In the past, it may have seemed odd to see “global pandemic” listed as an insured event when checking your travel insurance policy. Now it’s odd to find an insurance policy that does cover global pandemics. Looking for travel insurance at the moment can be overwhelming. But with most insurers leaving you financially stranded if something Covid-related happens, going away might seem impossible altogether. While it might be worth waiting for the remaining storm to blow over, you might find that you just really need a break or that you’re having to travel abroad for work. In either case, you should feel comfortable that your insurance will have you covered, and at the moment, it’s a rare possibility.
Simply put, the insurance business is profitable because it pays out less in claims than it receives in revenue from its policies. Think about how often you’ve taken out insurance versus how often you’ve made a claim. It also works because it acts as a just-in-case cover; it’s there to protect you financially just in case something goes wrong. You’ll probably recognise from previous insurance documents that when you take out a policy, you have to agree that you have no knowledge of any reasons why you would need to make a claim. For example, you can’t take out mobile phone insurance for a phone that already has a cracked screen, with the intention of then making a claim for cracking your screen.
When Covid-19 hit, many customers will have made claims on their travel insurance for their holiday being cancelled as a result of a global pandemic. This is because these people will have taken out their travel insurance for their holiday with no knowledge or suspicion of a global pandemic taking place. Currently, we are very aware of the ongoing pandemic, and therefore if you decide to go on holiday, you are considered as having chosen to travel with the knowledge of the potential financial risks resulting from Covid-19. This is why insurance companies won’t cover you for coronavirus-related claims.
Covid-19 aside, there are still some main things you need your travel insurance to cover, namely:
You may already have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which allows you to receive free or reduced-cost medical care in any country that’s part of the European Economic Area. It’s a free card and a no-brainer if you’re intending to go abroad. However, the EHIC may only reduce medical costs, and isn’t valid everywhere, so having travel insurance with decent medical cover is vital. Medical expenses can easily enter the thousands, and in some cases even millions of pounds.
Baggage cover is fairly straightforward: should your baggage get lost or stolen, the contents will be insured up to the value agreed in your policy. It’s a good idea to make sure that your claim value equals or exceeds the value of your baggage – but you’ll also need to check what the single article limit is. The single article limit is the maximum amount the insurer will pay for each article, so if you’re planning to take an expensive phone or camera, but the single article limit is only £300, you may want to look at purchasing additional gadget insurance. A lot of insurers will expect a police report as evidence of the claim, so if you do lose any luggage, you need to file a police report wherever you are as soon as possible.
This means you can claim a refund for any part of your holiday not used if you have to cancel or cut the trip short. It’s important to note here that insurers will have expected you to request a refund through the airline, hotel or even your credit card company before making a claim with them. Your insurance company will want to be your last resort option to recover your finances, the same way getting an instant cash loan is often the last resort if your cashflow halts unexpectedly. Your reason for cancellation will also need to be valid against your policy so it’s worth comparing insurance companies to maximise your cover in case some insurers accept a wider range of circumstances.
Essentially, if you miss your flight or ferry or train for a valid reason, you can claim back the cost of your holiday. Reasons might include unexpected delays on public transport or a car breakdown on your journey. You will have had to allow reasonable time to complete your journey and you can’t make a claim if you were late due to planned engineering works or road closures, for example. Although your insurance should cover you if you do miss your departure, it’s always best to give yourself plenty of time and possibly research alternative routes before leaving the house to avoid the stress and disappointment of missing your trip.
Despite most insurances omitting Covid-19 from all policies, there are a few that still offer some sort of cover. In some cases, it may only cover added costs if you catch Covid-19 during your holiday but while the pandemic is lingering, it’s extra cover to take into consideration. It’s worth noting that some holiday providers have taken additional measures to refund or offer free change-of-date amendments to your holiday if you can no longer go due to coronavirus and these measures often far exceed anything offered by travel insurance companies. It may save you hundreds or even thousands to check what your holiday provider is offering in terms of Covid-19 cancellation cover before booking your holiday.
Ultimately, it’s not a financially safe time to go abroad at the moment. There are several risks, like quarantine costs and countries refusing entry to tourists, that make it a difficult time to go away – even if it’s for business rather than pleasure. You should seriously consider the fact that any holiday you book at the moment could be money down the drain, so don’t book anything if you can’t afford to lose the money right now. Check what the refund or date-change process is and compare several insurance policies before booking – it may even pay to go with a more expensive insurance quote if it covers you for a wider range of policies.
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