Holiday insurance – don’t forget it!

When you are planning your next holiday, whether it is a short trip for a week in Europe or a year long round the world trip, it really is advisable to make sure that you don’t forget to take out holiday insurance. Holiday insurance is not typically a large expense, but the consequences of not having it could be devastating and leave you severely out of pocket. This blog has been especially written to highlight the importance of taking out holiday insurance before you go on your travels.

Pre-travel cover
One of the main reasons for taking out holiday insurance is to cover you in the event that you have to cancel your holiday, for example you fall ill unexpectedly and are unable to travel. Top tip: if you arrange your insurance cover as soon as you book your holiday, you will be immediately protected should you need to cancel your trip. Without holiday insurance you will more than likely lose your booking deposit or worse still, be liable for the full cost of your holiday.

Be aware of medical costs
There is no doubt that one of the reasons you are going on holiday is to get away from your 9-5 job and to relax and ‘switch off’ from the stresses and strains of modern life. So the last thing you need is to fall ill or have an accident. But if it does happen and you don’t have holiday insurance you could be paying a heavy price. Medical treatment can cost thousands of pounds particularly in countries such as the USA.

What happens if your flight is delayed?
Imagine if your outward flight is delayed for a long period of time forcing you to cancel your holiday. Without holiday insurance you may not get your money back. Most holiday insurance policies however will cover you for irrecoverable cancellation costs if you decide to abandon your trip after a long delay on your outward journey lasting more than 12 hours. Please note that the period of time that you can claim ‘abandonment cover’ varies from policy to policy so check the policy wording before you buy your holiday insurance cover.

Your personal possessions
There is nothing worse than losing something on holiday, whether it your passport, an item of jewellery or your camera. If you don’t have holiday insurance or ‘cover away from home’ under your home contents insurance you won’t be able to replace your lost items. Top tip: most holiday insurance policies stipulate a maximum limit of cover for valuable items and a limit for any one item. If you are planning on taking expensive jewellery or photographic equipment with you on holiday it may be better to cover these items under your household insurance. Some holiday insurance even offer a premium discount if you exclude personal possessions cover so it is worth checking which policies offer this option.

Select the right policy for you
After deciding your holiday destination, the dates and length of your trip and what type of activities you will be taking part in, there are three principal holiday insurance policy types to choose from. These are single trip, annual multi-trip, and backpacker policies. Top tip: if you happen to be a person who likes to go away several times a year at the last minute to take advantage of cheap holiday deals, then taking out an annual multi-trip holiday insurance is the probably the best option. By doing this it saves you having to worry about taking out holiday insurance each time you book a trip, and, if you go away more than two times a year, it will probably work out cheaper too!

Backpacker policies are mainly for those who are taking extended trips typically up to 18 months. The cover and limits may be less than single trip and annual multi-trip policies, so you should check carefully that the backpacker policy provides you with the right level of cover before you take it out. There are certainly some great deals to be had and comparison sites. Likewise, 24/7 travel insurance offers great deals, for example if you are under age 36 travelling for 6 months to Europe, you can buy a ‘standard’ backpacker policy for just £33.55!*

Know before you go!
The FCO have put together a useful travel checklist to help you plan your trip abroad and stay safe whilst you are there.

Better safe than sorry!
Whether it’s a short weekend getaway or a long haul journey, you can see that it makes sense to have holiday insurance in place. Holiday insurance should not to be taken as an optional holiday extra, so make sure it’s on your checklist and ticked off before you go. Like the old saying goes, better safe than sorry!

Top tip: 24/7 travel insurance offers great deals on all holiday insurance types, and with premiums starting at just £4.38 ** it’s worth a visit.

* Premium £33.55 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual traveller aged under 36 taking out a ‘standard’ backpacker policy for 6 months to Europe. Cover details and prices are correct at the time of going to press (October 2008) and are subject to change.

** Premium £4.38 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a ‘standard’ single trip policy for 3 days to Europe, travelling within 14 days of departure date, excluding personal possessions cover. Cover details and prices are correct at the time of going to press (October 2008) and are subject to change