When it comes to planning a holiday, most of us are concerned with whether or not the hotel has a pool or how many outfits to pack – and rightly so! But, there’s one essential component that you must have sorted before you leave home, and that’s travel insurance. A good travel insurance policy can be a huge financial help if disaster such as a medical emergency strikes on your holiday.
We’ve all heard horror stories of Brits who’ve had accidents abroad and are left to crowdfund to pay for treatment and return home. Even a minor accident can cost thousands depending on what country you’re visiting (leaving you longing for our free NHS healthcare).
Whether you’re off on a lads holiday, hen party or even a family break, the last thing you want is being unable to access treatment or facing a huge bill when you could have spent just a few minutes sorting out some insurance. The good news is that unlike car or home insurance, travel insurance doesn’t have to cost the earth (even if you’re travelling around it!). With the help of Nimblefins, who conducted research on cost of travel insurance in 2019, here are 5 IDEAL ways to save money on travel insurance:
CHECK IF YOU’RE ALREADY COVERED
Before you rush out and buy travel insurance, first check to see if you’re already covered. Many high street banks and some credit cards offer free travel insurance to customers (sometimes only for those with a premium account) or travel insurance as an extra, for just a small monthly fee.
Here are some bank accounts which offer travel insurance for free or a small fee: Lloyds Bank (Platinum Account), Barclays (travel pack add-on), NatWest (Reward Platinum and Reward Black accounts for worldwide cover, Reward Silver accounts for European trips), Halifax (Ultimate Reward Current Account) and HSBC (Premium).
If you own a credit card or bank with anyone else, it’s still worth checking as some types of accounts that are no longer open to new customers still provide travel cover to existing account holders (the M&S Premium Current Account with travel insurance, for instance). Pop into your branch or give your bank a call to see if you’re covered. Some banks will also allow you to upgrade your account in order to get free travel insurance.
SORT OT OUT AHEAD OF TIME
Just like booking your holiday, you’re likely to get a better deal if you buy ahead and don’t leave decisions to the last minute. Not only will you have more time to find a lower price, but you’ll have time to research to find the ideal travel insurance policy for your particular needs. This is especially important if you’re booking a longer trip (usually over 30 days), have any pre-existing medical conditions or are planning to ski or engage in another ‘risky” activity (paragliding from Babadağ Mountain in Fethiye, Turkey, anyone?)
Waiting until your bags are packed to buy travel insurance means you’re more likely to pay too much for a plan, for instance by inadvertently buying higher coverage limits than you need. Let’s face it, you don’t need £10,000 of cancellation cover if your trips only costs £3,000. Plus, buying last minute doesn’t give you time to give a quick read through the policy details to make sure you know what’s covered; some plans include gadget cover, many don’t. So, do yourself a favour and give yourself enough time to book some decent cover.
USE COMPARISON SITES
Just like car, home and mobile insurance, you can also book travel insurance through comparison sites. This makes things so much easier than having to trawl through loads of different websites when you could be sorting your holiday wardrobe instead.
Compare The Market is a great one, but there are many reliable, useful platforms to choose from. The great thing is that these sites clearly list what level of cover you’re getting and what’s included before you sign up. To save even more money, remember to order the results according to the ‘lowest price first’. Grab yourself a deal and rest easy knowing that you’re covered for eventualities from breaking your phone (if your policy covers it) to, well… breaking your leg.
CONSIDER GETTING ANNUAL MULTI-TRIP INSURANCE
If you’re lucky enough to be going on holiday more than once in the next year, consider buying an annual multi-trip insurance policy instead of a policy covering only one trip. Annual, multi-trip policies cover you for an entire 12 months and can include cover for things such as cancellation cover, baggage, personal belongings, emergency dental treatment, personal money, passports, accommodation and airline failure.
An annual policy is definitely the option to go for if you want to buy travel insurance once a year and forget about it, knowing you’re covered. And while an annual policy typically costs almost twice as much as a single trip policy (worldwide travel insurance cover costs around £21 for an annual multi-trip policy or £12.80 for single trip cover), annual cover can end up cheaper if you take two or more trips a year.
KEEP AN EYE ON INSURANCE EXCESS
It’s easy to go for the very cheapest deal, but make sure it genuinely is by avoiding any nasty excesses. Say you trip and fall down the hotel stairs breaking your ankle and also smashing your phone. You would need to claim under both the medical and personal belongings section of your insurance. If your policy has an excess it will typically apply to BOTH claims, so the overall amount you get back from the insurance company will be reduced by twice the excess.
Before you book your travel insurance check the excess as it might be worth paying just a couple of quid more for policy with a lower excess, so that if anything happens to you or your property you will receive more compensation.
Top tip: Print your travel insurance details out before you go, and let others on the trip know who your policy is with and where you are storing your paperwork. That way if there’s an emergency there won’t be a delay in accessing treatment.