13 Tips To Travel Insurance For The Wise Traveller
Talking travel cover with any traveller is about as engaging as persuading a glass-eyed 21-year-old to take out a pension and write a will. “Essential, but boring”; “not needed until it’s too late”; “skip the details, how much” and the iconic “I wish (insert as you see fit)…..” all usually reverberate around the topic of travel insurance. Often, it is about the last thing to be packed into the mental suitcase of must do’s before fleeing for the airport.
However at Wise Traveller, we aim to shine a light in the darkest areas of travel topics and trip insurance is a major concern for our members. While it may not be the hottest to consider alongside sun, sea and sundowners, travel insurance gives peace of mind, is an invisible cloak that enables you to travel safely and a shadow that lurks, but only ever jumps into action when you need it most.
And usually when you need it most is when you find out whether it works or not. So here are a few tips on getting the best out of your travel insurance and ensuring the razor’s edge of small print doesn’t cut you up:
1. Where are we going?
If you’re off on your travels, make sure that your travel cover does indeed include areas that you want to travel to. We have found that some countries aren’t covered or parts of a country or region which is in conflict, such as parts of the Middle East, are not on the map of cover. Equally, make sure that if you travel to Europe, your insurer knows which part, as there are countries on the European continental shelf that are not part of the European Union, while others are considered to be in Europe. Always clarify with your insurer.
2. Going budget
Read up on the travel insurance policy and understand it fully before you leave. For example, some may well exclude delays and cancellations if you use budget airlines – leaving you out of pocket and steaming.
3. Lonely items
Leaving unattended and valuable items can actually trip you up, particularly if they are then stolen. Ask travel insurers if they will cover items of value stored in suitcases when they go through the hold at an airport and then stolen. Surprisingly, you may find they will walk away from such a claim.
4. Dangerous sports
Naked parachuting, kangaroo boxing and playing catch in a war zone aside, be quite clear on whether you will need to pay for dangerous sports and get insurers to define them. Normally, injuries from such ‘unusual activities’, such as scuba diving or skiing, will require extra travel cover.
5. How much cover?
If you’ve been sold on cheap travel insurance, then review the cover limits as you may well find they are low side or cover on personal items are ridiculous to the point that your laptop worth $2,000 is only covered for $250. Equally, don’t dismiss it that an item won’t be covered: check it out with an insurer before you fly.
6. Opt for annual cover
If you’re taking three or four business trips a year, then single travel cover is going to be expensive. So why not opt for annual, multiple trip coverage: it could well be cheaper and more flexible to your needs.
7. Lock ‘em up
Not your daughters, but the doors at your hotel room! Leaving one unlocked while you’re in the shower or enjoying a drink on the balcony, could see an insurer slip away from a claim as much as the burglar that took your valuables. Unlocked doors suggest the room is open - and the unopened window for your travel insurance cover to be thrown from.
8. Police reports
If an item is stolen or lost, then you need to get a police report or a notice from an authority to back up your claim. Don’t leave it until you get home and make a claim as your trip insurance may well not cover retrospective claims.
9. Medical claims
One of the biggest money makers for medics in most holiday hotspots is a sick traveller. And a sick traveler will no doubt be even greener when the bill lands on their hospital bed. Separate medical insurance is a possibility for travel, or at least check the constraints of your travel insurance as they may only cover trips, bumps and bruises. Declare all your pre-existing ailments. And if you get STDs, sorry, but you’re on your own as they are unlikely to be covered.
10. Get a picture
A good tip is to get a list and pictures of all your expensive items, serial numbers, for those items with them, even better. Back that up by downloading to your laptop or saving on a memory stick.
11. Cover conditions
Clarify with an insurer about cover conditions, such as your dates of travel and destinations, as well as registration of personal effects, such as mobile phones, to ensure the cover to be completely effective.
12. Valid claims
Insurers have seen all the scams, so you may as well play a valid claim by the book. Ensure you have all the necessary documentation, read the claims forms before filling them in and submit them as required. Inflated values on valuables will undermine the claim and any vagueness in a statement will be seized on. So keep it watertight.
13. Never assume
When you book a two-star hotel you will never assume that you will get a five-star. Equally, don’t assume that something maybe covered in your insurance when in reality it probably isn’t. So check and check again. Because if it ain’t in the travel insurance policy, you’re paying!
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