Understanding Travel Insurance

Travel insurance provides you with peace of mind when you visit a destination abroad, and covers a range of different aspects of travelling overseas. Policies can vary, but most will have many similar elements. The fact is that emergencies abroad, and situations out of your control such as flight cancellations, can prove expensive without cover in place, and travel insurance is designed to help.

Going abroad without insurance

According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, an air ambulance from the East Coast of the USA can cost between £35,000 and £45,000 whilst an air ambulance from the Canary Islands could still be as much as £16,000. The same source says that a scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort from Australia could be over £15,000.

In the case of personal possessions, the value could be any number, but getting the money back to replace items will be difficult without cover in place. Items such as jewellery, clothing and electrical goods could get lost in transit or stolen abroad, but a good travel insurance policy can provide compensation.

The cost of legal expenses needed abroad and cover for personal liability are both essential for foreign travel, and without insurance you could be looking at a large bill!

Travel insurance should include…

  • Medical and health cover, in the case of injury or illness
  • Personal liability cover, should you cause injury, or damage to property
  • Personal possessions cover, in case items are lost or stolen
  • Cancellation or curtailment cover
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

It is also vital that your insurance lasts for your whole trip abroad. There are other policy benefits that could be included, although the exact options may vary. You may be able to add:

  • Legal expenses cover
  • Personal accident cover
  • Compensation or cover should an airline or booking agent go bankrupt before your journey

Be aware of possible exclusions to your policy, and that you still have an element of responsibility. You must take care of your possessions, for example, as negligence may result in refusal of compensation, and drink or drug-related incidents may also be excluded.

For your own benefit, make sure that your policy can refund the full cost of your holiday; check that it will pay out if you have to cut it short or cancel for reasons such as illness.

Check that the travel company holds an ATOL, or Air Travel Organiser’s Licence, and can offer financial protection for your travel arrangements through an association like ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents).

Choosing travel insurance

As there is a wide range of travel insurance policies available, it’s best to shop around and compare travel insurance to find the right cover. Some of the best prices are found online, and a comparison table from an impartial and reliable source will give you all the key policy details laid out in a clear and concise format.