Travel insurance experts at PayingTooMuch reveal eight common errors made by holidaymakers, as well as the 10 popular holiday activities commonly excluded from standard travel insurance.
Going on holiday is a great way to escape everyday worries and stresses, but you don’t want to end up with even more issues on your return than when you left. Surprise cancellations could mean losing out on money, while serious accidents could lead to expensive medical bills.
To protect travellers from unexpected costs, PayingTooMuch, a travel insurance price comparison site, reveals eight common mistakes that people make when it comes to their travel insurance.
They also highlight 10 popular activities that aren’t always covered by standard travel insurance policies, along with five tips on taking out the right policy to suit your next trip.
Expert reveals eight common travel insurance mistakes that could stop you from getting a payout
Failing to disclose pre-existing medical conditions
It’s important to tell your insurance provider about any medical conditions that you have experienced or been treated for recently. This timeframe can be different for each insurer but usually fall between 12 months to five years. If you don’t, you won’t be covered for any issues related to your condition on holiday. That means all the medical expenses will have to come straight out of your pocket.
There are certain medical conditions you should always let your insurers know about, even if they happened a long time ago, such as:
High blood pressure
If you’re not sure about any of these, it’s worth asking your insurance provider.
Not letting your insurance provider know if there are any changes to your pre-existing medical conditions
Before the insurance provider agrees to insure you, they will ask for information about your health. That way they can make sure you have the right level of cover in your quote.
If anything changes with your health, you will need to update your policy so that you have the right level of cover.
Buying travel insurance too late
It’s recommended to buy your travel insurance the moment you book your holiday. Travel insurance will cover you for the holiday as well as the period leading up to it, so you’ll be covered if you need to cancel.
It’s usually too late to buy travel insurance once your trip has started. You may be able to buy insurance at the airport, but you won’t be able to once you have left the country. If you’ve left it late, there’s a chance you won’t be covered for cancellations or that you won’t be covered at all.
Not updating your travel insurance policy if the location or date of your trip changes
If the dates of your trip change, you’ll need to update your single trip policy to make sure you’re covered for the right dates.
For both single and annual multi-trip policies, you’ll need to let your insurer know if the destination of your trip changes. For annual policies, you’ll need to let your insurer know if your holiday is outside of the region you’re covered for.
This is because travel insurance will typically cost more for some countries, like the USA where medical costs are far higher. Making sure you’re covered for the right destination is important so you aren’t stuck with a huge medical bill.
Taking out an annual policy for a long-stay trip
An annual policy will usually only cover travellers for trips of up to 31 days (though some insurers can cover up to 50 days per trip, depending on your age). If you’re planning on taking a longer trip, choosing a single trip policy may give you more options to compare.
Getting your details wrong when booking travel insurance
Check your details carefully as you won’t be covered if you’ve given the wrong information, such as incorrect medical details. As long as you spot the mistake before you make a claim, you should be okay. Most insurers will allow you to amend your details, either online or over the phone.
Everybody makes mistakes, so it’s always a good idea to double-check the details you’ve entered before taking out your travel insurance. You should also check your details as soon as you get your documents and within the 14-day cooling-off period.
Relying on your GHIC/EHIC card without travel insurance
The GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) and EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) give UK travellers access to healthcare services in the European Economic Area (EEC) and Switzerland.
The important thing to remember is that your GHIC and EHIC cards won’t offer the same level of protection as your travel insurance. This cover is limited to emergencies such as A&E visits or treatment for pre-existing health conditions. It may not cover all health costs and if you need to get home in an emergency, so make sure you have travel insurance as well as your card to avoid any nasty surprises.
You also won’t be covered in countries outside of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. But a travel insurance policy will allow you to cover all bases.
Choosing the cheapest policy
While you save money in the short run, the cheapest travel insurance policy may not include everything you potentially need. If you need hospital treatment on holiday, you could end up out of pocket if you don’t have enough medical cover. Or if something happens to your baggage or if you experience cancellations, a cheap policy might not cover the costs.
Make sure you compare key features and benefits of travel insurance policies, and not just the price. The Insurer’s Product Information Document (IPID) is a short document with a uniform layout, which will help avoid any confusion when comparing lengthy policy booklets.
Brits urged to check their travel insurance policy before carrying out popular holiday activities
Holidays are a great time to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. While it may seem like the perfect time to try an adrenaline-pumping activity, your travel insurance may not cover you should you get into an accident. Holiday activities that carry an element of risk may need extra cover.
10 popular activities that you aren’t typically covered for in a standard policy include:
Cruises (unless cruise add-on has been purchased)
Hot air balloon flights
BMX stunt riding
Sleigh riding (pulled by reindeer or huskies)
Winter sports come with a higher risk that usually won’t be covered by a standard travel insurance policy. As a result, it’s recommended to choose a winter sports add-on that can cover you for well-known winter sports, including on-piste skiing and snowboarding. But it also includes some lesser-known activities such as:
Skiing and snowboarding in an off-piste, authorised area
Guided cross-country skiing
Sleigh pulled by reindeer (with an organised, experienced driver)
If you’re going on a cruise, you need to think about getting a specific travel insurance policy. A cruise-specific policy will also cover you for missed port departures, itinerary changes, cabin confinement, and prepaid shore excursion cancellations.
Whatever the activity, there may be a level of unpredictability involved. It’s important to read your policy documents so you know what is and isn’t covered.
Darren Saunders, Managing Director at PayingTooMuch shares five tips for taking out travel insurance for your upcoming trips
Tip 1 – You need to map out your needs and decide what a travel insurance policy will do for you. Travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, for example, may need to find a policy that is sure to cover them on their holiday.
Tip 2 – Once you know what you need from your travel insurance, you can use a comparison site like PayingTooMuch to compare the cover and costs of different policies.
Tip 3 – When buying travel insurance, it’s really important that you understand what is included. The terms and conditions may not be a gripping read, but they will help you understand what the policy covers.
Tip 4 – Double-check everything! Make sure that you’ve entered the correct details, as insurers will measure the risk of cover based on these. If you notice a mistake on your policy or if you need to change the dates or location, get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible.
Tip 5 – If there is anything related to your travel insurance that you’re not sure about, get in touch with your insurer. You don’t want to end up with an expensive medical bill or be left stranded in a foreign country just because you didn’t want to bother the insurance agents.