Holidaymakers with pre-existing health conditions looking to travel abroad are being advised by The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Association of British Insurers (ABI) to ensure they are properly insured. The advice includes researching the right insurance options, understanding the potential cost of not being adequately insured and giving a detailed and accurate medical history to insurers.
A medical emergency abroad can be extremely expensive if the traveller is not adequately insured for pre-existing conditions. By taking out the right travel insurance, the cost of emergency medical treatment should be covered if they become ill or are injured abroad.
Travel insurance buying tips
- shop around to find a good price and the right product rather than opting to travel without cover
- cheaper policies will usually have less cover – for some the price seems most important, but is it worth the initial saving?
- consider annual multi-trip insurance if you make several trips a year – you’ll save time and money
- if travelling within the European Economic Area you will need an EHIC as well as travel insurance – apply for your free EHIC
What your travel insurance policy should cover
- medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance
- personal liability cover in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property
- lost and stolen possessions cover
- cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover
- extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as jet skiing
The policy should cover the whole time that you’re away. Multi-trip policies may specify a maximum number of days’ travel.
Common travel insurance policy exclusions
- most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents
- 60% of travel insurance policies now cover terrorism. Where possible, ensure that your policy does not exclude terrorism
- you must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you
Types of foreign travel insurance
Personal liability insurance
If you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property they may sue you. Good travel insurance will cover you for personal liability.
Personal accident cover – disability and death
Travel insurance can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability or death.
Cover for stolen, lost or damaged possessions
Limits for single items such as cameras and jewellery can vary from as little as £250 up to £1000 or more. Check these limits are adequate and realistic. You should report a loss to the Police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will be required when you make your claim.
All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times. If you don’t, the policy may not pay out.
Take as much care of your property as if it were uninsured.
Lost baggage on flights
Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage. By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage. This is unlikely to cover the full value of your things.
Legal expenses cover
Taking out legal expenses cover will help you to pursue compensation or damages following personal injury while you’re abroad – very important in countries without a legal aid system.