Travel insurance helps over 4,300 people a week who need medical treatment while abroad, with payouts standing at over £4 million a week according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers)*. Travel insurance is one of those policies that should definitely not be overlooked, however 24% of travellers still chose to travel uninsured**.
Here are 5 things you may not know about travel insurance.
1. Cover is not as expensive as you might think
Britons spend more than double the cost of an average single trip travel insurance policy on magazines and sweets at the airport***. Travel insurance often isn’t very expensive - it can cost as little as £15 for a single trip policy****.
It is tempting to opt for the cheapest travel insurance option but this is not always the best route to take. Shop around for different travel insurance prices and make sure the amount of cover suits your needs. A policy should cover medical expenses including repatriation, personal liability, lost, stolen or damaged items, cancellation or missed departures.
2. You are liable to pay medical bills
48% of people do not realise that without travel insurance they would be liable to pay for their own medical bills abroad**.
A common misconception is that the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) will pay for repatriation - this is not true. An EHIC is valid for all medically-necessary care within the EU and the EEA and should be accepted by all state hospitals. However, the FCO strongly recommend that travellers should also have comprehensive travel insurance, as an EHIC only covers necessary care and won’t cover things such as repatriation to the UK in the case of a medical emergency. You can apply for your free EHIC online.
3. Your Home Insurance won’t cover you
Don’t rely on your credit card or home insurance. While these may cover some aspects of your money and possessions it will almost certainly not cover you for most travel emergencies and the British consulate will not cover this cost for you. If you are travelling outside of Europe, ensure that the policy you choose covers the areas that you require. For example, a stomach bug/infection treated in a Californian hospital with return flights costs around £100,000*****!
4. Check what activities are covered
Always ensure you check which activities you are covered for under your travel policy. Often people assume that any activity that is offered on holiday must be covered. This isn’t always the case, if you know that you would like to take part in more adventurous activities and sports while abroad, check your policy before you leave and if the particular activity is not covered, you can always request cover, possibly at a small extra cost. Most standard activities are usually covered, snorkelling, diving, jet skis, water skiing etc.
5. Cover against Military Call up
Being a member of the Armed Forces there are certain aspects that you may need cover for that civilians do not, for example, what if you are unexpectedly called up for Military duty? You are covered up to £3,000 with a Forces Mutual travel insurance policy, as long as you have had your policy in place for 7 days or more. Standard travel insurance policy may not cover this.
Having travel insurance will give you peace of mind and should an incident occur to yourself or a family member while on holiday, you will certainly be glad that you had it. You won’t have to pay out large bills from your holiday money and the situation will be far less stressful.
* Association of British Insurers, 23/07/2014
** FCO, Travel Insurance Facts, Know Before you Go
*** Research commissioned by the FCO and carried out by Redshift in June 2010, sample 1000 people
**** Based on Harrison Beaumont single trip travel insurance
***** Foreign & Commonwealth Office, https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-insurance, 22/03/2013