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Travel insurance may seem an unwelcome cost but could be vital if the worst should happen whilst on holiday.

travel insurance

Any additional cost is always unwelcome and it can sometimes be tempting not to bother with travel insurance, especially if you are only making a short trip. But travel insurance could prove to be an essential investment. If you should have an accident, fall ill, lose or have your belongings stolen, suffer delays or even have to cancel your break altogether, the right insurance is crucial to help you get the assistance you need.

So many policies, so little time

There are many types of insurance now available, for single travellers, couples and families. In taking out a family policy it is important to check conditions regarding the age of the children and whether they are covered if they are travelling with somebody else. If you regularly enjoy discount holidays abroad, an annual policy may prove to be better value. Some policies are global whereas others only cover Europe. The cheapest policy may not always be best as you may find many risks are simply not covered. If you travel with valuables then it is important to check that there is sufficiently high single item coverage in the event of loss or theft.

What if your break is cancelled?

Whether you will receive a refund depends to some extent on the reason you cannot travel. If the area has been officially declared not safe for travel by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) but you choose to go anyway, or the FCO has said it is safe and you elect not to go, you are unlikely to receive any recompense. The sudden death or illness of a close relative may be covered, but each insurer may have a different definition as to what they regard as "close". If you are unable to travel due to a pre-existing medical condition you failed to declare when taking out the policy, you are also unlikely to be covered.

Check the small print

It is vital to carefully read your travel insurance policy documents before you go so you can spot and rectify any potential stumbling blocks. Policies vary enormously both in terms of flexibility and coverage. The definitions of hazardous activities and reasonable amounts of alcohol in particular can be very different depending which insurer you choose. So if you are trying sports such as jet skiing or skydiving, check that you will be covered. Other areas that vary hugely are the sums of cash that may be replaced if lost or stolen, and assistance with hospital fees, particularly in the case of pre-existing medical conditions or those that could have been prevented with the correct inoculations. Taking out appropriate travel insurance and ensuring that it has adequate coverage to meet your specific needs will mean that should the worst happen, you will be able to get help and hopefully be financially recompensed.

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