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    Home Best place to travel Cheap Travelling Europe travel Travel insurance Cheap flight

Travel insurance without breaking the bank

Travel policy may be inexpensive as chips, but be mindful that your screen may be insufficient for your needs. You can now have travelling policy for as less as a fiver. That may say like unmissable value, but you might believe differently if you have to demand against a cut-price policy.

Some travelling policies are "overly inexpensive" to provide sufficient screen, according to an original study from investigation group Defaqto. After looking at 968 travelling policies it establish 30 single-trip plans charged little than £10 for a week's European travelling, with one quoting a mind-bogglingly reduced £5. 49.

Insurers with cheap policies may also skimp on benefits or make claiming difficult. "One trick is to charge high multiple excesses of, say, £75 rather than the standard £50. So if you lose your suitcase containing a handbag or wallet with some cash, you pay two excesses."

Or they may set miserly "single item" limits, perhaps as low as £150. "If you lose a £400 camera you only get £150. After paying the excess, you might end up
with just £75," warns Brown.

How little is too little?

So how much should you look to pay for travel cover? I suggests between £18 and £25 for a week in Europe, and between £35 and £50 for two weeks in the US.

"Among the big stores, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Greenbee from the John Lewis Partnership and Sainsbury's Bank offer good cover, although it can be a little expensive. (The Post Office is convenient if you need cover in a hurry, but slightly pricey for what you get)

Whatever you do, don't take the chance of travelling without insurance, although some 10 million Britons do just that.

European vacation

If travelling in Europe you should take out the European Health Insurance Certificate (EHIC), although this is no replacement for travel insurance.

"This entitles EU residents to emergency medical treatment in the event of accident or illness while travelling in Europe. But it will only match the standard of care provided to citizens of that country, which may not be up to [UK] standard”. And, of course, the EHIC doesn't cover other insurance extras such as cancellation and curtailment, lost baggage or repatriation to the UK.

Travel insurance generates around one in 10 complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, a total of 1,670 in the last financial year. So remember to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when taking out a policy - failing to do so is a common reason for a claim being rejected.

"Insurers often reject claims for cancellation following family illness claiming you should have known about the family member's state of health. It's a very grey area," she adds.

Other areas of dispute include injuries from dangerous sports, possessions left unattended at the beach or poolside, and alcohol-related tomfoolery. "If you are leaping drunkenly from balcony to balcony, your insurer won't pay your medical bills if you fall"

So what to buy?

You can still use online comparison sites to choose your policy, but make sure you are comparing more than just the price.

Look at policy limits for medical claims and lost baggage, the size of the excess, which sports and other activities are covered, and any activities or illnesses etc that are excluded from the cover. Policy documents are poorly written, but you must take time to understand them and look at more than just the price.

Also check whether the policy offers personal accident cover, missed departure through circumstances beyond your control, travel delay (typically payable after 12 hours), personal liability (typically up to £2m) and legal expenses (up to £50,000).

Many people also made the mistake of buying their policy a day or two before they fly out. It's better to buy cover as soon as you book your trip in case you are forced to cancel.

Don't get shoved into buying cover from your travel agent - you can get a much better deal from specialist insurers. If you plan to make several trips in the next 12 months you should consider annual "multi-trip" insurance.

People often think single trip cover is simple and cheap, but it isn't always best value. You can get annual travel cover for the whole family without breaking the bank.

And I recommend to you to read my previous post, named Anything can happen while traveling


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