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Going on holiday? Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance

It can be hard to figure out if you really need it...

We’ll soon be coming into summer holiday season, and if you’ve booked a holiday, you might be thinking about travel insurance too. But do you really need it and, if so, what type do you need?

Do you already have health insurance?

If you have private health insurance, have a look at your policy before forking out for travel insurance.

Many health insurance policies will cover you for injuries or illnesses abroad, so you won’t need to get a bells and whistles travel insurance policy if this is the case.

Are you travelling within the EU?

If so, take some time to apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

This card entitles holders to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland if they become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there.

Again, this could mean that you can leave health cover off your travel insurance plan.

What kind of traveller are you?

If you generally travel once a year to a sunny destination, you’ll need different insurance to someone who travels multiple times a year to different destinations, or someone who goes on really active holidays, like skiing or surfing.

Determining your travelling style should help you to narrow down what kind of travel insurance you need, if any.

What do you want cover for?

As already mentioned, if you have health insurance, you could be covered for healthcare abroad, too - and people travelling to Europe also have the option of the EHIC.

But these things won’t cover you for holiday-specific risks, such as a loss of luggage. This may not be as important if you’re going on a weekend break and only bringing hand luggage, but could be crucial if you’re going on a long holiday.

Likewise, loss or theft of money or belongings, as well as delayed or cancelled flights or other travel plans will only be covered by specific travel insurance.

If you do need travel insurance, what kind of a policy do you need?

If you’ve reviewed all of your existing cover and decided you do need travel insurance, you’ll have a number of options in terms of what kind of policy to go for, for example:

  • Multi-trip insurance, which covers you for every trip you make over the course of a year, for a set fee;
  • Single-trip insurance, to cover a specific holiday - you may be able to buy this via your travel operator, or directly from a travel insurance provider;
  • Single trip insurance, with added cover for specific activities, such as skiing; or
  • Backpacker insurance, to cover you for longer trips through a variety of cities and countries.

If you do make several trips each year, it’s well worth considering multi-trip insurance, as it will normally work out cheaper than buying a different policy each time. And, if you already have health insurance, your health insurer may provide this kind of insurance at a discounted rate.

Meanwhile, if you’re going for single-trip insurance, remember you don’t need to buy this from your travel operator, even if it’s offered by them.

Whatever type of plan you want to go for, make sure you shop around different insurers to get the best deal, and consider the cover carefully before you sign up, so you can be certain you’re getting everything you want from the policy.

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