If you want to get the best value from your travel insurance, you should buy a policy as soon as possible after booking a holiday. While you might feel like you need to lie down in a darkened room after raiding your savings for some weeks in the sun, taking the time to purchase an insurance policy immediately could pay dividends.
According to a survey by GoCompare, only 26% of travel policies are purchased a month or more in advance; 40% are bought for holidays starting within one week and 9% are bought last-minute, on the actual day the holiday begins.
Buy early to avoid cancellation risk
Most people associate travel insurance with risks when they are away, such as medical costs or having belongings stolen. However, cancellation is also a very real risk. According to statistics by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), about 34% of travel insurance claims in the UK are for costs related to cancellations.
If you buy a policy as soon as you book a holiday, you are covered for cancellations in the period leading up to your holiday. If you leave it until later, you run the risk that your holiday will be cancelled without you being able to recover any money.
Why holidays are cancelled
There are many reasons why a holiday might not go ahead as planned. It could be that your tour operator goes bust, so they are unable to provide the holiday you booked. Personal circumstances might mean you cannot go, for example if you or a loved one falls sick, or there is a crisis at home such as flooding or you are made redundant.
Unless you have a crystal ball that can predict the future, there is no way of knowing what will happen between the time of booking a holiday and actually going on it. That is why it is best to insure this intervening period.
What is included in travel insurance cancellation cover?
Most travel insurance policies will let you reclaim the cost of your holiday, up to the cover limit minus the excess, if your holiday is cancelled for one of the reasons covered by the policy. Typically, cover is provided for serious illness or injury to you or a close relative. Cancelling your holiday due to fire or flood at home is also covered.
All policies will contain exclusions, so it is important to check these before buying. Most policies do not cover cancellation due to conflict or natural catastrophes such as earthquakes or hurricanes.
Other ways to claim for cancelled holidays
If your holiday is cancelled for a reason not covered under your insurance policy, you may still be able to recover some money. You might be able to claim from your credit card company, or claim against the holiday company if your trip was a package deal.
If your travel insurance policy includes legal expenses cover, this could help you bring a claim to get your money back at no cost to you.
Simply get a quick and easy travel insurance quote online or call our travel insurance partners Just Travel on 0800 954 0178 and they will be able to assist with your queries.