A Guide to Holiday Insurance

By James Story
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Learn what different types of holiday insurance are out there and what is and isn’t covered on your trips.

Holidays are supposed to be happy, idyllic times, but as with everything in life, things don’t always go to plan. Holiday insurance is something that you have to buy even though you hope you won’t need to use it – like a first aid kit! But that doesn’t mean it’s not an essential. This goes for whether you’re hopping across to Calais or flying all the way over to Australia, and whether your trip is for five days or five months!

The best holiday insurance policy is one that covers you comprehensively –for all the right dates and locations – and sufficiently. This means that no matter what could happen, be that a minor irritation like a flight delay to a major catastrophe like a car accident, you are covered financially.

Wise up to the different types of insurance out there, what is and is not covered, and how to keep your policy valid, with this guide.

Types of insurance

The are numerous types of travel insurance, which include:

- Single trip – for one holiday

- Multi-trip – for multiple holidays during one year

- Worldwide – if you’re heading outside of Europe

- Winter sports – if you’re planning on skiing, snowboarding or sledging through your break

There is also insurance packaged up for you with your partner, your family, or a group of friends. This way you can put more than just yourself on one policy, which can save on admin and hassle. For just you and a partner, it might be worth shopping around and seeing if you can get better deals individually. However, if you’re planning you’re a trip to Amsterdam with 10 friends, a group policy could save you a lot of money!

What does travel insurance cover?

This will vary greatly on the type of insurance you buy and what you want (or need) to pay extra for. Travel insurance can cover:

- Theft

- Flight cancellation

- Hospital and medical treatment

- Loss of belongings and baggage

- Public liability

- Emergency repatriation

If you suffer an entire holiday cancellation, insurance may cover this, but don’t take that for granted. ?

What does travel insurance not cover?

Even if you pick a highly comprehensive package, it may still be written in the small print that the following is not covered:

- If you’re late to the airport and miss your flight

- If your belongings are stolen due to your own lack of care

- If you don’t declare pre-existing medical conditions

Many other factors may not be covered by your insurance, so be sure to read the terms and conditions of any policy you take out.

Medical conditions

If you have a medical condition, holiday insurance is slightly more complicated to secure and will likely be more expensive. That’s because insurance providers see you as more likely to need medical treatment while you are away. To cover themselves from this, they raise your premiums (the amount you are charged).

While this may make you tempted to not disclose any issues, resist the temptation! If you have a condition and something does happen to you on holiday, it could invalidate any claim you make. This applies even if your condition has nothing to do with what happened to you.

Anything that you’ve spoken to a health professional or GP about, or are taking medication for, should be regarded as a pre-existing medical condition. This includes anxiety and depression, but pregnancy is not included.

Once you’ve declared your condition to your insurance provider, you’ll either be offered standard cover or they’ll increase your premiums. Alternatively, they may insist on specific terms and conditions that you must abide by if you want to make a claim, or they could refuse to cover you at all.

If this happens, ask if they will at least cover you for anything that happens in spite of your condition while you’re away.

Keeping your insurance valid

There are numerous valid reasons for needing to claim on your holiday insurance. So, finally, we’ll look at how you can increase your chances of making any necessary claims without a hitch.

Keep your evidence

A number of claims are regarded as ‘evidence-based’, meaning that you need physical evidence to make your claim. This goes for things like jury service, which might prevent you from taking a holiday, or a bad injury. If your situation can be classed as an ‘unforeseen circumstance’ and you can prove that you couldn’t possibly have prepared for it, you should be able to make a claim.

Keep receipts

You’ll also need receipts for any items you break, damage or lose if you want to make a claim. The insurance provider will need to see these before paying out.

Make smart decisions

Getting drunk while you’re carrying all of your belongings on your back? Left your passport unattended on a table in a hostel? Missed a flight due to poor timekeeping? Insurance companies won’t look fondly on the kind of mistakes and may refuse to pay out for them.

Declare your medical issues

As we’ve already said, you need to declare any medical conditions, comprehensive and from the start.

Don’t delay police reports

Report crime and theft to the local police within 24 hours and get a copy of the police report. The insurance company will want to see this if you make a claim with them.

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