Choosing the right travel insurance

There is really no excuse for not taking out travel insurance. Even minor illnesses or injuries can have serious financial consequences if you are away from home. But as you will see from online price comparison websites like Moneysupermarket and Confused, there are vast differences in prices for holiday insurance policies offering similar levels of cover. So how can you find the best value travel insurance policy for your needs?

Types of Travel Insurance policies
There are three main policy types to choose from; Single Trip, Annual Multi-Trip and Backpacker. But the right choice to save you money depends on how many trips each year you take, the duration of your trip(s) and what cover you need.

Annual Multi-trip policies
If you are likely to travel more than twice a year (including weekend breaks), you will most likely benefit from purchasing an annual policy. Don’t forget that most annual policies also cover you for trips in the UK provided they involve pre-booked accommodation or travel†. Also remember that annual policies will have a single trip limit so make sure each trip limit is enough for your holiday. If you are uncertain of your future travel plans, consider purchasing an annual policy for Europe only – you can usually upgrade it later if you plan on travelling outside of Europe. 24/7 Travel Insurance offers annual multi-trip policies from just £41.54*.

Backpacker travel insurance policies
If you are going away for an extended trip abroad or on a “Gap Year”, the cheapest option is most likely to be a Backpacker policy. Remember to check that it offers the level of cover that you require and that all activities you are planning on doing are covered by your backpacker policy. 24/7 travel insurance automatically covers 70 activities as standard! A backpacker policy for a 2-month trip to Europe costs just £13.52** with 24/7 Travel Insurance.

Single trip policies
Single trip travel insurance policies are ideal for ‘one off’ trips and great value if you are unlikely to travel enough to warrant an annual travel insurance policy. You can pick up a 24/7 Travel Insurance single trip policy for just £5.32***.

Deleting covers you don’t need
Some holiday insurance policies offer premium discounts for removing certain sections of cover that you don’t need. For example, if you are looking for insurance for a last-minute bargain holiday, you may not need cancellation cover. Check your home contents insurance policy too, as you may already have cover for your personal possessions while abroad.

Shop around for the best deal!
With the use of the internet these days it is so much easier to compare cheap travel insurance policies. Websites such as Moneysupermarket and confused.com enable you to compare a large number of policies online in just a few clicks, so you don’t have to buy expensive travel insurance from your travel agent.

It’s also worth shopping around if you are seeking a couple or family policy. Some direct travel insurance like 24/7 Travel Insurance offer free cover for children up to a certain age. Some policies will even cover children up to age 22 (if they are in full time education and living at home†) but check whether they would be able to travel independently under the policy. Travel Plus provided by Travel Insurance specialists, PJ Hayman & Company offers an annual policy that allows children to travel independently which is ideal for school trips. For more information visit http://www.pjhayman.com/

EHIC
If you’re travelling within the EU, carry a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. Every member of your family should have one and they’re free! If you or a family member falls ill or has an accident in a European Union country, you may be able to get reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment by presenting your EHIC to the hospital or doctor that is treating you. Remember, this should not be used as a substitute for your travel insurance cover!

Buy before you go!
Finally, don’t scrimp on travel insurance as one day you may need to rely on it in the event of an emergency abroad. You should read the Policy Summary and Wording before buying it, and check out any specific queries you have – so you can relax and really enjoy your trip!

You can get an instant quote and immediate cover by going online to 24/7 travel insurance and if you arrange your cover as soon as you book your holiday you will be immediately protected should you need to cancel your trip.

*Premium £41.54 Includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a Standard Annual Multi-trip policy for travel in Europe.

**Premium £13.52 Includes Insurance Premium Tax, based on an individual traveller aged under 36 taking out a Standard backpacker policy for 2 months in Europe.

***Premium £5.32 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a Standard single-trip policy for 3 days in Europe, purchased within 14 days of departure date. Excluding personal possessions cover.

Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (April 2009) and are subject to change.

† Cover may vary between policies so check the policy wording before you buy