You have been planning your holiday for a while, deliberating over the details; which location, what type of accommodation and the activities you can try out and the sights you can see, but what about your travel insurance? That is something many of us leave to the last minute, doing a quick search online for the cheapest offer available, but is this really the way to be choosing international travel insurance? None of us like to think our holiday will end in disaster, or even suffer some delays or missing luggage and who wants to think about the `what if`s` when you are dreaming of sunshine, beaches and getting away from it all.
Unfortunately travel insurance is as important as ever and what with the potential for natural disasters, accidents and illness, the prevalence of nonrefundable tickets and travel operators and airlines that might suddenly go out of business in this economic climate, it is an aspect of your holiday planning to take seriously. There are many different types of International travel insurance available, and you will need to make sure you purchase one that covers all requirements for your destination and type of holiday you are going on. A trip to a politically unstable country, for example, will incur a higher premium, as will a holiday that involves high risk sports. It is essential that you know what the policy does and does not cover, before you purchase anything and always use a reputable insurance provider.
Basic travel insurance should cover cancellation and curtailments, delay, baggage, personal liability, emergency assistance and medical cover. Cancellation or curtailment cover should ideally be for a minimum of £3,000, or the total cost of your holiday. Your insurance should provide compensation if you experience a delay of longer than 12 hours. Losing your baggage can quickly become a nightmare as you try replacing essential items. Cover should be for up to £1,500, but be aware than most insurers will put a limit on the amount they will pay out for individual valuable items like cameras and laptops.
If you are involved in an accident that is your fault, for example you injure someone or their property, they could make a claim against you so you should ideally be covered for a minimum of £1 million. You should also have at least £2 million of medical cover in case you are in an accident or become ill. It should also include repatriation in case you need to be flown home. A twenty-four hour emergency helpline is also a good service to have as you may need help at any time and you may be in a different time zone. These are minimum guidelines and many policies will provide more. Just be realistic about the amount of cover you might need. There is no point paying more than you have to.
Make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions, as your insurance policy will not pay out on these. If you are pregnant, insurance companies will only insure up until 24 weeks. You will have to purchase extra cover if you want to take part in what insurance companies consider risky winter sports, or other adventure activities such as sky diving.
Should you fall in love with your holiday destination, you might even consider a permanent move there in which case you will need to seek out immigration advice. If you travel as a family or more than once a year, you may also get a better deal with family insurance and multi trip insurance.