Think you don’t need travel insurance?

Apparently a lot of you don’t; one in five people travel without insurance, and one in ten of these people will do it on purpose!* So if you think you don’t need travel insurance, this blog is for you!

What if you have to cancel your holiday?
Your first thought might be “why would I have to?” You may be happy to take the risk on the possibility of you, one of your party or a close relative falling ill. But even a minor illness could cause the cancellation of a holiday. For example, you can’t fly with an ear infection and airlines can refuse to carry someone who has an infectious illness such as chicken pox – some countries may refuse entry or even quarantine people in these circumstances. Also there could be an emergency at home such as a burglary just before you go, or during your trip which necessitates your return home.

What if you fall ill or have an accident?
Without travel insurance, you could well and truly be left in the lurch with a big bill. Expenses for even a minor check-up in A&E can reach several hundred pounds, and a hospital admission makes the expenses really pile up. In the USA for example, the cost of a travel insurance claim arising from a broken leg can reach as much as £20,000. Travel insurance also covers repatriation and transfers to a hospital or back home if medically necessary (if you are holidaying in a remote area or on an island it is quite likely that you will need to be transferred). To think that it can’t happen to you or your family is simply taking a big gamble -and a potentially expensive one at that!

What if the airline loses your luggage?It is true that you do have a certain amount of redress from the airline, but according to Which? (November 2007) you are likely to get a better deal from your insurer. Be sure to obtain a Property Irregularity Report from the airline as soon as you realise your bags have gone AWOL. Travel insurance with baggage cover also covers you for items lost or stolen on your trip.

What if you lose your passport?This actually happens quite frequently on holidays, and replacing them often involves a trip to the British Consular which can be very expensive if it is some distance away (again, if you are holidaying on an island you may need to get to the mainland). If it’s getting near the end of your holiday you will need the new passport quickly which can also be pricey.

What if you need legal help?Third party liability and legal assistance are not areas that people give much thought to. But you might be very glad you had the cover if, for example, you crash into someone else whilst ski-ing.

Perhaps the reason why people don’t take out travel insurance is because they are happy to take these risks (or more likely, they weren’t aware of them). But eliminating the risks by taking out travel insurance is not expensive. 24/7 travel insurance offers policies for less than a fiver†. So why chance it?

*Source: Private Healthcare UK, August 2007
† Premium £4.76 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on an individual traveller aged under 55 taking out a Standard single-trip policy for 3 days in Europe and purchased within 14 days of departure date.