s when travel insurance really comes into its own.
A travel insurance policy covers your unexpected medical bills as well as trip cancellations and loss, theft or damage to personal effects. Of course, there are different types of coverage. The amount you’ll be covered for depends on the plan you choose, the company that you buy from, and the size of excess that you opt for, and therefore it’s essential to ensure that you select a policy that will cover your costs should you ever need to claim.
What To Consider
When buying your policy, you need to bear a number of things in mind before making your final decision. Some of the factors to consider include:
• Where will you be travelling to?
• How will you be travelling?
• What kind of activities will you be participating in? Will you be doing any potentially dangerous sports or activities like skydiving or skiing?
• How long will you be travelling for?
• Who will you be going with?
• What is the value of the luggage you will be taking?
What Type Of Coverage Should You Choose
Once you have narrowed down the above points, the next factors that you need to consider include:
• Medical cover – will your policy only covers you for medical treatment while overseas or will you also be able to be reimbursed for any treatment that you need when you have returned home?
• Payout requirements – will you need to submit written reports of your incident? What kinds of documents will you need to attach when making your claim?
• Do you need so much coverage? – Before you buy, make sure that your chosen policy gives you the level of coverage that you really need, could you save money by downgrading a little?
• Upgrades – will you need to add additional cover for your luggage? Do you need to add any coverage for items that you are considering buying overseas?
• Drugs and alcohol – pay close attention to the small print. Remember that most policies will not pay out if an incident occurs while you have been using drugs or drinking alcohol.
• What won’t be covered – many policies will not cover you for adventurous activities that pose a high risk, travel to a high-risk country, or for medical treatment for a pre-existing medical problem. If any of these are likely to apply to you, you need to seek out a specialist policy. Always declare any medical conditions that you have when buying a policy otherwise you will almost certainly not be covered should you require treatment when away.
• Exclusion – all policies have exclusions, and typically these will include problems due to natural disasters or severe weather as well as acts of God, civil commotion, terrorism or war.
Single Trip Or Annual Policy
When buying your policy, you may find that you can save money by purchasing an annual policy rather than one for just a single trip. This is especially true if you plan to travel several times in a year, although you should check the length permitted for each trip before you rely on this type of policy.
The deductible, or excess, is how much you need to pay before you can claim on your insurance. Although the higher the deductible, the lower the premium, remember that should you need to make a claim you will have to pay out a lot more? You will need to weigh up your own level of risk and decide what you are personally comfortable with.
Reducing Your Premiums
Everyone wants to save as much as possible on their travel insurance, so here are some ways to keep your costs down.
• Check if you are covered by your home insurance policy as your belongings may be included when outside your home.
• Buy direct from the provider and over the internet wherever possible since airlines and travel agents often charge extra when selling policies.
• Buy a group policy if you are travelling with several other people as this will often save you money.
• Check with the providers of your home or car insurance to see if you are eligible for a discount on travel coverage as an existing customer.
• If you are travelling as a family, you may find that some policies cover children free of charge.
• Some credit cards offer travel cover as an add-on extra. Check your small print or call your bank for more information.
Although a cheap policy may seem like a great deal, remember that you may end up paying more, in the end, should you need to claim. You need to make sure that you are getting good value for money as well as excellent customer service before you buy. Always ensure that you won’t be paying out an enormous amount in deductibles should you need to claim, but also check that you won’t have to pay a significant amount up front which could all be a waste should nothing untoward occur. Don’t forget to buy travel insurance.
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