Travel insurance – The basics explained

Travel insurance guide - Understanding your cover

Do you really need travel insurance? Some may see it as an unnecessary expense – that is, until they’re stranded abroad, incurring tens of thousands of pounds in medical bills or trying to recover their stolen valuables with no hope of compensation.

In these days of cheap airfares, globalisation and the digital revolution, travel might feel less risky than it used to, but common problems can and do still occur. We might pop for a European city break or an American conference without giving it much thought, but let’s take some time and remember those important risks that make travel insurance worthwhile.

Travel insurance guide - Understanding your cover

1. Cancellation and missed flights

There can be many reasons why a trip doesn’t work out. If the travel company cancels the holiday then they will most likely refund your money – unless they have entered insolvency, in which case you will be out of pocket unless you have insurance. 

Likewise, it might be that you miss a flight or connection through no fault of your own; your car breaks down on the way to the airport, or you have to stay at home to care for a loved one. As many people who are cancelling travel due to the Zika virus are finding out, the tour company are usually not obliged to give your money back, even if you have a good reason for not travelling. 

2. Medical costs

We all hope it doesn’t happen, but if you fall sick while travelling abroad the costs can be eye-watering. In European Economic Area countries, the EHIC card entitles you to the same level of state medical care as citizens of the country, but the local system has a paid element you have to pay too. EHIC doesn’t cover the cost bringing you home after treatment, especially if you need special travel arrangements. 

Outside of Europe, medical costs can be colossal, especially if you need to stay in hospital for a few weeks or months. This is why the Foreign Office advises travellers to take out insurance; the FCO website advises that hospitalisation for a stomach bug in California, for example, together with return flights can cost around £100,000. 

3. Loss and theft

Being the victim of crime is not a nice experience, but if the thieves get away with your passport and spending money as well as your phone and iPad, your holiday will certainly take a turn for the worse. Being stranded in a country without money or documents will mean severe disruption to your holiday as you spend time reporting the crime to the police or contacting the local embassy for assistance.

Even loss of property, such as suitcases, can have a real impact on your holiday. You might be left with only one outfit, or lose a camera with precious photos. 

Travel insurance guide - Understanding your cover

Travel insurance guide - Understanding your cover

When you consider everything that could go wrong, insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind that you have protection while you travel. It’s important to choose your policy carefully and provide accurate information – leaving out important details could mean that your policy becomes invalid.

All policies have some exclusions and you might need to pay higher premiums if you have a medical condition, are planning to do extreme sports or are going somewhere with high levels of risk. 

Why not contact Computerquote  for your next travel insurance policy?

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