Travel Insurance

Be honest – how many times have you read the small print when you’ve bought travel insurance?

Despite being repeatedly told of its importance, travel insurance is one of those things you tend to buy out of a feeling of obligation, without really troubling ourselves with the ins and outs.

Yes, all of us get that travel insurance protects us financially if something untoward happens while away. But what does that mean exactly? When it comes to the crunch, what could be claimed for on our policy?

Obviously, the details across travel insurance policies differ and the only way to be certain of what you can and cannot claim for is to read the policy schedule. But as a general rule, here are the main things most travel insurance policies cover you for.

Medical costs

This is the big one because the cost of medical treatment for foreign visitors who are not entitled to state-subsidised care can be astronomical in some countries. If, for whatever reason, you end up in hospital, be it through injury or illness, travel insurance medical cover will pick up the bill. It also pays out in cases where arrangements have to be made to get you home, and also for general consultations with a doctor and prescriptions should you fall ill.

Cancellations and travel delays

Airlines and other travel operators are often subject to rules governing compensation in the event of cancellations and delays, but they vary from region to region and country to country. In the EU, for example, airlines are supposed to offer compensation for delays over three hours, unless they are caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’ beyond their control, such as extreme weather. The best way to be sure of getting a pay-out for a cancellation or significant delay is through your travel insurance provider.

Missed departure

It isn’t always flight cancellations that throw your travel plans into turmoil. If you miss your flight, for whatever reason, you can be faced with the choice of either writing off your holiday or buying a ticket for another flight, often at great expense. Missed departure cover on travel insurance policies is a great comfort should something unexpected happen.

Lost or delayed baggage

One of the most common mini-disasters travellers face is their luggage going AWOL mid-journey. Turning up in a distant destination minus your belongings is not only inconvenient, but it can also be expensive as well, as you have to go out and buy essentials like clothes that you would otherwise have brought with you. For this reason, many travel insurance policies pay out for delayed as well as lost baggage.

Loss, theft or damage of personal effects

Losing your wallet, passport, phone or other valuables abroad, or having them stolen, can put a dampener on your entire trip. Similarly, as more and more people are taking valuable gadgets like smartphones, tablets, laptops and cameras away with them, the risk of loss or accidental damage is increasing. Most travel insurance policies include clauses stating they will pay out for loss or damage to personal effects, but the claim limits and details about what items they will cover varies from provider to provider.

To find out about making a claim on your travel insurance, read more here.