The most important focus of this page is a good travel insurance , because I know from several personal experiences just how important travel insurance can be. Please don't mistake me, I also know of other people who have gambled on doing without travel insurance - and come out on top. But for many of them it has cost their families considerable peace of mind, and it's not a gamble I'd willingly take.
When travelling, medical cover is the most vital reason for buying travel insurance.
After all, missing a flight is merely a matter of moderate amounts money - although most of us prefer to cover that base too!
Fortunately, holidays are usually trouble free! But however much care you take, some things are simply outside your control - like finding yourself the victim of a hit-and-run. Medical emergencies can be unbelievably expensive. In some cases, medical treatment and repatriation couldn't even be paid for by selling your house, so knowing that you can be flown home in the event of a medical emergency (or even death) provides significant reassurance both for you and for family back home.
You can't usually buy travel insurance after you have left home - you are required to be present in the UK (or wherever you live) at the time of purchasing your travel insurance - so
buy your travel insurance before leaving home!
Once your travels have begun, most insurers will refuse to issue travel cover.
Sometimes your insurer will allow you to make additions or extesions to your policy whilst you are travelling - and for many people this is a question they should definately be asking when choosing an insurance policy. You may wish to extend your stay or add/extend cover for an adventure sport - if, for instance, you pass a 'deep diver' scuba qualification and you wish to dive deeper than 30 metres, which is the limit for many adventure sports policies.
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Bill is very accident prone, even at home. In Egypt h
e had a gory close encounter with a ca. . .
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Information on this page comes from journalistic research or as a result of my own experience (as a traveller in Europe, Asia and Africa) - not as a qualified insurance adviser (which I'm not)! Please check any policy fits your own situation.
Bill is very accident prone, even at home.
In Egypt he had a gory close encounter with a carelessly discarded bag of broken glass. He was bleeding frighteningly fast - so a friendly Egyptian riding a motorbike raced him to the nearest Egyptian hospital - a 'local' hospital (and probably the only one he knew of), even though Bill's travel insurance entitled him to use the 'International Hospital'.
The doctor kept him waiting - he didn't want to interrupt his break. There was no anaesthetic. The most sterile object in the room was the newspaper they stuffed into the bucket to catch the pouring blood. The 'wool and blunt needle' which they used to stitch him together may have been reported with a degree of prejudice, but there's no doubt that local people receive the thin end of the wedge, medically speaking, in Egypt (and many other places). The 'hospital' (not the word Bill used to describe it) was definately filthy and ill equipped. Bill decided not to return to have his stitches removed - he did it himself.
However, the local doctor probably saved his life, given the nature of the emergency, and Bill escaped without any life threatening complications.
IS THERE A LESSON HERE FOR TRAVELLERS?
Yup! Plan ahead by reading the small print in your travel insurance policy. In some cases the insurance company won't re-imburse your expenses at all, unless you - or someone on your behalf - has phoned to check that they are using an approved treatment centre before any treatment is administered. Check the instructions - in advance! For the least developed countries you may even need to take your own needles, syringes and IV equipment, for use at the hospital.
'AUTOMATIC' travel insurance deals (such as that offered with bank accounts) is usually severely limited, and may actually be invalid, depending on your circumstances. Insurance for travel bought on your credit card is normally limited to incidents occuring whilst you are actually in the air, not medical, legal or other emergencies. Usually they cannot provide travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions either.
AIRLINE FAILURE: Specific, separate insurance to cover airline failure is available - and can be especially useful these days, as airline failure is usually has an exclusion clause in travel insurance policies.
LAST MINUTE TRAVEL INSURANCE calls for an insurer who works out of hours - which usually means using an online travel insurance scheme. Check they will allow you to make do with the policy number and emergency phone number stashed in your wallet, rather than insisting you must carry paper documents with you, if they can't get the documents to you in time.
SPECIALIST TRAVEL INSURANCE
Over 65's may need a specialist travel insurance - but if some specialists who you'd think would be geared up to providing a good service to their target market actually charge excessive rates, so be sure to ask the mainstream insurers for quotes too.
Pre-existing medical conditions will have to be declared. You may require a specialist travel insurance , but sometimes travel insurers offer to insure you, except for your medical condition (your medical condition is listed as an 'exclusion'). Only you can decide if this is wise, but make sure you fully understand what cover is on offer.
'Adventurous Activities Insurance' - Scuba Diving, skydiving, skiing (and probably some activities that don't start with 'S') can all be covered.
'Cruise insurance' could be hand if you do a Nile Cruise.
Family insurance policies, Gap Year travel insurance, backpacking insurance, working holidays insurance - you can cover yourself for almost any kind of travel if you look in the right places.
Worked and saved so you can travel on your gap year? Don't gamble it away or freak out your parents - get specialist gap year travel insurance
Check you are buying a policy which can cope with the needs of Gap Year travel if you will be working or studying abroad. You probably also want to be automatically covered for sports and activities, including adventure sports / activities (scuba diving, voluntary work, farming holidays etc.).
Some policies will cover certain types of work whilst you are abroad - bar and restaurant work, clerical work, fruit/vegetable picking and voluntary work, for instance.
A flexible policy which allows you to return home for short periods without invalidating your policy is useful. If you will be studying abroad you may also need cover which can be upgraded to include cover for computer equipment and course fees.
Also see other Travel Insurance Offers on this page.
GAP YEAR TRAVEL INSURANCE Specialist Insurance
Flexicover Direct have changed their underwriters, with the following policy changes:
No Age Limit for Single Trip Customers, but no change to age limits on other policies.
New: Extended Kennel & Cattery Fees cover. All policies now cover additional kennel or cattery fees if return home is delayed due to injury, illness or disease of the family pet.
New! Excursion cover! Cancellation or curtailment charges now cover excursions up to £250.
New: Missed departure now covered on the return journey.
New: Travel delay and Missed departure provide cover for traffic congestion.
Important: Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) is no longer included on Flexicover Direct policies.
If you haven't found what you need on this page, here are some travel insurance web search ideas to help you find a more suitable travel insurance cover (or low cost travel insurance, backpacker travel insurance, annual business travel insurance or whatever . . .
Buying your travel insurance direct is popular as a way of saving money - the insurance deas offered to you by a holiday package company are often more expensive - and sometimes just plain unsuitable - for instance if you have a medical problem.
Travel insurance supermarkets and comparison websites are a popular way of shopping around for travel insurance - there are some very reputable ones.
Backpacker travel insurance may include more adventurous activities than standard travel insurance - and usually lets you stay away for longer at a stretch.
Alarm bells need not ring at the word ' cheap' - but check the reputation of the uderwriters and the small print on your policy.
If you travel on business you need an apporpriate policy. Try these terms: