Planning a holiday used to be quite a slow and deliberate process. Now it`s become the norm to pop into a travel agency and book a package holiday in your lunch hour, or spy a cheap last minute deal online and snap it up quickly before someone else does. It can be a spontaneous action and as such, it`s not uncommon to find you`ve forgotten to buy travel insurance. Then comes a brief panic, followed by second-guessing – “do I really need travel insurance?”
The answer is always a resounding yes. Travel insurance is a vital purchase whenever you leave the UK. Losing your luggage might not seem a big deal but being involved in a medical emergency is and suffering a heart attack while visiting Europe could set you back over £30,000. Even an air ambulance back to the UK could cost as much as £15,000.
It`s shocking to learn then that around 25 per cent of UK holiday-makers leave home without insurance. However, an equally staggering statistic is that those who do purchase insurance pay around £1billion more than they should each year. The accepted explanation is that most of us would rather leave it to our travel agents who often charge us the premium package. But it`s not difficult to arrange your own insurance and in most cases you will find yourself a lot better off for it.
The most efficient way to find cheap travel insurance is to get online. This will allow you to pick and choose between policies and see which company offers them to you at the cheapest rate with the most relevant cover. But it`s important to know exactly what type of cover you require.
As a rule, if it`s any longer than a weekend trip you should be looking at a policy which offers somewhere between £3,000* and £5,000** in the event of cancellation, with at least £1,000 cover for loss of belongings. When it comes to medical cover it is vital that you are insured for at least £2 million in Europe, however, if you are travelling to the US or anywhere else then you should preferably seek cover of no less than £5 million**.
The nature of your holiday will also greatly determine what insurance you need, so bear that in mind if you plan on participating in any sports or other activities, such as jet skiing, bungee-jumping or deep sea fishing then you may need to find a specialist insurance policy. Winter sports are not usually included, so if it`s a skiing holiday then make sure you seek the appropriate cover. It is usually possible to add Winter Sports as an extra which is sometimes not much more. If you are a frequent skier you may find it cheaper to buy a year`s worth of cover.
Remember, if you do get into an accident on holiday you might not necessarily be the injured party, but the one responsible. That is why you must also have personal liability cover of at least £1 million* and at least £10,000* for legal expenses in case a claim is made against you.
It may seem a little overwhelming at first but when you know what to look for you can actually save a lot shopping for your own travel insurance. The next time you find yourself looking for some lastminute secret hotels remember to check 24/7 travel insurance online to save yourself money and some peace of mind.
* Amounts quoted are based on a Single Trip/Annual Multi-Trip ‘Standard’ 24/7 Travel Insurance policy. You must read the policy wording to ensure you are familiar with your cover, exclusions and excess.
**Amounts quoted are based on a Single Trip/Annual Multi-Trip ‘Premier’ 24/7 Travel Insurance policy. You must read the policy wording to ensure you are familiar with your cover, exclusions and excess.