AFTER months of saving and planning for your dream holiday in the sun, the time for take-off has finally arrived. Before you grab your roller-case and sombrero, have you paused to think about what happens if something doesn’t go according to plan?
If you are travelling abroad, you should consider getting travel insurance. For many people, it gives them peace of mind to know that they’re covered should anything go wrong when they’re abroad. It can cover you against losses such as damaged or delayed luggage, cancelled flights, delayed or missed departure, loss or theft of money or passport, and illness or injury.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) have some tips to help you get organised.
BUYING TRAVEL INSURANCE
1. Choosing a policy.
There are two main types of policies – single and multi-trip. If you are planning more than one trip a year, a multi-trip policy may be a good idea as you are covered for as many trips as you wish for usually a year and it can be cheaper than buying lots of individual short-term policies. There are also policies for particular trips, such as back-packing or travelling for business which may provide you with more specific cover for your holiday.
2. Where to buy your insurance?
Travel agents and tour operators often sell travel insurance as part of a package and while they can insist on you having a certain level of cover in place if you are taking a package holiday, you do not have to take their insurance. You may be able to get better value by buying your travel insurance separately from another provider, particularly if you will need travel insurance again later in the year. Do your research online before you buy. There are several websites that allow you to compare policies.
3. Buy it as soon as you book your holiday.
Our research shows that only 23% of holiday-makers buy travel insurance after they book their holiday. Leaving it until the last minute is a mistake people often make as you won’t have any cover if you need to cancel your holiday for one of the reasons covered by your policy. It’s a good habit to book your insurance as soon as you book your holiday. If you need to cancel your holiday before you go, check the terms and conditions of your contract and check the details of your policy if you have travel insurance.
4. Look beyond the price.
Although the price of a policy is important, when it comes to insurance, the cheapest cover may not always be the best for your needs. There are other important factors to look at including:
The level of cover provided – it is important that you are comparing like with like and that the policy gives you the cover you need.
Check the level of excess – this is how much you will need to pay before your insurer will pay out a claim.
What locations are covered – this is particularly important if you are opting for a multi-trip policy as not all may be included or some destinations may require you to pay a higher premium.
Many insurers require you to pre-notify them if you or your immediate relatives have any pre-existing health conditions. They may not cover some conditions so it is important that you provide the details and check that you are covered.
Do you still need travel insurance if you have health insurance?
Medical care for health issues or accidents is one of the most common problem those on holidays face.
According to the CCPC’s research, 41% of respondents who made a claim on their travel policy did so due to a medical issue or an accident.
If you are an Irish resident and have a European Health Insurance Card, you are entitled to free or reduced cost state-provided healthcare when visiting an EU country or Switzerland. However, medical costs in some countries can be very expensive and travel insurance is still necessary to reduce any additional expenses.
If you have private health insurance, you are probably already covered for illness and injury when you are abroad so check your policy before you buy, rather than paying for insurance you may not need.
Your private health insurer may also offer discounted travel insurance that covers you for non-medical loses. However, you need to pay as much attention to the benefits, exclusions and excesses as you do to the price.
Even if you have health insurance that covers you for medical expenses while abroad, it will not cover anything else that might happen, such as damaged or delayed luggage, cancelled flights, delayed or missed departure, loss or theft of money or passport.
For more information visit www.ccpc.ie.