In a recent survey by Fast Cover Insurance, 40% of people questioned did not take out travel insurance when traveling, but worryingly one in five needed help whilst away, for which insurance would have covered them.
Taking out travel insurance really isn’t the most difficult thing in the world, in fact these days it is readily available at just a few clicks of the mouse. But, what you do have to be careful of is making sure you give the provider accurate and honest information, otherwise you could find your policy is completely worthless. Which? conducted a survey last year, which revealed that one in ten people who try to make a claim on their travel insurance have it refused. Compared to home insurance, that is double the amount of rejections.? So why do so many people make such big mistakes with their travel insurance and why are so many claims turned down.? We take a look at the top ten reasons for why your insurance provider may refuse you compensation and which mistakes you should avoid in the future.
If you are going somewhere exotic it is likely you will need certain vaccinations or preventative medication, such as anti malaria tablets, before you go. If you are in any doubt as to whether you need them or not, speak to your doctor or check the NHS list of worldwide travel vaccinations. Most importantly you don’t want to catch a nasty tropical disease, but second to that is if you do get infected and you haven’t had any jabs or medication prior to leaving, your insurance policy will be made null and void. Leaving you to pay for any treatment costs and in an absolute worst case scenario having to pay for travel costs should you be so ill you need to return home as soon as possible.
2. Pre-existing medical conditions.
Whilst we are on the subject of medicines and health lets talk about if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Some people worry that if they tell their insurance provider about a medical condition they already have, their premium will rocket up through the roof. However, insurers aren’t stupid, they’re going to find it pretty fishy if you suddenly need medication on holiday that you have already been prescribed back in your home country.? They will find out, so you need to be honest. Yes, it may cost you ever so slightly more, but it’s worth checking with your provider as many do cover certain conditions.? The key thing to remember is that whatever slight extra you pay on? your premium would be nowhere near the amount you would have to pay on medical bills when your claim is refused.
3. Drink and drugs.
It hardly needs saying, but if you have an accident and are found to have drink or drugs in your system your insurers will refuse your claim. For example, if you go swimming in the hotel pool after a nights heavy session and you twist your ankle getting out at the end or if you think hitting the ski slopes after too many mulled wines seemed like the best idea ever, think again. However, if you have been drinking and an accident happens that is out of your control and has nothing to do with the fact you have been drinking, for example you are simply walking back to your accommodation and a motorbike hits you, then you will be covered.
If you have children, you must remember to add them to your policy. Many insurers will offer a family policy, but you still need to remember to list them when you take it out. There have been people in the past who have forgotten to do this and unfortunately the rule is simple, if someone isn’t listed on the policy, then they are not covered. Remember, children under 2 are listed for free on most insurance policies.
5. Make sure you have it!
Quite simply, make sure you remember to take out travel insurance before you go away. If you have taken out policies before, then remember to check whether they are still in date or whether they need to be renewed. Most companies will contact you as your policy nears it’s end, but you can’t completely rely on that. We are very lucky to have the NHS in the UK, but if you are abroad and something happens to you which requires medical assistance and you don’t have travel insurance, you will be liable to pay whatever fees that particular countries healthcare system charges.
6. Is the country covered?
Although it is highly unlikely you would choose to go somewhere that is considered dangerous on your holiday, there are still some instances where people need to travel to such destinations, for example to visit family or for business purposes. If there is some sort of civil unrest or natural risk at your destination and if the government has advised against travel to the area, then you won’t be covered if you decide to go regardless. If you are unsure, check any small print on your policy to see whether it excludes certain countries and if you are still unsure talk to your provider and explain your concerns.
It is very rare to find a standard travel insurance policy that will cover for lost or stolen baggage. Check the small print of your policy to make absolutely sure and consider what it is you’ll actually be taking away with you as to whether it is worth taking out extra baggage insurance. If you are taking something valuable with you, then it is a no brainer, but it still may be worth it for the standard holiday fare.? Baggage handlers can be notoriously rough with suitcases and it has also been known for luggage to end up on a completely different flight and consequently arrive in a completely different location – not very helpful!
Again, check the small print of your policy.? If you cancel your holiday, then no, you won’t be covered. But if your flight is cancelled or delayed to a point where you either can’t go on holiday any more or if it impacts on certain prepaid excursions, which you may miss out on then you may be able to claim compensation.
9. Business coverage.
Most companies will sort out your travel insurance for you, but don’t just assume that they have.? Always chase it up yourself and ask for a copy of the policy details for yourself so that you can see what is and isn’t covered. Standard travel insurance policies will cover basic business equipment, such as a laptop, iPhone, Kindle etc, however specialised business equipment may need further insurance and it is likely that you would need a specific business policy.
If you are doing any kind of activity, which is considered remotely dangerous you will need to check whether your insurer will cover you for it.? Sports such as skiing, rockclimbing, water sports to name just a few are all considered dangerous as the risk of damage is so much more increased. There are a various insurers who provide insurance purely for this market, so it is worth speaking to the experts and making sure the policy you take out covers you in every eventuality.
Our lasting piece of advice, and one we have mentioned time and time again, is to ALWAYS read, and re-read the small print.