Here at Consumer Rights we know all to we that we live in unprecedented times. Restrictions imposed upon us by the worst of circumstances have made life, at best, difficult in the past few months. But without being too eager, for most of us it seems that many of these restrictions are now beginning to slowly ease. The cabin fever that many of us have had to endure is no longer a fixture and the world is opening up once again. And this is great news for anyone who has had a particularly hard time trying to stay indoors. The prospect of travelling is once again a reality and many are lined up to take advantage.
But we must first think before we start making plans about taking two weeks away at Alicante. One of the top priorities for those looking to cross international borders is travel insurance. Jet-setting without valid travel insurance is taking a big risk, making you liable to lose thousands if something goes wrong. Whether it be due to medical inconveniences or unforseen flight irregularities, travel insurance can take the road bumps out of your departure. Let’s explore how travel insurance works in greater detail.
What kinds of travel insurance are there?
You probably already know that travel insurance is not a 1-size fits all level of protection. There are different kinds depending on what you need:
1) European cover/worldwide cover
This may not seem like the biggest of distinctions, but depending on where your journey ranges from, it can be important. Some forms of worldwide cover don’t include the U.S. so be certain to check this is going stateside.
2) Single trip/annual cover
This one is probably obvious. If you’re in a position to only be making 1 trip, a single trip is cheaper. Otherwise, it’s probably an annual trip. Always be vigilant as you can rarely be certain about how often you have to travel annually.
3) Individual/family/couple cover
This category may also seem simple, but it may not always be. If you happen to be travelling in a group/couple and one of you needs specialist insurance, it may still be cheaper for you to secure individual cover.
What does travel insurance generally cover?
Probably the most important question as it pertains to this topic. If I get travel insurance, what am I actually protected against? Well the answer depends of course upon which provider you go with, but also which cover you need.
- Medical expenses and cover; to protect you if you get hurt or fall ill abroad, or if you have to be brought home in emergency situations. Good cover will give you a figure of £1 million or more.
- Flight cover in case of cancellation/delay or other flight irregularity. £2,000 or more is a good figure, but cancellation can only be covered in certain cases.
- Missed departure for unforseen circumstances. £500 is a good figure, but it won’t cover you if you haven’t left enough time to make your flight, or if you’ve been irresponsible in some other way.
- Baggage cover, in case your baggage is delayed, regardless of the timeframe, or that you have missing or damaged items.
- Injury or damage – If you end up inadvertently hurting yourself, or if you do damage to the property you’re in or any other possessions entrusted to you.
Other forms of cover that you may expect to get depending upon circumstances may include;
- Dental cover you may expect to be covered under medical insurance, but it’s actually separate. It’s usually only for emergency treatment and pain relief.
- Cash if you happen to be carrying a reasonable quantity.
- Airline failure is something you may not be thinking about, but it’s a particularly worrying and real possibility at this current time.
- Passport loss. The worst fear but something we all have to remember does happen. Dealing with a lost passport can incur its own costs, such as a taxi to retrieve it, or additional hotel costs if you need to stay longer to look for it. Good cover will provide you with around £250.
A number of other lesser -known or thought of aspects to travel insurance are; threat of terrorism or civil unrest, sports equipment cover or loss of earnings.
Travel insurance in the age of COVID-19
Current world events have led to many providers changing their policies with greater uncertainty as it comes to travel. It seemed at times that the possibility of travelling throughout the Summer, and perhaps the rest of the year, were slim at best. Thankfully the landscape seems to be changing, and holidays are rapidly becoming a reality again.
During the peak of lockdown, around 30 insurers stopped covering altogether. Several big providers and airlines selling travel insurance policies still won’t cover holidays at all under current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice. Since March 17th, the FCO has also advised strongly against all but essential travel to anywhere outside of the UK, and this still has not changed. The particulars of what is covered by each insurer still varies, but essentially, it’s important to know that any cover taken out on or after 12th March of 2020 may not cover Coronavirus related incidents.
The EHIC card
This has been a form of travel insurance available to those from the UK, Switzerland and the wider European Economic Area (EEA) for some time. It is usually available for a very low cost and protects when the above nationals are in the EEA or Switzerland for a reduced cost or free. Be aware that as of 1st January 2021, your card may no longer be valid. If uncertain, you can always ensure your protection by looking into further reaching travel insurance.
So should I take out travel insurance?
Some forms of insurance are really a matter of personal preference, but when it comes to travel insurance, our advise here at Consumer Rights should almost always be absolutely. The question is less about whether or not to get it, and more which cover is right for you.
Going to the US in general carries with it it’s own set of rules and regulations. Travelling to a country with a higher risk of disease, tropical or otherwise wants solid medical insurance. Countries with a more turbulent political situation may want protection in case of that. Whatever it is, there is an insurer out there for your holiday. Make sure to look around and find the best deal for you and your family.