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Five things to check when buying travel insurance

Written by: Carolina Vicente
Make sure you have the right travel insurance for your circumstances with this five-point checklist.

After booking your holiday, your first port of call should always be to purchase travel insurance. Though it may not be the most exciting part of booking a trip away, travel insurance is arguably the most important – it’s all about covering you for the unexpected, and allows you to travel with peace of mind. The sooner you book it, the sooner you’re covered if something goes wrong – especially if you’re unable to travel.

There’s a wide variety of policies out there, but as long as you ensure you have one that protects you for the things you’re planning to do and at the right level then you’ll be good to go.

Here’s simple checklist for the things you must check when buying travel insurance.

  • Check your destination

This may seem obvious, but make sure your insurance policy covers you for the destination(s) you’re planning to visit. For example, some providers will include countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Morocco under European cover, but others don’t, so ensure you’ve read all the terms and conditions before purchasing.

If you’re buying worldwide cover check that the specific countries you’re traveling to are included. Some countries are not always covered as standard and you will need to call your insurer to have these added.

  • Get a policy with benefits

Pay attention to the excess, limits on possession claims and medical expenses, for example, so you’re sure the level of cover offered reflects what you need. It’s also worthwhile considering insurance policies that offer more attractive benefits. For example, all Columbus policies include free lounge access if you’re delayed by more than one hour, and 24/7 access to a UK GP – via Babylon – while you’re on holiday. It’s added benefits like these that make travelling a lot more enjoyable if something doesn’t go to plan.

  • Always declare medical conditions

Be sure to understand what medical conditions the insurer needs you to declare as this can vary between different providers – if you’re unsure, check with them. In an unlikely event that you need to make a claim, this won’t invalidate your policy and leave you with a hefty bill.

It’s just as important to let your insurer know if your medical circumstances change after you purchase your travel insurance. This is so your policy can be amended to reflect your current situation so you’re fully protected should you need medical attention whilst you’re away.

  • Check you’re covered for adventure

We often feel a little more adventurous than usual while on holiday, but you can be caught out if something goes wrong and you hurt yourself, and it turns out that your activity wasn’t covered. Our research shows that 49% of holidaymakers take part in adventurous activities without checking they’re protected, costing them £1,700 on average if they get injured.

Most insurers will cover for a range of activities, but if you plan to go scuba diving, parasailing or bungee jumping it’s worth checking before you travel that the activities planned are covered.

  • Cover your gadgets too

You wouldn’t go away without taking at least two or three different gadgets these days – your camera so you can capture every moment of the holiday, an iPad to keep the kids entertained. If these gadgets are not already insured on another policy, such as your home insurance, then make sure your travel insurance policy covers them.

Carolina Vicente is a travel expert at insurer Columbus Direct


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