Travel Insurance exceptions

Unless you’re in training for the 2010 winter Olympics in Canada then it’s unlikely your travel insurance will need to include cover for ski jumping, but this is just one of the many sports and activities that if you read the small print you won’t be covered for.

We’re always being told to read the small print but few of us ever do. The problem is, aerial acrobatics excluded, many of the things we assume we’ll be covered for aren’t in fact on the policy.

There are around 360 policies on the market so there’s no shortage of choice. Getting a policy which fits your trip is however a bit more difficult.

Over the coming weeks thousands of British youngsters will be hitting the Mediterranean for a week of sun, sand and drink. Few of them realise however that any accidents or damage they cause while under the influence will not necessarily be covered by their insurers.

It used to be that you simply had to state whether you were going to need cover for winter sports but with the increase in sports and adventure holidays many of us are looking to insure ourselves against potentially dangerous activities.

Some general insurers will refuse to cover you for activities such as bungee jumping or potholing, so if you’re a real adrenaline junkie then it’s worth considering a specialist sports insurer. They are likely to be a bit more expensive than your average insurer but at least you’ll get the peace of mind you will need when you’re about to jump off a bridge with just a small piece of elastic between you and the floor. If you’re worried about your policy then it’s best just to write to your insurer explaining what the trip is going to involve and they’ll be able to give you a definitive answer.

If you are over 60 then it can be more difficult to get insurance. If you are in your retirement years however, don’t worry, there’s more on offer than just SAGA. There are around 40 policies available to people into their 80s.

Theft is another major cause of insurance claims, and again it’s worth checking your terms and conditions. If you leave anything valuable in the glove box and your rental car gets broken into then some insurers will not pay out unless you specifically locked the glove box too.

It’s not just the extent of your cover that you need to check. If you cancel your trip then the average excess cost will still be £55. There are only 10 policies on the market which won’t charge you anything.

We always wait nervously for bags to arrive at the airport carousel, and if the worst should happen, you want to know that you are going to be reimbursed for the loss of your luggage. There are however 30 policies out there which will not pay out at all for the loss of baggage, while most will normally reimburse you about £1500. If you are transporting the family silver then make sure you go for one of the top end policies which can pay out around £2500.

If once you get your policy you find that you’re not happy with the terms and conditions you will almost always be able to cancel. If you cancel within two weeks then most insurers will provide you with a full refund.

The key to getting the best deal, as with most financial products, is taking the time to find out what’s on offer. Spending a couple of hours scanning the market could save you thousands of pounds if anything goes wrong, enjoy your holidays…

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