Your essential guide to buying travel insurance

Travel insurance is a must for any trip abroad and it’s wise to budget for and buy a policy the moment you book your holiday as it pays out if you have to cancel, for example if a loved one becomes seriously ill or say you break your leg.

What it covers

A policy covers lost baggage, documents, cancellation and delays but it’s main role is to protect you from the high costs of emergency medical treatment abroad and any repatriation to the UK. When you compare the £15,000 cost of treating a broken hip in a Spanish hospital and flying you home to just over £6 to insure a 51-year-old holidaying for one week in Europe, you can see insurance is worth getting.

Buy a policy the moment you book your holiday

Age and medical conditions

Premiums increase with age, often doubling at age 65 and if you have a medical condition including diabetes, high-blood pressure or cancer. However, you can buy cover from specialist insurers including Holiday Extras (0800 093 1900). You must be truthful about your condition, hospital visits and any medication you’re on, otherwise the insurer might refuse to pay out on a claim.

Travelling with family

If you’re travelling as a family, be aware the premiums for group policies tend to be based on the older traveller. Ask if it would be cheaper to insure separately. But be aware if the older traveller falls ill then only they would get a payout the rest of the party wouldn’t get any help if they needed to change their plans because of it.

Remember, if you have an annual policy and your circumstances change, or you become ill, let your insurer know.

  • Top tip: Look for a policy which has at least £2m of medical cover for Europe or £5m worldwide, £1,500 baggage and personal belongings and £3,000 for cancellation or curtailment.

6 ways to pay less for cover

  1. You get what you pay for with travel insurance more than any other insurance. The cheapest policy may not cover all your needs.
  2. Check you’re not doubling up on cover. Bank accounts that charge a monthly fee often include insurance, so check with your bank.
  3. Opt for a higher excess to lower costs making sure you can afford it if you do make a claim.
  4. If you travel frequently – look into an annual multi-trip policy. Check the maximum stay per trip.
  5. If you rarely travel, a single-trip is the best option. Take a print out of the policy with you on holiday.
  6. Buying insurance for specific destinations rather than ‘worldwide’ may work out cheaper.

For more money-saving tips, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine