Travel Insurance: What You Need To Know Now

Whether you’re planning a long-haul trip abroad or a local staycation, having adequate travel insurance has never been more important. From choosing the right policy through to making a claim, we asked travel insurance expert Antony Martin from InsureFor.com to answer some of our questions.

What’s the most important thing to consider when choosing travel insurance?

“Due to the ever-changing UK Government travel restrictions and updates from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), holidaymakers have faced lots of confusion around what travel insurance to choose during the pandemic. When choosing your travel insurance, you must look for a policy which gives you adequate cover in case your destination is removed from the travel corridors list by the FCDO (meaning you are advised not to travel). It’s essential to look for a policy which covers you against any Covid-related issues that might occur, as well as pre-departure cancellation cover in case you, or someone you’re travelling with, tests positive for Covid-19 up to 14 days before the trip.”

Can you tell us about the types of Covid-19 cover different companies are offering?

“The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented – travel insurance companies have had to adapt their policies to cater for the demands and needs of holidaymakers. Initially, many policies did not provide cover for pandemics, and those that did provided limited cover for medical emergencies. However, many travel insurance companies now offer specific Covid-19 cover, but it’s worth noting that many only offer it if you fall ill during your trip and don’t offer pre-departure cover, so it’s necessary to double check the level of cover that is provided. It’s also worth noting that warzone insurance brands, which were some of the first to offer cover contrary to FCDO advice, often have very high excesses – the amount you pay if you make a claim.”

When should you buy a travel insurance policy?

“You need to buy it as soon as you have made a financial commitment towards your trip. As people are becoming increasingly aware, it’s key not to necessarily choose a policy based on price, as many cheaper policies have very high excesses – which can be more expensive if you need to make a claim. Now more than ever, it’s important for travellers to read and understand exactly what they are covered for to ensure they choose the policy that is right for them and will protect them from any Covid-related issues.”

Can you tell us about the different types of travel insurance?

“There are a range of different types of travel insurance. When choosing the policy, it’s important to consider how frequently you travel, where you’re going, how long you’re travelling for and who’s going with you.” Some of the main types include:

  • Single trip travel insurance

  • Annual travel insurance

  • Family holiday insurance

  • Medical screening cover

  • Cruise travel insurance

  • Winter sports travel insurance

  • Gadget travel insurance

  • Over 65s travel insurance

  • Cancellation & medical cover for Covid-19

What should a good policy include?

Different insurers provide different types of cover, but a comprehensive policy will typically include the following:

  • Cancellation

  • Curtailment (when your holiday is cut short)

  • Lost, stolen or damaged personal belongings

  • Personal accident

  • Emergency medical expenses

  • Repatriation (the cost of getting you back to the UK if you suffer an illness or accident)

  • Personal liability

  • Travel delays

 
InsureFor.com has recently launched new insurance products with the Covid holidaymaker in mind, making it the first travel insurance brand to provide cover when travelling against FCDO advice(to European countries for single-trip policies) and against Covid-related issues both pre-departure and abroad. In the current situation, there are a lot of things you need to consider when choosing a policy – whichever company you choose, always read the small print.”

How do you know if you’ve found a good policy?

“It’s important to find the best travel insurance for your needs, rather than just searching for the cheapest options. The best thing to do is compare several types alongside each other. First, find the right type of insurance for your needs, and then do a travel insurance comparison – Compare The Market and TravelSupermarket and both good sites to use. Make sure you buy a travel insurance policy that offers free amendments, so if holiday plans change, they can move their cover. At InsureFor.com, we’ve recently launched new types of insurance that give you cover when travelling against FCDO advice (to European countries for single-trips), and also protect you against Covid-related issues both pre and post departure.”

Now more than ever, it’s important for travellers to read and understand exactly what they are covered for to ensure they choose the policy that is right for them and will protect them from any Covid-related issues.

Do you need insurance if you’re travelling within the UK?

“Yes, it’s important to take out travel insurance for a staycation – even under normal circumstances – to cover the various possibilities mentioned above, but in light of the current situation, it’s even more important. It will protect you against Covid-related issues both pre-departure and during a UK trip, in case you contract the virus before or during your stay. It’ll also cover you if the area you’re travelling to, or the area you live in, goes into lockdown.”

What happens if your local area or the area you’re travelling to goes into lockdown?

“Following the government’s implementation of a three-tier system according to local infection rates, more UK regions may go back into lockdown if there is a spike in cases. If your accommodation suddenly closes, or the region moves into Tier 3 and you are advised not to travel, providing you have insurance, you’ll be covered.”

Who needs extra cover?

“Any winter and adventure sports activity holidays always require extra cover. If you’re over 65 or have a medical condition, you’re also likely to need a specialist policy.”

If something happens on holiday, how do you make a claim?

“To make a claim, always contact your insurer as soon as something goes wrong. Most insurers have 24-hour helplines so you can contact them at any time of the day or night. You’ll usually need evidence to support your claim, for example if valuables have been stolen, you will need a crime reference number from the local police. Similarly, if your baggage has gone astray, you should get a form confirming this from the airport and submit it with your claim.”

Can you claim if you’ve paid using rebooking vouchers?

“Rebooking vouchers are deemed as cash. If a customer then has to cancel the holiday, due to illness for example, the claim will be managed in the same way as if they had paid by cash in the first place.”

Can you buy travel insurance for pets?

“Yes, some insurers will allow you to cover pets under a policy. Some animals require a pet passport, or equivalent, to travel abroad. The requirements for your pet to be granted entry usually vary by country and there are extra conditions if you're travelling to an unlisted country – somewhere that’s not on the list of EU and non-EU countries.”

What should you do if you don’t get accepted for cover?

“Travel insurance policies offer a wide range of coverage and most travellers should be able to find cover. You may need a specialist type of cover for high risk medical conditions but there are a number of companies that provide cover for this. If you cannot get cover for a trip, it’s most likely because you shouldn’t be travelling and we do not recommend anyone travels without adequate travel insurance.” 

If you change your mind, can you get a refund on your policy?

“Yes, most insurers let you cancel within 14 days, providing there are no claims pending on the policy and you haven’t already travelled.”

Anything else to note?

“Always purchase travel insurance from a reputable, trustworthy company and check online reviews first. And finally, don’t choose a policy based on the lowest price as cheaper options can have very high excesses – remember, you ultimately get what you pay for.”
 

For more information on travel insurance, visit InsureFor.com

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book. Please ensure you are aware of the social distancing guidelines in place as well as rules on meeting up in groups larger than six.

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