Heading off for some winter sun?

4th February, 2019

How to avoid a travel insurance nightmare…

Hands up those who go to a price comparison site, type in your country of choice, find the cheapest travel insurance and buy? It’s a common scenario and it certainly saves time, but it also means you could end up in hospital, thousands of miles from home, with your insurance company refusing to pay out, if the terms and conditions state that certain scenarios aren’t covered.

In December 2018, Sophie Wilson, aged 24, was badly injured when she dived into a swimming pool in Thailand. It’s not sure whether she will walk again and her family raising money to bring her home. Her travel insurer, Insure and Go, refused to cover her costs, saying they are ‘not able to cover circumstances where the customers has acted in a way that puts themselves at risk… stated in the terms and conditions.’

It’s a story that makes you think, and, if you’re about to head off for some winter sun, shows that you need adequate insurance when travelling abroad.

“Every travel insurance policy will mention alcohol and drugs,” says Graeme Trudgill, from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association. “Some policies won’t cover claims related to alcohol. In others, as long as you’re in control of your actions, you’ll be fine, but there will need to be evidence, such as a blood alcohol reading. There have been terrible incidents where people get drunk and jump off balconies, sustaining terrible injuries, which won’t necessarily be covered.”

If you’re doing high-risk activities, such as scuba diving below 30m, kitesurfing and certain types of white-water rafting, check with your insurance provider that you’re protected, as standard policies may not provide cover. If you decide to do an activity while abroad, it’s worth calling your provider and asking them to arrange cover.

Graeme Trudgill recommends buying travel insurance early, ideally on the day you book your holiday. “If something happens to you six months before you’re due to travel, such as injury or jury duty, and you can’t go, you’ll need to make a claim. You may also find your policy protects you if your airline goes bust. With a number of airlines recently going into administration, that’s good cover to have.”

Finally, cheaper isn’t necessarily better, as more basic policies often don’t include the cover you need. The best advice is not to buy the policy that comes up top on a price comparison site, but to think about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, and make sure your policy provides the necessary protection.

Routen Chaplin is happy to talk to you about your holiday insurance requirements, ensuring you have adequate insurance in place. That way you can enjoy your holiday with complete peace of mind, knowing that you’re totally protected.

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