How To Avoid 3 Travel Insurance Pitfalls In Just 3 Minutes
Written by Jaillan Yehia
This post centres around the topic of insurance when travelling. I know, exciting, right?
When we think about booking travel, we’re usually focused on the joy of the open road, the relaxation of lying on a beach and the excitement of meeting new people, trying different foods and seeing the sights – we’re not thinking about what could go wrong.
But sadly it’s essential to give potential pitfalls a bit of advance thought if you’re travelling anywhere at all, even if you’re not leaving your home country.
I want to keep this post brief because I know that reading about travel insurance is unlikely to be your favourite pastime.
So in just 3 minutes I’d like to help you spot 3 simple issues you could have with insurance and help you to swerve them well in advance.
I’m going to do this by sharing 3 personal experiences I’ve had with different types of travel, all involving insurance, and what I hope you can learn from them.
Travelling with an expensive laptop, tablet or mobile phone? Check the single article limit.
My Experience: I was travelling with my Mac and also with a solid state hard drive containing irreplaceable travel photos from a once-in-a lifetime safari when my hard drive fell onto the floor in a Starbucks and broke. It was only then that I considered the single article limit for electronic items in my standard travel insurance policy.
What You Need To Know: Most of us are carrying one or more of our most expensive and important possessions everywhere we go: our phone and laptop. We take them on buses, tubes and trains in our home country as well as when we are on holiday. But very few travel insurance policies have a single article limit anywhere near high enough to replace a lost, stolen or damaged Mac or iPhone which could run to hundreds and even thousands of pounds.
The solution is to look for specialist travel insurance policies which will pay out enough to replace valuable electronics if they are damaged or lost while travelling. Look at the specific limits and decide which works best for you. You can also buy dedicated electronics insurance as a separate policy which is another option to look at.
Driving or planning to be a passenger in a vehicle? Check you have personal legal cover.
My Experience: I’ve travelled a lot – in fact I’ve been to 63 different countries and territories, and like many people I worried that if something bad happened while travelling it would likely be in the middle of nowhere, in some far flung location away from my family and friends.
It didn’t cross my mind that the worst travel experience of my life would be just a few minutes away from my house, but that’s exactly what happened. My car was rear ended by a negligent driver when I was stationary, knocking me unconscious and leaving me with severe whiplash as well as writing off my vehicle. As such I’m glad I opted for the best car insurance policy I could find which includes a high legal cover limit and even if you don’t have personal injury cover as part of your motor insurance consider whether you might need it built into another policy or purchase it separately.
What You Need To Know: Being the victim of someone else’s negligence particularly when you’re abroad, but even on your own doorstep, could lead to very serious injuries and huge medical bills, so checking that personal legal cover is included somewhere in your insurance portfolio is well worth considering. UK package holiday makers have a lot of extra protection so if you are involved in an accident on a package holiday the CAB is a good place to start and has some good guidance on your rights.
Travelling to a country outside Europe, especially for more than 2 weeks? Check your medical cover.
My Experience: My brother was travelling solo in South-East Asia when he fell ill. He had been away for a few weeks and had just arrived in Malaysia when he caught a bug, probably from air conditioning on a coach during a long journey, but this led to a chain reaction where he fainted, cut his head, the cut became infected and he ended up with a serious condition where he suffered from swelling on the brain and was hospitalised.
This is the kind of thing that could have happened to anyone. But the small print on his travel insurance meant that because he was a few days over the maximum duration of travel since leaving his home country, he had to cover all the medical bills himself.
What You Need To Know: Before departing on any trip, particularly to countries outside the EU where an EHIC card can be used for some medical attention, check the level of medical cover your travel insurance policy offers you in the event that something genuinely terrible happens.
Even though it is a task you may want to put off, browse some different medical travel insurance options. Countries like the USA which have no free healthcare and high costs for medical care are often added to policies separately, and you may have to pay an extra premium to include them so check that every country you’re visiting is covered and get the best policy you can afford, because peace of mind is definitely worth paying for.
Insurance can be a really confusing thing – the different policy types, the small print, and the terms and conditions can sometimes seem like they’re almost designed to confuse you.
I’m not qualified to give legal advice of course, but I can share my own experiences and lessons I’ve learned the hard way so that hopefully you can learn the easy way.
The problems I’ve encountered while travelling can and do happen to thousands of other people every day and having the right policy makes a huge difference if your travel dreams suddenly turn into a nightmare.
Tags: travel insurance
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