You wouldn’t dream of leaving to go on holiday without your passport or tickets, but a surprising number of people still travel without insurance. There are plenty of policies available, so do your homework and choose the best cover for you and your holiday.
A comprehensive policy will cover you in case of illness or if you need medical treatment while you are abroad, but it also covers unforeseen circumstances before you go. What would you do if you were made redundant before you left and wanted to cancel, or a family member were taken into hospital?
European travel insurance premiums vary, so whilst you want to get a good deal, make sure you will be covered for what you need. As a basic guide, you will probably want to cover:
Cancellation – check the small print, because it might cover cancellation in the event of a family member falling ill but not a friend.
Delay – if your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours, you should be covered for compensation. Keep receipts, and check beforehand with the airline.
Lost baggage – take out a policy that covers your luggage or personal possessions in case of loss, damage or theft. There will usually be a limit on the value of a single item, so if you are taking something of high value with you, consider taking out insurance for individual items.
Medical cover – bills add up very quickly if you are taken ill abroad, so check levels of cover, including for repatriation if you need to be flown home. It is also worth considering personal liability in case someone makes a claim against you.
European Health Insurance Card
The EHIC card entitles you to treatment in state-run hospitals within the European Union, and a few others beyond. It can be helpful in an emergency but should not be used in place of insurance. Treatment is free if it would be to residents, but there are many things they would have to pay for and you will, too. The card is free to apply for, and many insurers will waive excess fees if you are a EHIC holder.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
The best course of action with pre-existing conditions is to be up front with your insurers. The policy may not pay out if it transpires you were aware of things that weren’t declared. There are specialist policies available to cover most pre-existing conditions, though premiums are likely to reflect the risk of a claim.
Travelling to Europe in the winter often includes some risky activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Many adventure activities, like winter sports or scuba diving, will be exempt from standard policies, though there are many specialist plans out there. It is worth paying the premium for higher-risk sports so you can enjoy yourself with peace of mind.
Expect to pay an excess on most claims, and check details before you travel to avoid unpleasant surprises.