MARCH 2016 – Travel Insurance

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Many people have a fixation on price as the determining factor when choosing travel insurance. But there is a substantial difference between policies in terms of coverage, the level of excesses and what cover is available only as an optional extra.

BUSINESS travel is not covered by 25pc of annual policies and is an optional extra for 28pc of them. Cover is standard with 47pc of annual policies.

SEPARATION A third of annual policies won’t provide cover for your children (or stepchildren) if they don’t live with you.

CHILDREN travelling independently are not covered by half of all annual policies and other insurers are likely to regard children as travelling independently even if one parent puts them on a plane and the other collects them when they get off. They insist that children are accompanied by a responsible adult for the whole journey.

WINTER sports bills for medical treatment abroad can be huge, despite this, a fifth of skiers don’t bother with insurance at all, while only a third of those who do buy a policy check that it covers them for winter sports. Just 30pc of annual travel policies include winter sports cover as standard, while 63pc offer it as an optional extra and 7pc don’t include it at all. Check the terms carefully. Some exclude off-piste skiing altogether,others insist that you have a guide, for example. Many policies restrict the amount of skiing you can do within the year.

AIRLINE failure is covered by just 34pc of annual policies pro-vide this cover as standard, while it is an optional extra for 4pc of annual policies; 62pc don’t provide cover at all. However,the elaborate bonding scheme does not cover most ticket-only air fares you buy direct from an air-line.

EXCESS limits on your insurance can vary widely according from one insurer to another. Some charge no excess at all, but others charge as much as €500 of a claim before you receive a penny from your insurance. With medical expenses the average excess is €85, with a range of zero to €600. For cancellation, the average excess is €80, with individual insurers charging anything from nothing to €300.
For loss of deposit is the average is €40 and maximum €300; the equivalent figures are €80
(maximum €250) for lost baggage, €10 (maxi-mum €120) for delayed baggage and €80 (maxi-mum €420) for legal expenses.

AGE Three quarters of annual policies have a maximum age of 75 years or less, and 27pc have a maximum age of 65 or less. It is essential that any pre-existing medical conditions are declared to the relevant provider as failing to do so could invalidate the policy.” Cover might al-ready be there from your bank as part of your cur-rent account. Although “packaged accounts” are much maligned, they can offer the elderly a cheap way to get travel cover. Even where insurers did not have maximum age limits, premiums are often so high as to be un-affordable. One policy has a maximum age of just 34.

LENGTH of holiday is important. Some policies allow you to be overseas for a maximum of 17 consecutive days, 45pc of annual policies limited trip coverage to 31 days abroad while others will cover you even if you are abroad every day of the year.

BREAKING the journey could invalidate your insurance, if you have a backpacker policy but need to come home for a few days, some insurers won’t cover you when you resume your travels. Coverage will automatically cease for 57pc of backpacker policies, regardless of whether or not you in-tend to resume their travels abroad.

PETS If your return from holiday is delayed, will your travel insurance cover the cost of an extended stay in kennels for your pets? Forty-six per cent of policies pro-vide such cover,with limits typically varying from €50 to €750.

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