BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
The holidays are truly upon us. Assuming you have the time and the money you could “plan an epic summer holiday with Discover Ireland”, arrange a “summer sun package” with the myriad of offers online, travel to the far ends of the world “at unbeatable prices”, visiting St Lucia, the Maldives or Aruba at a fairly reasonable cost.
In all the excitement and planning many people forget the most important item for a stress-free holiday – travel insurance.
You will notice that nearly all the travel and airline booking sites try to urge holidaymakers to buy travel insurance with them at the time of booking and for many it’s ‘no’ – as in ‘not with you’ – finish the booking and, in the glow of the upcoming trip, completely forget to put the insurance in place.
For a small outlay in comparison with the holiday costs, you can protect you and yours from untold misery. Travel insurance is the one item that should be an essential part of any trip and so many either forget until its too late or decide to be their own insurer and hold the ‘risk’ themselves.
Did you know that one in three travel claims arise from holiday cancellations, with medical expenses a close second? According to new figures from Peopl Insurance, almost one in three of the travel insurance claims made in the last two-and-a-half years have arisen on foot of holiday cancellations and are made before the policy holder even took to the skies or seas. Choosing a travel insurance policy with good medical cover is essential as medical expenses in some countries could run into the tens of thousands, or more.
Commenting on the figures, Paul Walsh, CEO of Peopl Insurance, said: “Our figures show that it is essential for holidaymakers to take their cover out at the time of booking their holiday. Holidaymakers who only take out travel insurance a week or two before they travel – or, worse again, by doing so on the way… are leaving a major benefit of their travel insurance behind, thereby limiting the benefit of their holiday cancellation cover”.
Peopl Insurance set out some key considerations that you need to look at in a travel insurance policy as ‘cheap and cheerful’ is not always the best:
Trip Cancellation Cover: Check what exactly cancellation cover means on your policy. Mr Walsh explained: “Having cancellation cover in place does not necessarily mean you are covered for any and all events that might lead to the cancellation of your trip. For example, an overly cheap policy may not cover delayed and missed departures – which is a basic feature of standard policies.”
Excess: Watch out for the excess level on the policy. Excess is the amount deducted from each claim, prior to a claim being paid. For example, the excess for lost baggage in many cases, and the amount paid by the insurer may be very close, resulting in you getting very little back, in the event of a claim. It’s important to make sure you can afford the excess limit you set as you will need to cover this in the event of a claim.
Medical Costs: All policyholders should make sure they know to what extent doctors and hospital fees will be covered in the event they become ill or are injured while on holiday. Make sure you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions to the insurer, it may cost you extra but its well worth it, otherwise you run the risk of the policy being invalid and the claim not paid.
Belongings: Check that any items you will have in your possession are covered, particularly if they you are bringing any expensive items such as jewellery, laptops and smartphones.
Though we all want to put the pandemic behind us, Covid is still in our midst so it’s worth noting that a number of travel insurance policies available in Ireland today will cover you if a holiday has to be cancelled because a travelling companion – or any person you had arranged to stay with during your trip – has been diagnosed with Covid.
It’s important to check the small print in your policy and be aware of all other circumstances where cancellation cover will, or will not, apply. Happy travelling.
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