Travel Insurance

For anyone who is planning the trip of a lifetime, or even a weekend away in an unfamiliar territory, the last thing they want is a problem.

For anyone who is planning the trip of a lifetime, or even a weekend away in an unfamiliar territory, the last thing they want is a problem. However, problems do crop up from time to time and they can be much more costly to sort out than at home, especially if you are in a foreign country. Therefore, when planning that once in a lifetime holiday, it is crucial to consider for a moment what could happen if someone in the party got injured or sick while overseas, for example. In this sense, travel insurance is not a mere optional extra, but a travel essential - as important as your passport.

As many in the travel insurance say, if a customer cannot afford a travel insurance policy then they shouldn't be able to afford to travel. However, many of us do take trips and holidays overseas without buying such a policy. This is all very well if there are no unexpected incidents. Indeed, in such circumstances, buying an insurance policy can seem like something of a waste. However, even if no claim is made, this does not take into account the amount of peace of mind they bring. This aspect should really be considered on a holiday because the ability to relax - and thereby get more value from a holiday - is enhanced by knowing you are covered should something go wrong.

Travelling in the EU

In a European Union country, the chances are that emergency health care will be administered to UK nationals without too much of a fuss. However, aftercare can sometimes be charged for in some EU states. Depending on where you are in the continent, things like injections, physiotherapy and some nursing care can incur a charge. An adequate insurance policy demonstrates your ability to pay for such services, so you can continue to receive treatment without having to worry about calling for funds from home or heading to the nearest cash machine or bank. It can also help to overcome any language barriers that might be in place when dealing with the financial side of things with health care professionals because all that side of things is already taken care of.

Of course, many people think about medical insurance when travelling for major incidents which might need them given air travel back to their home country. After all, skiing holiday policies tend to have special clauses that cover such unwanted eventualities. Nevertheless, the medical side of travel insurance covers much more than major incidences or illness. Glasses wearers ought to consider what would happen if their spectacles are lost or broken. What about emergency dental care that might be required, too?

When travelling in the EU, it is fair to say that some - but not all - of these matters are covered. However, holidaymakers are often in resorts with only private medical services and are consequently unable to access the public healthcare system. Further afield and no such public healthcare systems are in place. When travelling in most countries in Asia and Africa, for example, medical cover for every kind of consultation and treatment is needed, unless you want to face a bill for the services of medical professionals at every turn.

Holiday Cancellation Insurance

It is worth noting that travel insurance is not only about medical cover - although this is a central part of the reason so many policies are sold. Most premiums will also cover other unwanted eventualities, such as holiday cancellation. This means you can claim most, if not all, of the cost of your holiday back should there be a problem which means you cannot go on it. Sometimes this is down to individual circumstances, like ill health cropping up before your intended travel date. At other times, it might be because the agent goes out of business or makes an error and overbooks.

Personal Property Insurance

Furthermore, travel insurance can help with matters of crime. We all tend to lower our guard on holiday that little bit. Most insurance policies will include a section that covers the theft of personal items, such as passports, credit cards and even money. Usually this section of a policy will be subject to an excess. This means that a certain amount of a loss from theft is not covered. For example, if an excess is set at £100 and a theft of £500 is claimed, then the insurance company would pay out only to the value of £400. Generally speaking, the higher the level of excess, the lower the cost of the policy. Some firms will set upper limits to the total amount that can be claimed, too.

In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority is the regulator which oversees the insurance that is sold by travel companies. This is called connected travel insurance and, for example, can be sold by a travel agent or an airline. On the other hand, insurance firms - including those that are involved in the travel insurance market, but who don't sell travel services themselves - are regulated by the Financial Services Authority.


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