The key components of your travel insurance explained
When you buy travel insurance cover for your trip abroad, it's important to know exactly what you'll be covered for. If you know the different areas of cover that are available to you, then you can travel safe in the knowledge that your costs will be covered in the event of a mishap before you travel or whilst you are away.
Travel insurance can cover medical expenses, lost luggage, travel delay and much more. And each insurance provider imposes a limit on the amount of money they will pay out for under each section of your travel insurance policy. You will usually see the sections of travel insurance cover and limits promoted quite prominently, but what do they actually mean?
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Medical and repatriation expenses
This is the most important section of your policy. If you fall ill or have an accident whilst you are abroad, your insurer will pay for medical treatment, even surgery. In extreme cases, your repatriation costs will be covered if you need to be returned to the UK. Your insurer will provide a 24 hour emergency support line for you to contact in the event of a medical emergency.
It's important to have cancellation cover in case you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances, for instance if you or a close relative falls ill before your holiday, you can cancel your trip and claim it back on your travel insurance. Other reasons for cancelling can include jury or witness summons, redundancy and pregnancy. The exact definition of a close relative and the reasons for which you are entitled to claim for cancellation will vary with different insurers, so you should check the policy wording carefully to see what your travel insurance covers.
If you need to cut your trip short, perhaps due to ill health, your travel insurance cover will pay for you to return home early and the cost any unused accommodation etc. Again the specific terms and conditions will vary with different insurers.
Your flight needs to be delayed by a certain amount of time (usually 12 or 24 hours) before an insurer will pay up. After this time you can usually choose to abandon your trip and claim the cost of the holiday back, or wait for the delayed departure and claim back reasonable expenses for any food etc. that you've had to buy.
If you miss your departure through no fault of your own, you may be able to claim for some additional travel or accommodation costs as a result of this. Reasons for missing your departure include your vehicle breaking down or being involved in an accident, getting caught in road works or a public transport delay. The reasons for which you are entitled to make a claim will differ between insurers so you should always read the policy terms and conditions.
Additional accommodation or travel costs will be covered by your insurer in the event of a catastrophe. Catastrophes covered include hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and more. Read your policy wording for details of other catastrophes that your policy will cover.
Most travel insurers give holidaymakers the option to add winter sports cover to their standard policies. If you are going skiing or snowboarding, winter sports cover can protect the loss, theft or damage to ski equipment, unused ski pack due to illness or injury and piste closure. You will also need to purchase winter sports cover to ensure that are covered for accidents and injury whilst you are on the slopes.
Additional sports and activities
Travel insurers will include cover for certain activities and sports as standard on their policies, but there are many activities for which you may need to buy extra cover. Always check the policy wording to ensure that you are fully covered for any activities you intend to take part in when you're away.