Travel insurance – we bust the top 5 myths surrounding it and show you how a small investment now can save you a fortune.
Everyone loves going abroad. Whether it’s to relax in the sun or hit the slopes, the world can be a playground – and thanks to travel becoming increasingly affordable over the last 20 years, many more of us can enjoy it.
The only problem is that, these days, household budgets are feeling the pressure.
With fewer people putting aside that little bit extra to fund their holidays, more are turning last minute offers on package holidays or are opting for a staycation within the UK to save money.
And with travel becoming more of an impromptu affair, there’s a danger that travel insurance is becoming an afterthought – or an additional expense that’s first to get trimmed off the holiday budget.
But what happens when you don’t have adequate cover in place? We bust the top 5 travel insurance myths to highlight what you what could face.
Myth 1: An EHIC card gives you full medical cover within the EU
Most people buy travel insurance primarily for the medical cover, but it’s all to easy to assume that a European Health Insurance Card keeps you covered within the EU.
That’s not the case. The EHIC only entitles you only to the same state-provided medical care as a local resident – and that doesn’t mean it will be anywhere near UK standards.
In fact, there are a whole host of exemptions and costs you may still be liable for depending on which country you visit – the EHIC is designed to cover ‘necessary’ healthcare, but not necessarily the full cost of that care.
That means the EHIC is a useful and money-saving addition to travel insurance, but you would be unwise to rely on it to cover all healthcare costs when you’re travelling in the EU.
Myth 2: Most policies cover extreme sports
You know the thrill of skiing down a mountain covered with fresh snow, scaling a cliff face or rafting down a swollen river – but what you might not know is that if you just have a standard travel insurance policy, you may not be covered for the range of activities insurers call “extreme sports”.
This could make an injury suffered doing any one of dozens of different activities a very expensive prospect.
These include abseiling, windsurfing and everything in between – so if you’re planning on being adventurous, check what you’re covered for before you buy a policy. If an extreme sport is the main purpose of your trip, you may also require a special sport trip or winter sports policy for complete coverage.
However, if you’ve already bought a standard travel insurance policy, insurers such as SportsCover Direct offer an “Activity TopUp” policy that tops up your existing policy to cover you for particular activities during your trip.
Myth 3: You have to travel together to be covered by family travel insurance
Making separate travel insurance arrangements for each person travelling with you can get expensive, fast – but the good news is you don’t need to.
If your family travels often, together and separately, you can save money by choosing family travel insurance.
You don’t have to travel together to be covered by family travel insurance – most family insurance policies allow separate travel by family members and children as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
Not only does this save money, it also saves paperwork – and you’re covered within the UK too.
Myth 4: “Acts of God” are covered by standard policies
Remember the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland in 2010? And then the other, smaller one, earlier this year? These, along with events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and hurricanes are classed as “Acts of God” – and you can’t just assume your standard insurance policy will fully cover you for such problems.
Even if you’re lucky enough not to get caught up in one of these events directly, they can still force you to take the costly step of cancelling or postponing your travel – so take precautions.
If you’re heading to an area that is prone to earthquakes or flooding, for example, check that your travel insurance policy keeps you covered.
Myth 5: Travel insurance will cover all your costs
Travel insurance does buy you peace of mind, but with many of us comparing travel insurance online and simply opting for the cheapest policy, we may not all be getting the level of cover we think we are.
In addition to cutting out some kinds of protection and placing age restrictions on policies – some, for example, won’t cover the over-65s – cheaper policies also have lower claim limits.
If you’re travelling with a lot of luggage or valuables, for example, think about how much they are worth or have them valued. That way you can compare their value to the amount you can claim for with your travel insurance.
So, even if you’re heading abroad for only a few days, take the time to invest in adequate travel insurance – it could end up saving you a fortune.