It’s the height of summer, temperatures are rising across the land and the kids are off school. For millions of people that means it’s time to head abroad for a holiday.
The news has been a bit grim for travelers recently, with flight cancellations, airports reducing capacity and staffing issues leading to long queues. So it’s never been more important to have a good insurance policy.
Of course, it’s not just strikes and pandemics you need to check your insurance for. Here are my top travel insurance tips to ensure you’re covered for a great trip.
Strikes and cancellations
By far the biggest worry for holidaymakers is what to do if your flight is cancelled. The good news is flights cancelled by airlines will mean you are entitled to compensation. You can read how to claim in my guide here. However, strikes by airport staff or air traffic controllers are not covered by this law.
If you’ve already signed up to a travel policy that doesn’t have strike cover, see if you can upgrade or find a more comprehensive policy. You can make a complaint if you don’t feel that the original policy restrictions about strikes were made clear. If you cancel one policy to buy another, bear in mind there may be a short period when the policy starts during which you can’t make a claim. So don’t switch last-minute – some cover is better than no cover.
If you’re planning on doing something wild on holiday, make sure you’ve taken out adventure sports (or later in the year, Winter sports) insurance alongside your policy.
This add-on insurance covers you for a range of things on a scale of risk, like bungee jumping, sky dives, quad bike riding and even horse riding. A considerable number of people fall of bikes while on holiday (motor or pedal) so check you’re covered.
Lots of people are surprised to discover that even more sedate things, like moderate hiking, might require extra cover. It’s not that expensive to add this vital cover to your existing insurance policy, so it might be worth if you decide to have a spontaneous adventure.
There are times when you might need to come home from holiday early after a family event at home, or an injury abroad. This is covered in your policy as ‘curtailment’. Check what your policy covers you for (replacing airline tickets, getting you to the airport, transporting you to your home). If you break a limb, you might find you have to wait for a flight that can accommodate you or your policy might not cover a friend or family member’s costs to stay with you – so read this section thoroughly.
How much are the contents of your bag worth? The value of the things we carry with us – from phones to laptops – has increased dramatically. You may have upwards of £3,000 of gadgets in your bag, before you add on cash and jewelry.
Most policies only have limited payouts for personal possessions, and you’ll usually have to pay an extra premium to extend this before you travel. Think carefully about what you take away with you and if you need all that tech. Make sure you use a safe if the hotel has one – most insurance policies will require you to do this.
Check the key facts
Insurance policies come with ‘key facts’ booklets or downloadable documents. If you can’t face pouring over 170+ pages of terms and conditions then this booklet will tell you the key things you need to know. This will include the maximum payment limits that the policy will pay out for different types of claim, the excess fees that you have to pay towards a claim and key things that are/aren’t covered.
Above all else, if you’re worried you and your family might not be protected for certain eventualities or situations, call the insurer and ask them. You might be able to upgrade or adapt your policy so you have peace of mind when you travel.
Martyn James is a leading consumer rights campaigner, TV and radio broadcaster and journalist.