10 top tips for buying travel insurance

Today is the busiest day of the year to book a holiday, according to Expedia. It's essential you buy travel insurance when you book your break to protect you against unforeseen events before you go and while you're away. Here's how to buy the right policy.

1. Upper-age limits

Insurers often include upper-age limits on their policies, which means they won't cover older travellers. So it pays to shop around and look into insurers that don't apply such limits and cater specifically to your needs. Compare deals using sites such as Moneyfacts and Moneysupermarket.

2. Your health and pre-existing medical conditions

Claims directly arising from any pre-existing medical conditions will not be covered unless you have declared them along with hospital visits and any medication you’re taking at the point of purchase – and have them accepted in writing. Common medical-conditions that must be disclosed include heart conditions (which usually includes high blood pressure), cancer, breathing conditions (including asthma), bone conditions, diabetes and stomach conditions.

3. How much you plan to travel

If you're planning to make several trips in a year, you may get a better deal by buying an annual multi-trip policy rather than a number of single trips.

4. Limits on trip duration

If you decide to purchase an annual multi-trip policy, check the maximum trip duration cover. This differs across insurers and is important, especially if you’re planning a longer getaway.

5. Cover for the whole holiday

If you’re purchasing single-trip insurance, ensure that the policy covers you for the whole time you will be away, including the days you will travelling on. Your policy will end at midnight on the day you specify, so make sure you purchase an extra day’s cover if you are travelling back in the early hours of the morning.

6. Policy limits

Policy limits exist for both your overall "suitcase" and for individual items. It's important to check these and consider covering any big-ticket items separately. Make a list of what's included in your luggage and, if you can, keep a receipt for any high-value items. This means you'll be able to prove the value of your item and claim accordingly.

7. European Health Insurance Card

Some insurers insist you carry an EHIC whilst travelling and many will waive the excess of your claim if you have one. However, check the insurer’s terms and conditions and ask what their policy includes before purchasing. It's important to note that an EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance; it will entitle a holder to state care (only in the EU) but there may also be charges for seeing a GP, admission to a hospital or use of an ambulance. You may have to pay upfront for these and claim them back from your insurer at a later date. A UK/EU passport will not provide access. An EHIC card can be applied for from the NHS or the EHIC website  or at the Post Office.

8. Unexpected event cover

Almost every insurer is different when it comes to the unexpected events they cover. Some cover for delays or cancellations caused by volcanic-ash cloud, flight delays or acts of terrorism, while others don’t. It's worth checking the small print or, if it is unclear, confirming the cover with the insurer before purchasing a policy.

9. Holiday activities

If you're planning on taking part in activities such as horse riding, jet skiing or scuba diving while on holiday, you'll need to make sure that the policy will cover you in the event you had an accident. If the activity you are planning isn't included in the policy document, check with your insurer. It may be that it can be covered as standard or you might need to pay slightly more to make sure you are protected.

10.  Missed departure cover

Check the conditions of a missed departure from the insurer. Most will cover if the car or airport transfer bus breaks down for example; but if you didn't leave enough time to get to the airport or ferry terminal, your claim could be invalid. Some insurers will need proof of the time you left to ensure that you allowed sufficient time.
Thanks to Age UK Travel Insurance.

For more money-saving tips, grab the latest copy of Yours.