Booking an autumn getaway? A buyers’ guide to finding the right insurance

By Vicky Shaw

Travel insurance is often left until the last minute when people are planning a getaway. But if you’re travelling abroad, it’s vital to make sure you have appropriate cover in case anything goes wrong – particularly against the uncertain background of the pandemic.

Nearly one in four (23%) people say not being sufficiently protected by travel insurance or not having the right kind of cover is one of their main concerns about travelling, according to research commissioned by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Mark Shepherd from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says: “Having travel insurance is vitally important to cover what can be the jaw-droppingly expensive costs of needing emergency medical treatment overseas, which can run into tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The FCDO and the ABI have created a buyers’ guide, with seven key tips to remember when taking out insurance…

1. Check the limit for medical expenses

Find out what the exemptions are and what is covered. Medical emergencies can be very expensive, so you don’t want to end up footing the bill. A moped accident in Greece with surgery and repatriation to the UK could potentially cost £25,000, for example. A fall in Spain resulting in a broken hip, hospital treatment and flights could cost £15,000.

2. Check the level of Covid cover

If you have an existing policy, check what cover it provides for coronavirus-related events, including medical cover and travel disruption. Most travel policies have some Covid exclusions, as travel insurance is designed and priced to cover unforeseen events, not risks that are known when you take out the policy.

3. Remember that GHICs (global health insurance cards) and EHICs (European health insurance cards) are not a substitute for travel insurance

They will not cover private medical healthcare or costs, such as being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property.

4. Drinking too much alcohol could impact a claim

Many travel insurance policies exclude cover for events after excessive alcohol consumption, or after taking recreational drugs or other substances. Insurers do not expect you to avoid alcohol while on holiday, but moderation is encouraged.

5. Check travel advice before you go

Check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for your destination before travelling. Travel guidance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is also available on government websites.


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