The purpose of travel insurance is to cover you in the event of problems that may affect your foreign travel or holiday plans.
Why do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is designed to pick up the costs should you require medical treatment, if you are the victim of crime, or even just plain old bad luck! It ensures that you are not left out-of-pocket should things go wrong, so travelling without adequate cover is extremely risky and not to be advised ✋
Not all travel insurance policies are created equal, so before you simply opt for the cheapest option, let us show you how to find the best travel insurance for maximum peace-of-mind 🧘♀️
Buying travel insurance after Covid-19
The coronavirus pandemic devastated global travel and demonstrated just how essential it is to have the appropriate level of travel insurance cover.
While it's generally difficult to get new policies at present, we’re yet to see the long-term impact that this may have on the travel insurance industry overall. This guide explains the typical types of cover offered, so you can be prepared... whenever it is possible to plan that next dream trip again 🤞
Travel insurance essentials
With so much fine-print to check 🧐 it can be tempting to simply bundle your travel insurance in when booking a holiday (travel agents were always notorious for palming off poor deals in this way). But it’s worth doing the work for yourself... because there’s heaps of cash to be saved!
When buying travel insurance, it’s important not just to think about price, but also the right cover for you. It’s worth spending some time considering the level of cover that you feel comfortable with.
You might already be covered!
Before spending time researching travel insurance options, take a moment to see whether it has already been included with e.g. your home insurance, car insurance, or even your current account / credit card.
Many insurance providers use free travel insurance as an incentive when marketing their other products… but a word of warning on that! These ‘free’ policies typically offer only very basic cover. So make sure the cover offered is appropriate for you and the specific trip you’re planning.
How much travel insurance medical cover is enough?
Great question. The Money Advice Service recommend the following for emergency medical cover:
- £2 million if you’re travelling to Europe
- £5 million for other worldwide destinations
It’s wise to select a policy with a 24hr helpline too ☎️
Travel Insurance cancellation cover
In addition you should look for a travel insurance policy that offers at least £3,000 worth of compensation in the event that you have to cancel or cut short (curtail) your trip. This protects you in case of illness or bereavement, and will cover the costs of any excursions etc. that you’ve paid for.
It’s also important to account for the costs of getting you home, so there should be a ‘missed departure' clause to cover you if you miss your flight / ferry due to public transport failure or an unexpected delay.
Be sure to check your policy for details of cover in the event of airline or travel agent failure, as this is often not included as standard.
Travel Insurance personal belongings cover
The next thing to consider is the value of your personal belongings (including your luggage) and travellers cheques or money. Which? recommends setting this total amount at £1,500 or above. Keep an eye on the maximum amount paid for any single item (which also applies to cash or travellers cheques), because this will often be capped at between £200 – £500 by default.
What about travel insurance excess?
Once you’ve decided on a travel insurance cover amount that you feel is appropriate, it’s time to think about your policy excess.
The excess is the amount you’ll be liable to pay, before any insurance kicks-in. For example, if you need to make a claim for £250, with a £200 excess, then your insurer will only pay out £50. So although setting a high excess can make your policy much cheaper to buy, it may nullify much of the benefit in the case of smaller value claims.
When to buy annual travel insurance
For people who like to get away frequently, it’s cheaper to buy a multi-trip travel insurance policy, rather than single trip cover.
Even if you don’t consider yourself especially jet-set, it’s worth looking into a multi-trip policy 🛩 According to Money Saving Expert, it’s cheaper to buy your travel insurance annually, even when compared to just two single trip policies.
However, for you backpacker types, just remember that an annual policy doesn’t mean that you get 365 days of cover! These policies will normally be limited to either 31 or 45 days… but this limit could also be as low as 17 days. So if you are planning a backpacking adventure and plan to be away for a significant length of time, it’s probably better to opt for a specialist policy 🎒
Age limits and medical cover
If you’re over 65, it may be worth seeking out an insurance company who offers more tailored policies, because many of the cheaper options out there won’t insure anyone over this age.
Your insurance should cover any pre-existing medical conditions (most standard policies won’t do this). And rather helpfully, new Financial Conduct Authority regulation means that providers are now duty-bound to ‘sign-post’ a directory of companies who specialise in providing such cover (according to the FCA, using such a specialist could save you up to 40%).
When factoring in cover for medical costs or medical care, make sure you pay close attention to any caps or exclusions. This small detail could prove vital… should things take a turn for the worse 👩⚕️
It may feel like a drag having to account for potential medical treatment while planning your dream getaway, but medical expenses abroad can be a nightmare 😱 So check whether your policy has any medical exclusions before you set off!
Insurance for the more active or outgoing traveller
Another thing to look out for when selecting travel insurance is what activities will be covered. And some policies are more strict than you may think ⛔️
If you’re planning any type of adventure sports, like bungee jumping, scuba diving, and even trekking, then you should ensure your policy will cover these.
Even activities like skiing ⛷ winter sports 🛷 or horse riding 🏇 may be deemed too risky by some providers, so make sure these are included too!
If you're heading off to a party destination, also bear in mind that many travel insurance policies will not cover you if you've been drinking alcohol 🍻
Choosing the right policy for your destination
The last item on our list is also an important one that requires some serious attention… because it’s also not always especially intuitive 🤯
More specifically, when declaring whether your destination is in ‘Europe’ or ‘Worldwide’, you should be clear about how your provider classifies these.
For example, many policies will consider places like Egypt or Morocco to be within Europe. And conversely, the USA and Canada are often excluded from the Worldwide category, and need to be declared separately 🌎
Travel Insurance advice for travelling in Europe
If you are travelling to Europe before the end of 2020 (when Brexit means this benefit will be lost), then remember to apply for your FREE European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
This card allows you to access state healthcare whilst visiting another EU country (incl. Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland). The EHIC is not valid on cruises though 🚢
We should also emphasise that your EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance, so ensure you have both before you travel. Many travel insurance providers will now insist you hold an EHIC, and many will waive the excess if you have one. Given the card is free… it’s a no-brainer!
Final advice for buying travel insurance 🤔
Always remember to double-check what your policy covers by closely checking the policy wording before you get to excited by the ‘bargain deal’ you may find on price any comparison sites 🔎
Plum’s recommended travel insurance provider 🤝
If you’re searching for travel insurance, you’ll find that you’re not short of options to choose from! The tips above should help inform your decision… but there’s nothing quite like a personal recommendation.
Here at Plum, we’ve chosen Pluto as our trusted travel insurance partner due to their competitive pricing and also their core company values. Here’s a little list of the additional peace-of-mind that Pluto package with every policy:
- Explanations in plain English — it’s easy to tailor your cover, and immediately see how the policy details you select impact the price of cover with real-time price changes 📊
- Submit claims in less than 10 minutes — you can make a claim straight from your phone 📲
- Easily access to support — check your cover in a few clicks, and chat to Pluto whenever you have a question or need help 🙋♀️
- Get access to free medical support — via Pluto's partner, Babylon Health UK, the online doctor app 👩⚕️
If you'd like to learn more about Plum then you can check out our website.Download Plum