Travel Insurance - Essential in Every Case
Every traveller must make certain that they have suitable insurance and most tour operators insist on proof of adequate cover before they confirm a booking. Make certain that you get cover as soon as you make the booking. This year we have had many complaints from people who booked well in advance and were upset that the travel company would not give a refund when they could not take the holiday. Problems ranged from 'I got pregnant' (no one from the travel company involved) to 'we could not get anyone to look after Grandad. The person who said they would do it pulled out'. The travel agent will not take responsibility in such cases, but a good insurer just might.
Where to Buy: You do not have to buy your insurance from the travel agent from whom you purchase their holiday. You will be under pressure to do so as the travel agency staff receive a good rate of commission (up to 40%) on all insurance sales. However, there are a host of companies active in the travel insurance market and there are likely to be better deals available. A big problem is insurance for those over the nominal age limit of 65 years, above which age many companies will not provide insurance. This will eventually change as more and more of the travelling public, and significantly those with the wealth and time to travel, become an ever growing part of the population. To meet this demand, certain banks now offer premium current accounts that provide annual travel cover as part of the package. In many cases his is the least expensive insurance the elderly will get.
Single trip or Annual: Travel insurance is a very specialised market and it is essential that you make certain the cover meets your needs. One can opt for single trip insurance or annual cover, but if the latter is chosen , it is essential to make certain that the cover allows periods of travel that are acceptable to you. Some policies restrict cover to 30 days in any one trip.
Medical Cover: Probably the single most important element of any travel insurance policy is the Medical cover. This provides for treatment at the destination and the cost of being flown home by air ambulance should this be necessary. The cost of air ambulance repatriation is very very high and it is not a cost that any traveller would wish to bear from their own resources!
Read & Understand the Policy: It is essential to read and understand the action to be taken in the event of a medical emergency in resort. This will almost always include informing the tour operator's representative and contacting the insurance companies dedicated helpline specified in the policy. Failure to take this action could certainly result in the refusal of the insurers to meet the claim, or at best abate it by a percentage. When you travel, make certain you have the policy document with you and that you know what action you must take in the event of an emergency. When the emergency occurs is not the time to be reading through the insurance document trying to decide what to do next! Leave a copy with a close relative. If something serious happens to you, the details of the policy will be essential to them if they are to take action on your behalf.
Extent of Cover: It is also crucial to understand what the medical insurance covers. !t frequently excludes hazardous pursuits, such as skiing, parachute jumping, white-water rafting etc. Read the small print and be certain that the cover you buy meets your requirements in these respects.
Other Elements: Other essential elements include cover for baggage and personal belongings, delays, cancellation of the holiday and personal accident. Booking by credit card currently gives a measure of protection if the tour operator fails or the holiday is cancelled, but travellers are often under the misapprehension that this is 'travel insurance'. It most certainly is not. Check your household contents policy; very often this will cover loss or damage to personal property under certain circumstances.
Another good link for insurance for the elderly: www.seniorsnetwork.co.uk