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The importance of insurance

It might not be the most exciting part of the holiday but making sure you have the right insurance is just as important as checking that your passport is in date. In some cases, even a relatively minor injury on holiday can cost thousands of pounds. The price of medical treatment abroad varies significantly depending on the country you’re travelling to.

Be particularly prepared for a hefty bill if you’re outside the European Union. Even within the EU, your EHIC, which you should always have with you when you travel, may not provide sufficient cover for an injury. Costs can soon escalate.

Travel tips before your trip abroad:

  • Take out private travel insurance. If travelling within the EU, then your EHIC is essential but it is not an alternative to travel insurance. It is crucial that you understand the limitations of the card.
  • The NHS website explains that a free EHIC will entitle you to basic state medical treatment at a local hospital and does not provide private medical treatment, cover for lost or stolen property or repatriation to the UK if your injuries are serious.
  • Travel insurance, subject to any exclusions within the policy wording, will provide this cover. It is therefore crucial that travellers obtain both the EHIC and private travel insurance cover before their trip. Failure to do so may result in expensive medical and travel costs back to the UK.

6 Tips for getting the right travel insurance cover

  1. Always take out adequate travel insurance. 
    When looking for travel insurance don’t always default to the cheapest policy. Make sure that your cover is inclusive of any holiday activities you’re planning, such as backpacking, cycling or skiing.

  2. Read your policy carefully – INCLUDING THE SMALL PRINT!
    Remember, your travel insurance is a contract between you and the insurer. You must read all the terms and conditions and the small print. Be aware, an insurer is unlikely to accept a claim that you didn’t know your travel insurance excluded. Pay attention to the most important part - the exclusions section – to understand what you aren’t covered for under the policy. Some people don’t realise until it’s too late that their travel insurance won’t cover them for certain activities, travel within select countries or pre-existing medical conditions.

  3. Take your policy documents with you.
    Taking your policy documents on holiday with you will ensure that you have the specifics of what you’re covered for and who to contact if things do go wrong.

  4. Apply for a European Health Insurance Card.
    If you’re travelling in Europe, apply for your EHIC well in advance.Many insurance policies expect that you’ll use this card to reduce your hospital bills, and the insurer may not fully cover your costs if you don’t.
    Tips for getting the right private insurance cover.

  5. Pay close attention to the excess.
    It is important to consider the amount of insurance excess payable when choosing your policy, especially if you’re taking out insurance on behalf of a group.

    Do your homework and shop around for the best policy for you. Many excesses are from £50 to £150 and are applicable to all claims. If you’re forced to cancel a holiday, it’s important to consider whether this excess is payable per person, per incident or both. Alternatively, if your bag is lost, damaged or stolen, is the excess payable per item, per bag or per claim?

  6. Know what to do if your insurer won’t pay out.
    If your travel insurers refuse to pay out for a claim under the policy and this refusal has been upheld after you’ve complained, remember that you do have options.

    The Financial Ombudsman Service is a free and independent service set up to help consumers who want to complain about a financial institution, including the insurance industry. The ombudsman will review the facts of your claim in an objective manner and rule whether the decision was reasonable.

    If you aren’t happy with the decision then you can ask for a formal, final decision by the ombudsman and thereafter, the courts. 

For more information about incidents or injuries abroad, please contact us for free, no obligation advice +44 (0)800 6895854 or travelclaims@leighday.co.uk.

Alternatively contact Clare Campbell 0161 393 3551 or ccampbell@leighday.co.uk.

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