How to choose the best travel insurance policy

With so many types of travel insurance and levels of cover to choose from, it’s difficult to know which is best. Here’s how to find the right cover for your trip.

What is the best travel insurance?

There isn’t one travel insurance provider or policy that’s best.

What’s best for one person may not be best for you. You need to find a policy that’s the right fit for your trip and individual needs.

What type of policy do you need?

You’ll need to consider things like:

  • Who the cover is for: If it’s not just for you, compare the cost of a joint or family policy against individual policies, as having everyone on the same policy is often cheaper. If you’re over 65, here’s how to get travel insurance when you’re older and if you’re planning a gap year, find out more about backpacker insurance.
  • Where you’re going: Research the country you’re visiting to work out the cover you need. For example, if you’re visiting the USA, don’t scrimp on medical expenses and repatriation cover as a hospital stay could set you back thousands of euro.
  • How often you’ll travel: If you’re just having one holiday then a single trip policy is best but if you’re making three or more trips a year, an annual policy will be cheaper. Find out more about the differences between single trip and annual travel insurance.
  • How long you’ll be away: Single trip and annual or multi trip policies usually set a maximum duration of 30 to 60 days per trip. If you’re going away for longer backpacker insurance offers cover for up to two years.
  • What activities you’ll be doing: If you’re looking to do any high risk activities like skiing or bungee jumping you may need specialist cover. Always check what each policy covers before you buy.
  • What you need to take: If you can’t bear to leave your gadgets behind, check that the baggage claim limit covers the cost of your personal items if they’re lost or stolen.

What level of cover do you need?

Firstly, check what your home insurance and private health insurance policies already cover you for and whether you have travel insurance through your credit card or current account. If so, make sure it offers enough cover for your trip.

Most insurers offer three levels of cover for each type of policy, ranging from basic which is the cheapest, to premium which is the most expensive.

Premium policies offer higher cover limits and they tend to cover you for more things.

Don’t scrimp on essentials like medical expenses but don’t pay extra for cover you don’t need.

For example, a premium policy often includes cover for winter sports which is of no use to you if you’re going on a sunny holiday to Spain.

Choose the right level of excess

The excess is the amount you agree to pay towards a claim so the higher the excess, the cheaper the policy is likely to be. A basic level policy may have an excess of around €150 which is the amount you’d have to pay against most claims.

Some premium travel insurance policies offer zero excess, so you won’t have to pay anything if you make a claim. Paying a few more euro upfront for a premium policy could save you money if you had to make a claim.

Look at the policy as a whole, not just the excess, to make sure it offers the cover you need.

How do you find the best policy?

Once you’ve worked out what type of policy to get and the things you need cover for, it’s time to shop around.

  • Compare quotes online: Get quotes from several travel insurance companies to find the cheapest deal for your needs.
  • Read the policy wording: Don’t rely on a list of features, check the full policy document for any hidden exclusions.
  • Book online: Take advantage of discount codes that pop up while you’re getting quotes.

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