Saving Money on Travel Insurance: Important Do’s and Don’ts
By Simon Duncan on February 7, 2019
People don’t tend to relish buying travel insurance. The fact that many travellers have never had to make a claim on a policy leads to questions about whether it is worth it.
Then you think about what might happen if you missed your flight or had to cancel last minute. Or, even more persuasive, the fact that it is far from unheard of for the cost of medical treatment abroad to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Knowing that, without travel insurance, you’d be liable to pay these costs and quite possibly be heading for financial ruin is enough to get most people buying a policy, albeit grudgingly.
Given the fact that claims are not made on the overwhelming majority policies, travel insurance is something most travellers look to spend as little as possible on. Any ways to shave a few quid off are very much welcome.
There is nothing wrong with this at all, and there are numerous clever tips for saving money on a travel policy. At the same time, some of the money-saving tactics people employ are definitely not recommended and could lead to all sorts of unwanted complications.
Here’s a run down of some key do’s and don’ts.
- Consider annual holiday insurance. If you travel regularly, a year-long policy that covers you for all trips is almost guaranteed to cost less than buying insurance for each journey individually.
- Check the details about what different policies cover you for, and only pay for the cover you absolutely need. For example, if a policy says it provides up to £2000 protection for lost luggage, but you are only taking away a small hold-all with a few spare clothes, is this something you really need? You could save money by finding a policy offering a lower level of luggage cover.
- Shop around. Travel insurance is a huge industry and there are policies available for every possible requirement. While it might seem easy to go with the first one you find on an internet search, you could end up paying more than you need to.
- Automatically accept the policy offered by your travel agent, airline or booking website. Travel insurance is viewed as an ideal ‘added value’ extra for travel companies of all types to offer to their customers and they rely on people liking the convenience of not having to do any work themselves to sell policies. But they are not offering insurance out of the goodness of the hearts – they will have a nice little mark-up on the policy, or may be working on a commission basis in partnership with a broker. Either way, the cover they offer is unlikely to be the best value available.
- Duck out of optional extras that you need. The standout example here is people who go on a skiing holiday but don’t want pay for the optional extra winter sports cover. When they break a leg on the piste and end up in hospital, they get an even nastier surprise – they aren’t covered for the medical expenses. Any high-risk activity like skiing or kite surfing or bungee jumping will not be covered by standard travel insurance medical cover, so you must buy the add-ons if you plan to do any of those things. Likewise, if you have a medical condition, you must seek specialist cover. Simply having a condition you haven’t declared can be enough to invalidate your whole policy.