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Why do I need travel insurance on holiday?

Right now might not be the best time to be booking a holiday. After all, there is no guarantee that Covid-19 will be eradicated by the time your holiday departure date arrives. However, dreaming of holidays you can take once the pandemic is over might be all that’s getting you through the current turmoil. Because we know you already consider a range of things when researching a holiday, we thought we’d put together an easy-to-read guide about why travel insurance is so important.

It can be a factor that you simply forget – or intentionally avoid – especially if holidaying in the UK. However, travel insurance could save you heaps of cash if something goes wrong with your holiday.

Definition of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is an optional cover you might take out before you go on holiday to help protect yourself against potential financial losses incurred by delayed flights, overbooked hotels or even medical bills.

An optional insurance policy means you aren’t required by law to have this type of cover, unlike car insurance, for example, which is compulsory. Although travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement, it’s almost always advised and often isn’t a hefty additional holiday cost.

Benefits of Travel Insurance

The benefits of having travel insurance when you go on holiday are ultimately that you’ll save a lot of money if something goes wrong. But there are specific benefits:

Holiday-Specific Travel Insurance

Most holidays consist of transport and hotels, and then day to day sightseeing or sunbathing on a beach. Standard travel insurance will usually suffice for this kind of holiday as you are unlikely to undertake any additional activities which insurance companies will deem ‘dangerous’. However, some types of holidays like skiing or snowboarding do require specific insurance so you must do your research before taking out the first or cheapest quote you find.

You can search for ‘winter sports insurance’ or ‘adventure and activity insurance’ which is specially designed to cover you in case of accident or injury while partaking in sporting activities. It’s important you take out the right insurance for your trip because insurers will not pay-out for losses incurred during activities that fall outside of your policy.

For example, winter sports insurance will have a particularly high medical bill cover (usually in the millions) because you are more likely to incur high medical bills if you injure yourself while skiing, compared to if you are wandering around an old town square. If you take out normal travel insurance when you go skiing and you do have an accident, you’ll be left to cover the costs. Plus, if your medical bills exceed the amount you’re insured for, you will have to cover the rest and it could become VERY expensive.

Where can I find travel insurance?

There are several places that offer travel insurance and most can be found online. We would always suggest using a travel insurance comparison site to get a rough idea of how much your policy will cost. From there, you can compare quotes and configure the specific cover to suit your holiday and your needs – for example, if you are taking a particularly expensive camera with you, you may need to increase your gadget cover.

Other places to find travel insurance include travel agents (where you can also book a holiday), banks, supermarkets and retailers. If you have a credit card with a bank or retailer, you might find you get a better exchange rate or packaged travel insurance included, so always check this first as you won’t need two insurance policies.

Things to Note

If you do have an accident while on holiday or something gets stolen, you must follow certain procedures in order to claim on your insurance. Read your policy before you sign the dotted line to make sure you understand the procedures for making a claim. If an item is stolen abroad, you will usually need a police report, so going to the local police station as soon as possible is a must. Similarly, if you incur medical bills while on holiday, you may need to contact your insurer or provide your policy before they can treat you, so make sure your policy is handy (either printed or saved in your phone). Some hospitals may require payment before they can operate, so if you have a credit card, it might be worth taking this with you in case of emergency. Finally, make sure someone knows that you have gone on holiday and when you are due to return, even if just to check up on your return home or feed your cat while you’re away.

More Information

Five reasons you should start saving

How to survive the holidays on a budget

A guide to managing your money: Top Money Management Tips

Check out the Polar Credit Info Hub for more financial tips and credit guides.