While planning and thinking about your holidays is exciting, holiday insurance most certainly is not - yet the correct insurance policy can save you huge amounts of stress. We’ve put together a guide to the different types, so you know what to look for when deciding the most cost-effective and comprehensive way to cover any eventuality.
If you are heading abroad It is also a good idea to set up an account with a secure money transfer service such as TransferWise. This will mean you can move money to a foreign bank account in case of an emergency, without having to pay hefty bank charges.
Before booking your insurance, check that it has a “trip cancellation” or “interruption clause” - this means you could get you a refund if you need to cancel your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances.
Single Trip Cover or Annual/Multi-Trip Policy?
Single trip insurance offers, as the name suggests, cover for one trip. If you are planning on travelling more than once in the year, then an annual or multi-trip policy might work out more sensibly.
Check the small print though - there is often a limit as to how many trips you will be covered for within a specific time period (normally 90 days).
Family or Group Travel Insurance
Again, this is pretty straightforward - family travel insurance will always work out cheaper than insuring everyone separately. And group travel insurance is a great idea if you are going away with friends - especially if you think high jinks may occur.
Worldwide Travel Insurance
While you are covered with an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for trips within the EU and EEA (so make sure you apply for one and take it with you - it’s free!), medical care further afield can be eye-wateringly expensive (we’re looking at you especially, USA). Make sure your insurance covers you comprehensively for medical bills if you are venturing outside Europe.
If you are heading off for a big adventure, crossing multiple continents and possibly working occasionally, then specific backpackers insurance is what you need. These policies can be tailored and very flexible, so make sure your insurer knows where you are going and what extreme sports (if any) you are likely to be taking part in.
Bare in mind that there can be occasionally be age restrictions on this type of insurance and you might be refused cover on the basis of existing medical conditions. If either of these apply to you, you might end up paying significantly higher premiums or refused cover entirely - in which case keep shopping around.
Over 65s Insurance
Being refused cover or having hugely increased premiums because of age is a real problem in the travel insurance industry. Many companies now offer a tailored package to customers over 65 and there are also specialist insurance brokers for older customers. It is especially important for people over 65 to compare offers from different insurers, as premiums can vary wildly for this age group, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or particular health needs.
Winter Sports Insurance
Skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports enthusiasts should definitely take out this speciality cover as most travel insurance policies specifically exclude this type of activity due to the high likelihood of injury, and the expense of recovering you from a remote landscape. Check also that your skis/snowboard etc are covered - that can be another expense after a tumble down a mountainside.
Top Tip: Before heading to the nearest insurance brokers or firing up the internet, check with your bank that your current account or credit card don’t come with a travel insurance policy - you might be pleasantly surprised, especially if you pay a monthly fee for a premium account.