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Travel Insurance and EHICs Watch

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    Right, so you want to book a holiday? Or maybe you've already booked it? Have you thought about travel insurance?

    The fact is, you never know what might happen, and it's better to be safe than sorry. Plus, it might be cheaper to get it than you think! You can buy it per holiday, or you can get annual cover. Some bank accounts give you free travel insurance as part of the account cost, but you need to check that it covers you and your holiday (or what you want/need it to cover). For example, not all medical conditions will be covered, or you may need to notify your bank of some conditions. It may also not cover you for certain types of holidays (e.g. backpacking, skiing holidays).

    Travel insurance can help with:

    - if you have an illness before the trip/other reasons to cancel
    - if you need to shorten your trip and come back early (for both of these, only certain reasons will be covered)
    - if you need medical attention while you're on holiday (it can be expensive otherwise!)
    - if you cause damage/injury to other people/their belongings (i.e. personal liability)
    - it helps if something happens to your luggage and other belongings (e.g. cash, but check how much it covers you for)
    - if your journey is delayed (this is separate to the compensation you can get for delayed flights)
    - if the company you booked with (e.g. the flight company) goes under, you can get money back - so don't wait til the last minute to organise it!

    You need to:

    - check each policy carefully to make sure it covers you for what you want
    - check the excess on the policy (this is how much you need to pay initially - the insurance company will pay for anything over that amount)
    - be honest about any known pre-existing conditions, as otherwise your policy may be voided (including pregnancy)
    - make sure you get any jabs you need before you go
    - consider whether an individual or group policy is cheaper
    - if you book a DIY holiday (rather than a package holiday), check that you are covered for that
    - check if it covers bank/credit cards, or check whether your card has separate cover on it as standard
    - don't necessarily go with the insurance from the travel agent. You will probably get it cheaper online elsewhere

    European Holidays

    If you're going on a holiday in the EU and reside in the EU, make sure you've got an EHIC card (and check it's in date - they do last a while). This entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals in EU countries, plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, the same as the locals. So you pay what they pay. Because yes, whether you like it or not, we are still in the EU.

    The EHIC is a FREE card - there are sites that charge you for it, so don't fall for it. However, it's not a substitute for travel insurance, as it only covers medical expenses. For example, if the country you are in requires its citizens to pay for treatment, you may well get it for free through your travel insurance instead. Or travel insurance would cover you for private medical care. The cover for it included pre-existing medical conditions.

    If you have one already - check the date. Make sure it's still valid, and will be valid for your trip. You can apply for a new one up to 6 months before your current one expires, but equally if you discover the one you've got has run out, this doesn't make renewing any more difficult. Make sure you carry it with you at all times.

    To renew your card, go here, or by calling 0300 330 1350 or filling out this form. Make sure your address is correct too. It will arrive in just a few days.

    ----

    So do you take out travel insurance before your holiday? How much did it cost? Did you have to use it? Did you go on holiday without taking out travel insurance and regret it?
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    I've gone on holiday a few times over the last few years. I had to shop around the first time. Unfortunately, I wasn't overly sure what I was looking for! (I was going with a friend of mine who got his through his bank) I found one which was something like £5 a year; but I'd never heard of them. Personally, I'd pay a little bit extra and go with someone you've heard of.

    I paid £32 for the year with post office. I now get mine free with my bank.

    Never had to use it thankfully.
 
 
 
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Updated: February 22, 2017
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