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Your Guide to Travel Insurance

By July 28, 2021March 8th, 2023No Comments
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Travel is different now. So, if you’re travelling regionally or internationally, it’s evermore important to take out appropriate travel insurance before you go. Remember, once your trip has been fully confirmed, you are no longer eligible for cancellation and refund for personal reasons – this is why insurance is essential. Below is our guide to travel insurance that assists you in making the most comprehensive insurance investment.

Emergency Medical Cover

The main purpose of travel insurance is to cover you for the potentially high cost of medical treatment and repatriation if you are injured or fall ill abroad. This should include:
– Emergency medical treatment costs, including hospital charges and ambulance fees;
– Returning you home following medical treatment abroad if you cannot use your original ticket;
– Reasonable additional transport and/or accommodation expenses for a close relative or friend to stay with you or travel from your home country to escort you if required; and
– Temporary emergency dental treatment for the relief of immediate pain 24 hours assistance helplines to offer support and advice about appropriate treatment.

It is important to answer any questions from your insurance provider about your medical history fully and honestly. Withholding details of your medical history may mean you are not fully covered.

Covid-19 & Pandemic Cover

Many insurance policies do not offer cover for Covid-19 related situations (for example, falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday). For a list of suppliers where Covid-19 cover is included, read this Forbes article published in  July 2021. In addition to ensuring you have appropriate medical cover, when choosing a policy, travellers should take some time to think about the following when buying insurance.

1. How often you travel

If you are planning more than one holiday in a year, consider buying an annual multi-trip policy. Single trip policies are usually more cost effective for older travellers and those with medical conditions. If you already have travel insurance as part of a bank account or credit card, check the policy terms for any age or trip limits there may be.

2. The type of holiday you plan to take

If you will be taking part in certain sports or leisure activities you may need to top-up your cover or buy a specialist policy. Extreme sports such as bungee jumping or skydiving are not typically included in standard policies.

3. What possessions you are taking

Check if your household contents insurance policy already covers loss of items you take away from your home. You may already have travel insurance as part of a bank account/credit card; if so these may also already provide some cover for your possessions. Check the travel insurance policy limits and excesses are appropriate for the value of possessions you are taking on holiday. If you are taking a number of high-value possessions such as iPads and cameras, specialist mobile phone and gadget insurance may be more suitable as they typically provide higher cover limits.

All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times. If you don’t, the policy may not pay out. Take as much care of your property as if it were uninsured. You should report any loss to the police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will be required when you make your claim.

4. The cost of cancellation

If booking an expensive holiday in advance, you may want to ensure that you can recover the costs if you are unable to travel. Check that any cancellation cover limits meet the full cost of your holiday and look for any excesses. If your
trip is cancelled or significantly delayed, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline. Insurance can allow you to claim unused travel and accommodation costs that you are unable to recover elsewhere.

When travelling at short notice, on a low cost holiday or with a flexible ticket, you may decide that you do not need cancellation cover at all. However, it is still important to have emergency medical cover. If your trip is dependent upon the health of a non-travelling relative, you may need to answer questions about their medical history and pay to top up the cover.


Some policies will also include or offer the following cover for you to consider:

Personal liability – covers you if you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property and they choose to sue you.

Personal accident – covers disability and death. Some travel insurance policies can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability or death.

Lost baggage on flights – covers you for the full value of possessions lost. Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage. By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage. This is unlikely to cover the full value of your possessions.

Legal expenses – covers you when pursuing compensation or damages following personal injury while you’re abroad. This is important in countries without a legal aid system.

Common Travel Insurance Policy Exclusions

Most travel insurance policies exclude cover for events that happen after excessive alcohol consumption. Some policies exclude cover for terrorist or acts of resurgence; if possible get a policy that doesn’t exclude terrorism. Advice is based on recommendations offered by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK.

Getting full travel insurance coverage is essential and worth investing in. If you need further information, please contact us and we will help you navigate any questions or concerns you may have. 

Feature image courtesy of Ker & Downey Botswana.