Many of us will be going away over Christmas. If it’s not Christmas dinner by the pool, it could be a new year city break or a week on the ski slopes.
But with the pound not buying as many euros as it once did, you may be tempted to cut corners by not taking out travel insurance. This can be an expensive mistake.
What could go wrong?
Not every trip goes smoothly. Accidents happen. Luggage gets lost and illness can strike. Insurance can provide a financial solution.
Travel insurance providers paid out over £200m in medical expenses in over 500,000 claims in 2018, according to the Association of British Insurers.
Having the right cover lets you get on with enjoying your trip. It can cover the loss or theft of your personal possessions, and can provide cover if you have to cancel or need to return early due to an emergency. It can take care of medical bills while you are abroad, and even cover the cost of bringing you home if an air ambulance is required. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office suggest that an air ambulance from the Canary Islands would cost £12-16,000, or £35-45,000 from USA’s East coast.
You can’t cut corners, but by shopping around, the right cover could cost much less than you might think.
Check that you have the cover you need
Comprehensive policies will typically cover you for all the risks you are likely to face: loss of baggage, theft, medical treatment and emergency repatriation, and cancellation.
Most annual and single policies cover you for between 90 and 180 days, so you should check the details if you’re planning a long break away. You can take out single trip insurance, but if it is a winter break, you will probably be off in the summer as well, and an annual, multi-trip policy will probably work out cheaper. But be careful – there may be a limit on the total number of days abroad you’re covered for.
Basic travel insurance will be adequate for most winter breaks, where the intention is to do a little sightseeing and the biggest danger might be leaving too large a tip.
If you are thinking of skiing, snowboarding or other winter activities, however, you will not be covered. These require a higher level of insurance to deal with the potential medical bills for broken limbs or worse. Winter sport cover can also provide cover for expensive specialist equipment.
Keeping costs under control
Once you have decided on the cover you need, its time to see how you can get it without eating into your holiday budget.
The first thing is to understand that cover from specialist providers can cost a fraction of the that offered by tour operators. The second is to only get the cover you actually need.
Generally, travel insurance for trips within Europe is cheaper, because medical costs inside the EU are much lower. Especially if you remember to arrange your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This allows you to use the local medical services and only pay the local rates.
So, if you are not going further afield, specify Europe only then look at whether you can save with multiple cover. Couples insurance is for two adults who live at the same address. Family cover can sometimes even mean free cover to anyone under 18 in the family. Group cover could suit you if you’re travelling with up to 10 friends or family members.
All mean savings compared with individual policies.
The comparison websites can be a big help in finding the cover you need. But if you need expert advice on matters to deal with any kind of insurance, the best policy is to call us at Continuum.
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The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
abi.org.uk – Speech by Huw Evans at the ABI Travel Conference – 9th October 2018
moneysavingexpert.co.uk – Cheap Travel Insurance
wanderlust.co.uk – Eye-watering overseas costs without insurance – 28th May 2018