Introduction to Travel Insurance | NatWest

 

 

 

Introduction to travel insurance

Whether you’re planning a relaxing pool side break or an action packed adventure holiday, getting the right travel insurance before you go away can help you if you come across any unexpected hitches – from missing luggage to holiday sickness or injuries. If you don't have travel insurance, you run the risk of having to pay for any medical care you need or replace expensive items like phones or cameras that are lost or stolen.

How does travel insurance work?

When you get travel insurance, you pay a sum of money to protect you from unexpected costs during your trip. If something unfortunate happens, you can make a claim to be paid back for what’s covered.

 

When you apply for travel insurance, you'll be asked to share your holiday plans and medical history. You'll then be given a quote for the cover that suits you best. Once paid, the policy will begin on the date agreed – simple. 

 

Don't forget to factor in the excess charge, a fee you'll have to pay when making a claim. Usually the cheaper the insurance deal, the higher the excess, so make sure you're comfortable with the excess charge before you sign.

 

Checking Defaqto ratings is a good place to start when picking a travel insurance policy. Defaqto are an independent financial researcher that give each policy a star rating to show the quality of cover offered, with five stars being the highest and one star the lowest.

What kind of policy do I need?

There are lots of different policies to choose from and the one best-suited to you will depend on the type of trip you’ve planned. Here are the main types:

 

Individual or group cover: If you're travelling as a group, you'll usually have the option to combine your policy - really useful when you're travelling as a family.

 

Cruise cover: Travel insurance can be designed for holidays with flights, so if you’ve booked a cruise you might need to choose cruise cover. If you do, make sure it still includes all-important medical expenses cover.

 

Flights cover: Flight insurance covers unexpected events before or after a flight, like lost baggage and delays. A fully comprehensive travel insurance policy will usually offer this already, with the added bonus of medical insurance.

 

Annual or multi-trip insurance: If you’re planning to go abroad more than once a year, you could save money with an annual insurance policy, rather than taking out a separate policy for each trip. Check your agreement covers all the countries you've planned to visit before you go.

 

Gap year insurance: Annual travel insurance policies usually cover up to 45 days per trip, but gap year insurance can cover you for up to a year abroad.

What can be covered?

As a general rule, you'll want to make sure your policy insures against medical expenses and cancellation in case you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly, but there are lots of other cover options to choose from.

 

Medical expenses: Medical costs can quickly become extremely expensive, so it’s really important to make sure the insurance policy you choose covers medical expenses like hospital stays, any treatment or medication you might need, doctors appointments and transport home.

 

Cancellation or curtailment: This covers travel or accommodation costs you’ll lose out on if you need to cancel or cut your trip short.

 

Missed departure: If you miss your flight for a reason that’s out of your control, this will cover you for any additional costs, like accommodation or travel.

 

Baggage cover: This protects you if your baggage doesn’t arrive safely to your destination. Make sure the policy covers the value of everything in your suitcase.

 

Personal liability cover: If you cause accidental damage to a person or property, this can cover the cost.

 

Loss of passport: This covers costs that come with losing a passport, like travel and accommodation.

 

Cash: If any money you have in cash is lost or stolen, this cover will mean you can claim the amount back. To claim, you'll need to file a police report, usually within 24 hours of the incident.

 

Dental emergencies: This covers dental treatment needed while you're away from home.

 

Airline failure: If your chosen airline goes out of business, this option will pay you if you can't get a refund.

 

Winter sports: This gives you cover for winter sports equipment – whether you own the items or hire them while you're away. It may also protect against piste closures and delays caused by avalanches. It’s good to check if the policy will cover you if you head off-piste. 

 

Activity holiday: If lounging by the pool is the last thing you want to do on holiday, you'll need to make sure you're covered for any extreme sports or adventurous activities you've planned, from abseiling to jet skiing. 

 

How do I make a claim?

Making a claim should be simple, but there are a few things you can do to speed things up.

 

Lost, stolen or damaged items: Most importantly, report the incident to the local police within 24 hours. Some insurers can’t pay you if an official record hasn’t been made. If this isn't possible, get a written report from a hotel manager, transport company or other official. Make sure you note down any serial numbers and descriptions of the valuables you take with you on your trip. This could help track them down if they're lost or stolen, and may also give insurers a better idea of their value. If you can, take photos of items before you go to help with your claim.

 

Medical emergencies or personal injuries: If you need medical care, get in touch with your insurer straight away, and try to get their agreement before treatment. If you have to pay upfront for any medical costs, you may be able to make a claim on your return home, so hold on to any medical receipts for treatments or medication.

What's an EHIC?

Valid in the European Economic Area (which includes all EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) and Switzerland, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) lets you get the same level of medical care as a local. Your EHIC might not cover all healthcare costs though, so travel insurance is still important. 

 

Lots of insurers ask that you hold an EHIC to make a valid claim, so having both will cover all bases. 

Top tip: Make a note of our phone numbers before you travel, so that you can get in touch with us easily if you need to.

Set Tab for lightbox