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14 Aug 2022

6 travel insurance pitfalls to avoid – according to an expert

6 travel insurance pitfalls to avoid – according to an expert

Sun, sea and a well-earned break may be at the front of mind when it comes to holidays and travel this summer. But with budgets stretched, travel insurance may be something people are less keen to consider.

In fact, a third of people say they would consider travelling without travel insurance in order to save money, according to research from Sainsbury’s Bank.

This may well turn out to be a costly mistake, however.

Travel insurance claims can quickly run into thousands of pounds for more serious claims, such as for an accident overseas. Plus, the average claim value is nearly £500 – a significant bill to be stung with.

To help holidaymakers get the most out of their travel insurance choices, Simon Taylor, director of travel money at Sainsbury’s Bank, highlights six pitfalls to avoid…

1. Skipping over the small print

“It’s so important to check what’s included in your cover. Covid cover, for example, will more than likely be included as standard nowadays, but it’s important to read the product terms and conditions and ensure you don’t have to add it on separately,” says Taylor.

“Don’t forget that most travel insurance policies typically cover a wide range of situations – not just medical emergencies or cancellations but tech mishaps. It’s not just broken bones, but broken phones as well.”

2. Leaving insurance until the last minute

One in 10 people wait until a week before their trip to sort insurance, the research by Sainsbury’s Bank indicated.

“It’s really important to make sure you purchase your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your trip, and ensure that policy kicks in straight away,” says Taylor.

“This way, you’ll be covered for cancellation and any of the other perils that are relevant before you leave for your trip.”

3. Not shopping around

Don’t tend to scope out the options? “This means you could be losing out on some serious savings, or not purchasing the most relevant cover for you,” says Taylor.

4. Only focusing on this holiday

“Think about how much you’re planning to travel across the next year,” Taylor suggests. “If you’ve got several trips in the pipeline, it may be better to buy an annual travel policy rather than several single-trip policies.”

5. Assuming you’ll be covered for all activities

“If you typically like to plan an action-packed holiday, you should have a close look at your policy and if you need extra cover for any extreme sports or activities like skiing or scuba diving,” Taylor advises.

“Sometimes these aren’t included in standard policies, so best to check and ensure you’re covered for all eventualities.”

6. Forgetting insurance on staycations

UK-based staycations are the third most popular destination for generating travel insurance claims, according to Sainsbury’s Bank’s own data. But around one in nine (11.5%) people choose not to buy travel insurance for staycations, while one in 10 (10.8%) forget entirely, their research suggests.

Taylor adds: “Just because you aren’t abroad, doesn’t mean that unforeseen emergencies can’t arise.”

In addition to Taylor’s tips, if you have a serious medical condition, it’s worth checking out directories of specialist providers. More information is on the MoneyHelper website and the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website.

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