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A Travel Insurance Comparison Guide
Travel insurance protects holiday expenses against adverse events such as cancellation and interruption and also reimburses medical expenses, the loss or damage of property and transit delays while you’re away.
Many millions of travellers and holiday makers purchase some form of insurance every year, but few people know really what it is and how it can be defined. If you know what is included, and what is not you will be able to make the most of your protection, and get reimbursed fairly.
There are four main categories of travel insurance:
1. Health and Medical reasons Emergency evacuation: This generally covers emergency transportation to either a local hospital in the event that the traveller is unable to get there by themselves or back to a hospital near the traveller’s home town. If family members are covered on the same policy they might also be able to travel back home. Medical reasons: This reimburses emergency medical and dental costs. Nearly all holiday insurance plans work by reimbursing the traveller after they have paid locally for treatment. Claims are usually paid within 7 – 10 working days. Pre-existing medical conditions may be covered your policy and it is important to check if you need to factor this into your insurance.
2. Delays and cancellation or curtailment Cancellation: Reimbursement generally comes into effect if travellers have booked and paid for a holiday, but are unable to embark because of personal illness or injury, death (of the individual or of a family member), adverse weather conditions, transport strikes, terrorism, bankruptcy, sudden unemployment, jury duty or by sustaining serious damage to their home causing it to be uninhabitable due to fire or flooding. Delay: This usually reimburses travellers for hotel, food or clothing expenses in the event of a flight delay. Some plans also cover costs associated with catching up with a cruise should another delay cause the traveller to miss embarkation. Interruption: Insurance companies may pay money to policy holders abroad if they have to cut short their trip due to illness, death (of the traveller or a family member), terrorism, weather, airline strikes, bankruptcy, sudden unemployment, and other adverse conditions which mean that, due to events outside the control of the holiday-maker, a trip has to be curtailed.
3. Death: Accidental death – can cover death or dismemberment at any time of your trip. Usually guarantees the lowest amount of coverage due to a higher risk Air Flight accident – this may cover death or dismemberment during an air flight only. Usually guarantees the highest amount of coverage due to fairly low likelihood of this occurring. Common carrier – often covers death or dismemberment while travelling on public transport such as a plane, ferry, train bus or taxi.
4. Loss or damage of property: Baggage loss – may reimburse travellers for lost, stolen or damaged personal items. This coverage is usually restricted to the duration of the trip and not confined to baggage damaged or lost by the airline. There are two policy limits, total claim and per item maximum.
Some policies also place limits on the type of items that can be claimed for – such as precious jewellery, laptops and sporting goods. Hire Car damage – This reimburses travellers for damage or loss to a rental vehicle. It is designed to allow the traveller to decline collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage offered by the car rental companies. Liability coverage should still be purchased through the car rental company.
Rental Car Damage coverage is also often included with the credit card used to pay for the car rental which often matches the coverage provided in the policy. Assistance services – may guarantee a 24-hour collect telephone advice and assistance service to travellers. This service can be used anytime a traveller needs advice. Make sure you keep a copy of this number in several places in your luggage or on your person when you move around.
The information on this page is not to be taken as advice. You should always perform your own research and make sure that you understand the conditions of any insurance you decide to take out.