We’ve all heard the groans of caught-out passengers when a flight gets cancelled and the realisation hits: you forgot to take out insurance. Should anything go wrong on your holiday, you’ll be super glad you heeded your mum’s advice and bought a policy. At its most basic level, travel insurance will protect you against losing money - from flight delays and cancellations to lost luggage - but it’s also there for your safety. Travel medical insurance guarantees ready access to a doctor or hospital should you fall sick. At the moment, with coronavirus still prevalent across the globe, having travel insurance is more important than ever before.
Simply put, it’s better safe than sorry. Whichever country you’re travelling to, it’s important to have adequate insurance.
Treatment covered can vary between countries, and you’ll also need a separate insurance policy to protect you against cancellations, delays, lost luggage, trip interruption and more (see below).
It’s particularly important to get travel insurance if you’re planning an active holiday, where risks may be higher - it’s possible to personalise policies to cover individual sports. Though your policy might be a little more expensive, you’ll travel with total peace of mind.
There are many different components to travel insurance, and it’s worth familiarising yourself with them before selecting a policy. If you’re picking travel insurance during coronavirus, or when travel is opening up again, make medical coverage a priority. lastminute.com has a range of packages available, so you can discover one that’s right for you.
We’ve put together a list of travel-insurance benefits to look out for, and what they mean.
Cancellation coverage: You’ll be compensated for any pre-paid costs in case you are forced to cancel a trip. Your insurance company will provide a list of ‘covered reasons’ for trip cancellation (e.g. sickness). Highly recommended.
Trip interruption coverage: If your trip is interrupted (again, for one of a list of ‘covered reasons’), your policy will pay out on any incurred costs for the lost portion of your trip. Moderately recommended.
Medical expense coverage: Your provider will cover any medical costs for treatment received abroad. Highly recommended.
Emergency evacuation coverage: Should you be hurt or fall sick and need to come home for medical treatment - or be affected by an unforeseen disaster - your policy will pay for a (medically equipped) flight to bring you back. Highly recommended.
Delay coverage: If your flight is delayed, your provider will compensate you accordingly (note that you’ll often be compensated by the airline directly). Moderately recommended.
Personal belongings and money: If you lose or have your baggage or personal belongings stolen, your insurer will compensate you up to a certain limit. Moderately recommended.
Personal liability: Your insurer will cover you for any legal fees you amass abroad - for instance if you accidentally damage someone’s property (e.g. car) while on holiday. Moderately recommended.
Travel assistance services: All travel insurers will provide a 24/7 assistance number for you to call in case anything goes wrong while you’re away from home. Make sure you save this number to your phone before you travel.
While it is crucial to have a comprehensive insurance policy if you’re planning to travel (for essential reasons) during coronavirus, many insurers have stopped selling plans during the outbreak, or else excluded Covid-19 from their cover. Read the small print carefully, and contact your insurer directly if you’re still unsure. One of the few companies still selling travel insurance during the pandemic is Travelex: Covid-19 is being treated as any other illness under their policies, so you’ll be eligible for trip interruption, emergency medical/evacuation coverage should you contract coronavirus on your trip.
When travel is back on the cards, you should shop around for travel insurance in much the same way as before - choosing the best deal to suit your needs. Comprehensive medical cover should be the first thing you look for. Look closely at the fine print too, checking closely for any Covid-19 exclusions, and remember that travelling against the advice of your government is likely to invalidate your existing policy.