We see a lot of people asking Should I get Travel Insurance on social media
80% of people worldwide travel without insurance. Maybe we think we will buy it later, or that the insurance offered by our travel agent, or airline is a rip off but for whatever reason the majority of people are travelling with insufficient insurance.
Travel Insurance is a compound product covering numerous risks – which makes it fairly unique in terms of insurance products. Claim rates tend to be high, which suggests that on the whole customers get good value from it.
What risks are covered?
Not every policy is the same but generally you can expect cover for
- Medical costs in the event of an accident or health related emergency
- Flight Cancellations
- Flight delays
- Lost luggage
- Damaged luggage
- Loss of Cash or Travel Documents
- Personal Liability
You may also see cover for
- Funeral Expenses
- Repatriation of mortal remains
- Emergency Dental cover
- Travel Delays
- Credit Card Protection
- Event Cancelation – e.g. concerts, sporting events, races etc.
These are known as features, but what you are really buying is peace of mind.
If you are going on a sporting, or adventure type holiday where you will undertake risky activities or could potentially need rescuing then insurance becomes far more valuable and yet the cost is surprisingly low.
Note that bicycle racing is usually excluded under a standard “no racing” clause whilst swimming and running races are generally ok. If you intend to enter a bicycle race then enquire about specialist cover. It is not usually much more expensive.
If you are going to a country or area with a high crime rate or where the airport is notorious for delays then you also definitely think about insurance
Similarly the more you travel, the higher the probability that something will go wrong. Most travel policies are restricted to 60 days or less for each trip, for exactly this reason.
If you are planning an event such as a Wedding, or other celebration overseas then you should also think seriously about what it would cost if you had to cancel for example because of a sick relative, or a stag night gone wrong!
Many people don’t realise that they should take travel insurance out at least a month before travelling. If you get sick, or are unable to travel for genuine reasons then the cost of the entire trip may be covered. By leaving the insurance until the last possible moment, you essentially forgo this benefit. typically you cannot buy travel insurance once you have boarded the plane but there are exceptions…. which are expensive of course and come with an exclusion period so for example you may be unable to claim for the first X hours of cover. This is to ensure that you don’t try to take cover for something that has already happened.
Isn’t travel insurance a scam?
Absolutely not, we have been running for around 18 months and have had numerous claims from our members. I’m happy to say that to date only one claim has been rejected, and that due to a misunderstanding about what was claimable – from a member who had previously successfully claimed a significant amount of money.
My Credit Card gives me Travel Cover
Most travel policies that are attached to credit cards are group schemes that are designed to be hard to claim against. The credit card wants the travel insurance feature but not the cost of covering all the associated risks. So for example you may get accidental death and dismemberment cover but not medical cover, or you may find that the limits are too low to be effective in markets like the USA, or that you have to “activate” the policy before you travel.
It is safer to assume that you cannot claim on your credit card’s policy and then if you are successful it is a pleasant surprise. I do know people who have claimed for e.g. damaged luggage
I get cover through my business / job
This is worth checking as many group policies will only cover you whilst you are traveling on business for your employer. Stay over an extra couple of days as a min vacation and you are likely to invalidate cover for the whole trip
What if I paid with airmiles?
Even if you paid for your trip with miles your insurance policy may still cover you for cancelled, delayed flights. Our travel club has a policy which covers this
What if the Airline / Travel Agent goes bankrupt?
Usually if the Travel Agent goes bankrupt there is some cover through IATA – International Association of Travel Agents (providing your agent is registered)
An airline going bust will depend on your cover – ours does not cover this
What about elderly parents?
Most travel policies will have an age limit. Ours caps out at 70 but some are as low as 65. Occasionally the insurer will agree to extend the age limit with a small premium increase and there are specialist providers such as SAGA in the UK
Tell me about the limits
If you are travelling as a group and you are all insured then you should all be able to claim for lost or damaged luggage, cancelled or delayed flights, cancelled accommodation etc. This sounds obvious but particularly with luggage, it may be that only one bag goes missing out of 5 or 6 bags, but the contents are above the limit per person. If you aren’t sure then ask – its probably worth 2 or more of you making a claim.
If you would like to check what our group policy covers check here