With summer approaching, the mood rising across the UK, and the sun finally emerging from its 6 month hibernation, it can be argued that the holiday season for 2014 has officially begun. A basic tenet of the holiday season is travelling, and there are hundreds of thousands of readers who will aspire to leave the shores of the UK this spring or summer.
Whilst most minds will likely be on bookings, passports and new clothes, an important and often understated factor to consider when going travelling is the acquisition of travel insurance. It is important to note here that travel insurance is not for all holidaymakers, and if you are going on a short break with family, or to places within Europe, then it is likely that it is not worth the money.
However, if you intend to travel to places such in the world such as on the Asian, African, South American and Oceanic continents, or simply plan to go away for a period of over a month, then you should be aware that there are a number of benefits that travel insurance come along with that could be severely useful to you over the course of your trip.
Much like every insurance policy, it is essential that you clearly look at all the policy documents and are aware of their content before taking out cover, as there is a multitude of different types of travel insurance that you can acquire. Whilst some policies combine different elements of insurance, it is still worth looking at the contractual document, so that you know you are paying for something that is useful to you.
For example, if you ascertain that you are a particularly active and sporting person who will spend most of their time abroad outside, then acquiring emergency medical and accident cover would be the right course of action to pursue, as it will ensure that you will be looked after properly in the case of an accident. Similarly, if you are on your first travelling trip alone, or are going to a country with a high crime rate, then getting personal belongings cover should be considered, as it will give you peace of mind when travelling.
The following are the main types of insurance that can be taken out for travellers, and it is worth looking around the market to find the right cover for you, that reflects the place you are going to and your own unique set of circumstances.
Perhaps the most common function that travel insurance is taken out for is covering medical costs that you may be forced to pay if you fall ill, or require attention whilst travelling. Whilst some people simply pursue travel insurance for peace of mind, most are fully aware of the huge costs that come with medical expenses in countries that do not have a free medical service. Particularly in places within Asia and South America, but also within the USA, medical costs can rack up to thousands of pounds for simple treatment, but having travel insurance means you are covered for these expenses and can travel to the most obscure locations in the confidence that you are insured should anything unfortunate happen to you.
Medical insurance premiums can range from including emergency assistance, which involves covering all travel expenses in a foreign hospital, and emergency treatment, that will cover the costs of any medical servicing you require due to accident or illness.
Some forms of medical insurance also cover you for emergency dental services, though this will often be for a far smaller amount than your emergency medical service. Hospital benefits are another feature that are sometimes included, whilst some even have a burial and cremation clause attached to them which will cover expenses should you die whilst away.
The medical expenses covered range from illness to accidents, and with both highly plausible in different climates, it is highly advised that you take out travel insurance if you are travelling for an extended period of time, or to a county that you know does not have a free health service.
Cancellation cover essentially enables you to recover all or some of the costs of your holiday, if you are forced to bring a premature end to your holiday. This usually covers things that you have paid a deposit for, such as flights or with hotels, and mean that if you suddenly fall ill or have an accident on the eve of your holiday, then you can recover some of the money through your insurance. Similarly, if you are forced back to the UK due to a family bereavement, or fall ill during your holiday, you can use the insurance in order to recover money that is otherwise impossible to obtain.
It is important to remember that different providers have varying reasons that constitute as valid for compensation, so look at the small print on your insurance contract so that you are fully aware that you are obtaining what you were actually looking for when taking out cover of this kind. You can often be insured for as much as £5,000, and it is advised that only people with more expensive and long spanning holiday plans consider this type of cover, as it is far more financially beneficial.
Personal belongings/baggage protection
One of the most sought after types of travel insurance is baggage and personal belongings cover, which as it sounds, compensates you up to a certain amount should your bank card, money, clothing or any other items go missing. There is typically an upper limit then you can claim for with each item, whilst there may also be a collective limit that you can claim for all of your belongings as well. This limit will also be placed on the maximum amount you can be compensated for lost or stolen cash, and there may be a separate cover limit assigned to your most expensive belongings such as jewellery and certain electronics.
Whilst obviously a feature that everyone would hope would not be necessary to claim with, certain travel insurance packages come with a degree of life cover, should you by chance die whilst on holiday. This will usually take the form of your family receiving quite a large pay off, should you die, which can be as high as tens of thousands.
You can also require legal cover and liability protection, which will cover the costs of any damage you may do in a foreign country, or the legal charges that may come if you are find yourself in trouble in the future.
Things to remember
As has been displayed, even the most conventional of travel insurance policies have a great deal to offer for any holidaymakers, and should cover any problems that may face a traveller whilst they are away. The covers described above are all forms of standard over, and it is worth noting that there are specialist and custom policies that can cover you for other things. Moreover, you can change the level of cover with different policies, so that one may cover you for more medically, whilst another may focus on personal belonging compensation. It is always worth remembering that travel policies vary substantially in nature, and as such it is worth looking round the market, so that you can find the best cover for you personally. Moreover, always remember to read the small print on contracts, as you should be aware of the costs and conditions that come with your cover, as you do not want to pay for insurance and then find that you do not qualify for compensation under the terms of your cover, as your misfortune does not adhere to its terms and conditions. Ensuring this will make sure you acquire the optimum cover for your circumstances.
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