Top tips if you're thinking about getting holiday insurance
Holiday season is fast approaching.
After months and months of cold weather, many of us are looking towards the summer and dreaming of sunny holidays. If you are heading away, it’s possible you’ll be offered travel insurance by your airline or travel agent, or you may be thinking about taking out a policy separately. Here’s what you need to think about before signing on the dotted line…
Where are you travelling to?
If you’re going somewhere within the EU, remember that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to get healthcare through the public system in other EU countries, the EEA or Switzerland, so it’s definitely worth applying for. If you have this card, it’s possible that you could go for a pared-back travel insurance plan, which covers you for more holiday-specific incidents.
Do you already have health insurance?
Around half of Irish consumers have health insurance. If you’re one of the people who does, you should carefully review your policy before you sign up for holiday insurance.
Some health insurance policies will provide cover for injury or illness abroad, and if your policy is like this, again you may not need a really elaborate travel insurance policy.
What kind of cover do you need?
When you’ve taken into account the EHIC and your own health insurance - if you have any - you should then start to think about the kind of cover you need. It’s important to consider:
- whether this will be your only holiday abroad this year;
- how long you’re going away for; and
- if you’ll be undertaking any activities that would be considered ‘high risk’, like skiing.
Think about the kind of risks you’ll need cover for, such as lost luggage, which could be invaluable if you’re going on a long trip. You’ll probably also want cover for delayed/cancelled flights and theft of belonging and/or money.
What sort of policies are available?
Once you’ve decided to go for travel insurance, and considered all of the issues we’ve gone through above, you’ll just need to decide on the policy that suits you best. Some of the options will be:
- Single-trip insurance, which will work if this is your only trip abroad for the year.
- Multi-trip insurance, which covers you for all of your trips taken in a set time period - usually 1-2 years. This will suit you if you plan on taking a couple of holidays abroad in a relatively short space of time and will generally work out to be more cost-effective than buying separate policies each time.
- Sports travel insurance, which usually covers a single trip, during which you plan to go skiing etc.
- An extended stay policy which will be good for anyone going on a really long trip, for example a backpacking holiday.
You should shop around and compare all deals carefully before signing up to one - don’t forget that you don’t need to add on the insurance offered by your airline or travel agent and are free to buy a deal separately if it works out better for you.
And remember, if you already have health insurance and your insurer also offers travel insurance, you may be able to get a discount, so it’s worth checking this out.