Guide to Getting the Best Travel Insurance
If you’ve travelled extensively, then you’ve probably been asked whether you’d like to apply for travel insurance. What many travellers don’t understand is just how important this type of insurance can be. Not only does it offer peace of mind, it also protects you from extreme medical bills should you become ill or have an accident while on your trip.
The UAE Money Expert understands the importance of travel insurance. We also understand that the less you have to pay for it, the better. These tips are here to make purchasing traveling insurance easier, both on you and your bank account.
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Tip #1: Sign up for travel insurance when you book your trip
We get this a lot. Someone will book their flights and hotels, only to forget about their travel insurance. Now it’s the last minute and they’re left scrambling to get it taken care of. Or worse, they decide they’ll let it go “this time only” and go about their trip as planned.
We recommend signing up for travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and hotels. This way, if you need to change flights or hotels later on, you won’t have to pay an outrageous fine. Annual policies let you cancel whenever, while single-trip policies work all the way up until the time of your flight. There’s no reason not to purchase travel insurance when you book the trip.
Tip #2: Annual policies are better if you travel more than once a year
If you have plans to travel more than once this year, it’s far more efficient to purchase an annual travel insurance plan. With an annual plan, you’re covered for every trip, all year long. That’s way better (and oftentimes way cheaper) than paying for multiple single-trip coverage plans.
Tip #3: Always ask which countries are covered by your travel insurance
Travel insurance agencies have different ideas of what constitutes “Europe” or “World” when they offer their coverage. In some cases European travel coverage will not include travel to the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and other times it will include much of Europe plus additional countries in North Africa (such as Egypt, Tunisia, or Morocco).
The same is true for “worldwide coverage.” Just because it says worldwide, don’t assume that it covers every part of the globe. A travel insurance company will have a list of countries that it covers within its worldwide coverage. Make sure all of your destinations are on that list, or call and ask. You may also be able to opt out of certain areas, such as the U.S. and Canada.
Tip #4: Extreme sports and other adventure pastimes may not be covered
If you’re the adventurous type and plan to hit the ski slopes or mountain climb, don’t automatically assume travel insurance will cover you. Many travel insurance companies will also offer winter sports insurance, which will definitely include any activities you plan to do on the slopes (on that note, we still recommend you check what activities are covered!) It will even protect against stolen gear (owned or rented) as well as piste closures, cancellation costs, and even lift passes and school fees. In most cases, coverage lasts anywhere from 17 days to 4 months or longer depending on the company.
Of course, this additional cost can frustrate some vacation-goers, and we completely understand. But adventure sports are also extremely risky, and insurance companies meet that additional risk with additional coverage costs. To cut back a bit on insurance costs, especially winter sports insurance, ask about plans with higher excess (out of pocket) amounts. Be careful here—if it’s too high, it negates the point of insurance entirely.
Tip #5: Identify who needs to be covered
Basic, but essential. A single policy insures individuals or even families. However, (and this is especially true of families) you’ll want to make sure the whole family is getting their money’s worth—especially for an annual plan. Premiums go up based on the oldest person in the group, so if you have an elderly individual with you, consider getting a separate policy for him or her, and a family policy for everyone else.
Also of note, insurers may still provide coverage to individuals traveling alone on an annual family plan. Ask about this when you sign up. Children may also receive automatic coverage if they go on a school trip, although you’ll also want to verify this with the insurer as well, since not all of them offer this.
Tip #6: ALWAYS tell an travel insurer about any medical conditions you have
Take it from us—you may think you can hide a medical condition from a travel insurance agency, but more often than not, they’ll find out. Most insurers are changing the way they interact with higher-risk individuals, so don’t automatically assume you’ll be paying huge additional costs. If you have a condition that requires medication, make sure the insurer is aware. This also goes for chronic illnesses and injuries you’ve sustained.
Tip #7: Never leave home without your travel documents
This is critical (and very often forgotten!) Should an emergency arise, you’ll definitely want all of the essential documents, such as the details of your policy, a list of numbers to call in the event of an emergency, and finally, your EHIC.
Tip #8: Know the details of the travel insurance you sign up for
No one likes reading small print. But when it comes to insurance, it’s important you at least go over the main points. You may think you’re covered from a missed connection, but as it turns out—you’re not. Same goes for vacationing on a cruise ship; you may be covered, or you may not. When in doubt, ASK.