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Six surprising ways to invalidate your travel insurance

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Before going on holiday you should always buy travel insurance to protect you and your family while you’re away.

But it’s important to be aware of the things that could potentially invalidate your cover. You don’t want to be caught out when you need it most.

Carolina Vicente travel expert at insurer Columbus Direct lists some surprising ways you could invalidate your cover.

Not starting the policy at the right time

Your travel insurer should cover you if you can’t make the trip because of an accident or an illness, but only if you meet the policy criteria. Cancellation cover on single-trip policies start as the policy is issued. If you are purchasing single-trip cover, make sure you do so as soon as you book your holiday so issues that arise in the period before you travel should be covered (subject to policy T’s & C’s).

Cancellation cover on annual multi-trip policies is slightly different as it’s dependent on the cover being in force, rather the issue date. A common mistake is to forward the annual multi-trip policy to start on the first date of your first trip that year. But this means you aren’t covered if something happens between the day the policy was issued and the policy start date. Ensure a policy for annual multi-trip cover starts from the day you purchase the policy to avoid disappointments.

Not declaring all medical conditions

Though you may not be experiencing discomfort or suffering from a past or even current medical condition when you book your travel insurance, be sure to read any medical questions carefully and declare all relevant pre-existing conditions. This way you can ensure you get the right policy and receive the appropriate care if needed. If you don’t declare a condition and experience health problems while you’re away you won’t be covered for any medical attention you receive.

Skiing off-piste

If you have a skiing accident off-piste many insurers won’t cover you. Some insurers offer winter sports cover which can include protection on and off-piste within resort boundaries. Be sure to check the small print and if you plan on skiing off-piste, make sure you tailor your policy to get the right cover.

Leaving your property unattended

If a possession is stolen when it’s out of your sight and not locked in a safe place, your travel insurer will consider this to be ‘unattended property’, meaning they will not cover the contents. When you’re not carrying your possessions, make sure they are in your sight at all times, or locked safely away, to avoid any disappointment if they do go missing.

Not having the correct travel documents

Many countries will need you to have at least 6 months left on your passport to allow you entry. If you realise this too late to apply for a new passport or even worse, get to border control and aren’t allowed to enter your travel insurer will not reimburse any costs.

Similarly with visas, make sure you purchase the right visa for the country you’re visiting because your insurer won’t cover you if you get this wrong. Make sure to plan in plenty of time to avoid any issues arising.

Not having the necessary inoculations for the country you’re visiting

Before you go on holiday, make sure you visit your GP to discuss the necessary vaccinations for the country you’re visiting. If you decide to travel without getting these and you contract a disease, your travel insurance will be invalidated. It’s up to you to get the necessary inoculations to protect yourself against illness and potentially huge medical bills.

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