There are three documents you should read before purchasing an insurance policy; the policy summary, the schedule of benefits, and the policy wording. They are boring and can be difficult to follow, but you can find nasty surprises in there when you come to make a claim if you are not clear about what you are covered for.
The things you need to know about your policy:
Does it cover me? - Do you meet the age and residency requirements of the policy?
Does it cover the things I want to do? - All insurers will list activities that are covered under the policy. This will cover adventurous activities but also more mundane things (i.e. are you covered while at work if undertaking a working holiday?) Adventurous activities will often have further subcategories (i.e. we will cover skiing, but not off-piste skiing.) You need to check for any special conditions for any activities you are thinking of undertaking, do you need to pay any more? Are there extra excesses on this activity? Do you need to take a specific policy to be covered for the activity?
What sort of medical cover do you have? Don't get too caught up in "window dressing" such as the difference between £5m and £10m worth of cover. What is the excess on medical treatment? Do you need to contact the insurer before obtaining medical treatment? Some insurers will not pay medical bills for treatment they did not authorise. What about dental treatment, is that also covered?
Excesses are the portion of the cost of a claim that you are not covered for. For example, if you have an excess of £100 for medical claims, you will not be covered for the first £100 of each single medical claim you make. If you need to make a number of claims on a longer trip, you will need to pay the first £100 every time. You should think seriously about whether you want to take a policy with a high excess, even if it is cheaper than other policies. It might seem great now, but it’s something you are likely to regret in the future.
What isn’t covered? The policy wording will have information about both general exclusions, and will have information about exclusions within certain specific subcategories. You have to read the whole document to find all the exclusions. Make sure there is nothing in there that is likely to be a problem for you. For example this one; "Expenses incurred as a result of a tropical disease where you have not had the recommended inoculations and / or taken the recommended medication." This may not be a problem for you at all. If, however, you are one of the many people who has planned a last minute trip and hasn't had time to undergo the full course of jabs for your destination before you go, this might not be the policy for you.
Does your policy cover cash? Many don’t, so this is a definite concern.
What is the insurer’s depreciation policy? If you are taking something that is more than a year or two old are you going to get a reasonable return from your insurer if something happens to it?
This isn't an exhaustive list, but hopefully this will be enough to help you identify the right policy for you. Of course you don't want to pay more than you need to, but don't short-change yourself by buying cheap now and regretting it later.
Two final things to think about;
Buy your insurance early – it should include cover for cancellation in the event that you are unable to travel so buying it at the same time as your flights means you are taking full advantage of the cover
There is often little to no difference between the price of a single trip or annual insurance policy. If you are planning more than one trip in 12 months after choosing an insurer that you are happy with look at the price of their annual policy, it may save you money in the long run.
|AA Travel Insurance||American Express||Endsleigh|
|Flexicover||Go Travel Insurance||JS Insurance|