If you’re planning to travel abroad and want to protect yourself from the cost of, for example, a medical emergency, travel insurance is an essential purchase. And it’s not just for travellers; in fact, you may be eligible for coverage if you’re visiting friends or family abroad, or even if you’re planning to move abroad. (It’s also a good idea to check if any of your existing insurance policies may already provide coverage during a trip abroad.)
However, different travel insurance policies come with different levels of coverage—and different pricing structures. To make the right choice, it’s important to understand what you’re paying for, and how you can select a policy that will cover your medical needs, passport and document loss, valuables loss, trip cancellation etc. at an affordable price.
Whether you’re travelling internationally or within your own country, there are certain features that you should always look for in a travel insurance policy. Here are the most important features you should be sure your policy covers:
A medical travel insurance coverage is a type of health insurance that will protect a traveller from unforeseen medical expenses incurred while travelling. You must understand what type of medical coverage to get, any pre-existing conditions that are excluded from the cover, what limits are on medical expense and what covers you for medical treatment. A good medical coverage feature of your chosen travel insurance policy should give you up to £1 million or more for travel to Europe and £2million or more for the USA.
You’ll have to make sure that you’re covered in the destination that you are planning to visit and remember to check that you are covered in the places where you may have to stop over or visit for a short stay. Also if you’re visiting multiple countries, you’ll have to check that you’re covered for everywhere that you’re visiting. Some insurers may exclude some countries in their coverage list so always check the exclusion list before you select your insurance package.
Did you know that the baggage insurance you have may not cover everything? While many insurance policies do cover lost luggage, they may not cover all the costs of replacing what was in it. For example, some carriers cover the cost of the clothing you lost, but not your cosmetics, or they may cover your toiletries but not your reading glasses. To find the best insurance policy for your needs, you’ll need to do some research. Find out the limits of your baggage claim cover and upgrade your policy to a baggage cover that is best suited for you.
Medical evacuations can be expensive so it would be wise to include this in your cover. If you ever need to be taken home due to a medical emergency whilst abroad, you feel better knowing that the insurance cover will pay the bills.
Make sure that you check and confirm that other valuables such as phones, laptops, tablets, cameras and jewellery are covered by your insurance policy. You’ll need to have a clear understanding of the circumstances that you can claim under.
Activities & Sports
If you are participating in specific activities and sports then it would be wise for you to pay for insurance that covers you just in case you get injured. Just take note that if you change the activity or sport that you do on your trip then you will probably not be covered if you get yourself into an accident.
If you’re wondering whether you need a policy that covers travel cancellations, the answer is probably yes. You will be purchasing a policy that should reimburse you should you have to cancel a trip due to an emergency or other unforeseen situation, such as a serious illness. Since you will never know when something like that may happen, it’s a good idea to be prepared. Make sure that you check what circumstances make you eligible to claim a trip cancellation.
Check Limits and Excesses
Limits shape how much you have to pay before you can claim on your insurance. For example, if your limit is £75 you’ll have to make an expense above £75 to make a claim. More expensive insurance packages usually come with lower limits.
This feature will cover accommodation and extra travel costs should you miss a flight, boat or train departure due to circumstances beyond your control, such as a public transport delay, medical emergency, or natural disaster. You will need to make sure you have proof that your missed travel departure was beyond your control.
You’ll need to make sure you choose insurance that covers your whole trip duration whether it be a single trip, extended trip or multiple trips. For example, if you’re going for multiple trips during the year then the best option would be to choose a plan that offers annual coverage.
There may be instances where accidents happen to third-party individuals abroad. This feature of insurance should cover the damage to third-party injuries and accidental property damage.
Primary or Secondary Medical Coverage
If there is no other insurance in place, a primary medical insurance plan prepares your claims for payment. Secondary medical insurance processes a payment only if they have been shown a benefits explanation on how the primary insurance prepared your claim. You’ll have to pay more for a primary insurance plan than a secondary one. Furthermore, your secondary insurance becomes the primary by default if there is no primary insurance.
Before you buy travel insurance, you might want to take a few minutes to learn about what’s not covered. After all, no one wants to shell out the big bucks for travel insurance for a trip only to find out that their claim was denied. To get a better idea of what won’t be covered by your travel insurance, it’s important to understand what’s considered “out-of-the-ordinary” and what “ordinary” travel circumstances are covered.
Alcohol and Drugs
You will need to know if your insurance policy includes cover for any claims that involve your use of alcohol and drugs. You’ll have to make sure that you thoroughly read your intended policy to figure out what inclusions and exclusions apply to you.
Incident Report Protocol
Several insurance policies expect you to report any theft to the right authorities like the police within 24 hours for your claim to be valid. If you don’t, you will not be covered so it is important to understand the actions that you need to take leading from an accident to achieve a valid claim.
If you’re on a casual holiday, a student travelling abroad or a professional travelling as part of your job, you may be worried about what will happen if you get problems with your teeth and have to go to the dentist. (Maybe the toothache came on suddenly, or maybe you had a toothache for a while but ignored it.) Whatever the reason, dental problems while you’re travelling can be stressful, but they don’t have to be. You will need travel insurance to cover you for urgent dental emergencies.
Having insurance that covers you from any security events that could need immediate evacuation, (such as political unrest, military coups, natural disasters or civil uprisings), will help you cover for expensive but necessary evacuation costs.
Passport & Documents loss
It is one of the most common things that can happen to a traveller. You’ll have to find what coverages your insurance provider offers if you were to lose any important documents or your passport whilst travelling. A good policy should help you claim any additional expenses that come up due to needing to replace any important documents or loss of passport.
Some travel insurance policies provide cover for home burglary if you are going to be away for an extended period.
Personal Accident Coverage
You will get coverage for an urgent medical issue if you’re involved in an accident. However, personal accident coverage offers cover in case of permanent disability or death from an accident during your travels.