It might not have happened to you, but there’s a fair chance you will know someone who has experienced some kind of misfortune while on a vacation abroad. As a result, you probably know how important it is to purchase even very cheap holiday coverage. As you congratulate yourself for being sensible, you’ll start your search for cover – but you may have something of a surprise waiting for you.
The fact is that you are likely to be spoilt for choice. You will probably find yourself facing more options than you can possibly deal with – ranging from those offered enthusiastically by your tour or travel operator, if you are using one, up to some really great opportunities from online providers.
So, how should you go about choosing? There are, of course, no hard and fast rules here but there might be a few things worth keeping in mind.
• Searching for cheap holiday coverage might be your natural start point, but remember that exceptionally cheap insurance won’t mean anything if, when you need to call upon it for help, it doesn’t cover the situation you find yourself involved in. So, make sure you carefully study the cover provided by your chosen policy to satisfy yourself that it is adequate for your needs – rather than simply how cheap it is.
• Pay special attention to health cover provisions. Medical expenses can be phenomenally costly when abroad and could easily be financially ruinous unless you have insurance assistance.
• Don’t assume health cover isn’t required just because you’re going to a European Union country. Your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is issued free by the NHS, but remember that doesn’t necessarily mean it will get you the same degree of free health treatment in a European Union country as you would get in the United Kingdom.
• Read your policy carefully before deciding whether or not to purchase it. Remember that the devil is sometimes in the detail and you should, for example, be very familiar with the things cheap holiday coverage excludes as well as what it actually provides.
• If you are planning to travel regularly in the year ahead, or even to take several holidays, it might be worth looking at family multi-trip cover. The savings might be substantial compared to simply buying single-trip cover every time you travel.
• Make sure you have the right policy for the type of trip you are planning. For example, some forms of standard travel insurance might explicitly exclude participation in various forms of sporting activities, including winter sports. If you’re planning to spend your break sitting on a beach that might not be a problem for you, but if you’re heading for the slopes it very well could be, and you may need special winter sports cover.
Of course vacation problems don’t always have to be catastrophic, but even trivial ones such as lost or stolen luggage can prove to be expensive. That’s why taking the time to find effective, as opposed to simply cheap, holiday coverage is always a wise idea.