You snapped up a fantastic cheap hotel deal, carefully budgeted your spending money and waited until the last minute to squeeze out more savings by booking a low cost flight at unsociable hours. The last thing on your mind is travel insurance.
No one likes paying extra for a short-term insurance policy, but you simply cannot afford the risk of traveling without it. Accidents can happen anywhere, even a minor injury can leave you with an eye-watering medical bill running into the thousands.
So don't think twice on it – just get yourself insured!.. but remember to always do your due diligence, opting for the cheapest policy you can find is never a good idea. Here are five “Don't Do’s” you really need to be aware of.
Top 5 travel insurance “DON'T DO's”: avoid these costly mistakes
(1) DON'T wait until the very last minute – arrange your travel insurance just as soon as you book your vacation so that you're covered for any unforeseen circumstances. You never know what's around the corner, you may have to cancel your trip because of an injury, a pre-trip illness or a family bereavement etc.
(2) DON'T go for the cheapest option – cheap travel insurance is cheap for a very good reason, firstly, the excess you'll have to pay is much higher, and secondly, you'll get less insurance cover with more exclusions. You'll probably end up having to pay out more for extra cover.
(3) DON'T leave out important information to save money on your policy – if you have a pre-existing medical condition or make routine visits to a doctor it's important that you declare it. Be truthful and double-check that you've answered everything accurately otherwise a future claim could be refused.
(4) DON'T even think of skipping over the small print – always read the terms and conditions, this is where you'll discover all the policy loopholes ‘and traps' which you need to be fully aware of. Don't simply glance over them, read them very carefully. If insurers can avoid paying out on a policy because of your ignorance they will.
(5) DON'T go on your travels without knowing how to make a claim – read through the policy claims process, there may be a set number of procedures that you will have to follow, and evidence that may have to be collected.
Travel insurance basics… what you need to know (VIDEO)
In this video travel vlogger Nadine discusses all the important ‘need to know' details so that you are fully informed, and especially what you need to look out for…
Travel Insurance – do you really NEED it?
… can you imagine a silly little accident like tripping over something can end up costing more than $6,000 in medical bills! This can happen to anyone at anytime no matter how careful you are.
One useful takeaway is before buying any insurance you should check with your bank and/or credit card supplier, as an existing customer they may offer you preferential rates.
8 more things to consider before buying a policy
Different people have different requirements, and getting the right insurance policy for your needs will depend on a number of factors. Here are 8 things to consider before making any decisions
(1) Single trip or multi-trip policy? – which policy would be more appropriate for you, a multi-trip policy (also known as an annual travel insurance) or a single-trip policy? If you plan on traveling three or more times in a year then a multi-trip policy would work out cheaper.
There are no restrictions on the number of trips you can make during a 12 month period, but you will be limited on the duration of each trip. Depending on the insurance provider and the policy you choose this could be… 10, 17, 31, 45, 60 and even 90 days per trip, but there may also be ‘trip duration' restrictions depending on your age. Almost all insurers do 31 days per trip as standard.
If you plan on making no more than two trips in a year then a single trip policy will usually work out cheaper. You can get cover for up to 90 – 94 days as standard, but some insurers will cover you for up to 6 months.
The maximum age limit for a single trip policy is about 79 years, and for a multi-trip policies it's slightly less, about 75 years.
(2) What about Backpacker insurance? – if you are you planning on taking a long extended vacation, traveling to multiple countries, or doing a gap year ‘a working holiday' abroad, then a backpacker insurance policy might be the best choice.
Unlike the multi-trip policy, a backpacker policy will cover you for trips to multiple destinations for much longer periods of time, typically up to 18 or 24 months away from home.
Also, depending on the policy provider, you will still be covered and allowed a certain number of free home visits, ie. temporary return trips home to deal with an emergency or to visit friends and family.
This isn't exclusively just for students or 20 and 30 year old's wanting to take a ‘gap year' trekking adventure around the world, backpacker insurance is also available for adults up to 60 years of age, but you will have to shop around.
(3) Which countries are you visiting? – which countries are you planning to visit? Medical costs in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean are hugely expensive and you may need to take out extra cover.
Although medical treatment in the Caribbean isn't as expensive as in the USA, if hospital treatment is required you will most likely be airlifted to the USA, and especially so if you're on a Caribbean cruise.
(4) Are you an adrenaline junkie? – if you're an adrenaline addict and plan on participating in any activities classified as extreme sports such as hand gliding, sky diving, bungee-jumping, rock climbing, white water rafting, shark cage diving etc., then you'll need ‘extreme sports insurance' cover.
You might be surprised to learn that some providers even classify ‘inflatable banana rides' and horse riding as extreme sports – always check your policy for what you are insured and what's-not covered.
(5) Are you going on a cruise? – this one's a no-brainer, if you're going on a cruise vacation you'll need cruise travel insurance, which will cover you for all the risks associated with cruising holidays, and very importantly it covers you for transport to a hospital should you become ill at sea.
It will also provide insurance cover for all the locations you visit, including ‘missed port departure' which covers you for any overnight accommodation costs and travel expenses to get to the next port to join the ship.
(6) Are you bringing expensive gear? – what expensive personal items and gadgets are you taking with you on vacation?.. camera equipment, laptop, sports equipment etc., depending on the value of your possessions you may need additional cover.
(7) Family or group travel insurance? – How are you traveling… alone, with your family or with a group of friends? Family travel insurance can work out cheaper if traveling with you partner and children, and some insurers will even offer free cover for children up to 17 years of age.
Similarly if you're traveling with a party of friends on a hen or stag weekend break, then a group travel policy will work out cheaper per individual than taking out separate covers.
(8) Are you over 65 years of age? – if you're over 65 you'll have to pay more for your travel insurance no matter how healthy you are. You might be as fit as a fiddle, but if you're on the wrong side of 65 you're perceived as high risk, because statistically older people are more likely to make a medical claim while on vacation
You could opt for the standard single-trip policy which (depending on the insurer) has a maximum age limit of 79 years, but a better choice would be to get a specific ‘over 65 travel insurance' which comes with additional benefits that you don't get with a standard policy.
For example, there is no upper age limit if you're 80 you can still get insured, you also get additional cover for emergency medical treatment, cover for replacement medication, cover for replacing medical and mobility equipment, and with some insurers you even get cover for travel companions on the same insurance policy.
Where to find the best value travel Insurance deals
Finding the best travel insurance for your needs is not always as straightforward as it may seem, especially when you do all your searching on the internet.
The problem is… who can you trust to give an honest and unbiased review?
Trying to find a reliable source of information can be a bit tricky since so many review sites only recommend insurance providers who pay the best referral commissions.
Reviews.com is a good place to start, they have done much of the legwork for you by evaluating 22 travel insurance providers, they go into great detail in explaining how they assessed each of the insurance providers – here are their top four best rated.
Another reliable source is Trustpilot.com – dubbed as the world's most powerful review platform, you can quickly determine how good or bad any insurance provider is by simply doing a company search, and viewing their Trustpilot rating and customer feedback reviews.