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Compare Travel Insurance Policies

February 12, 2010

When you buy a holiday or a flight, you’ll almost certainly be offered travel insurance to go with it. It’s all too easy to say yes, and add the cost to the bill, but you are probably better off shopping around and taking out a travel insurance policy independently – and one that suits you – either worldwide or annual.

Single trip or annual?

You need to decide if you should take out a policy that will cover you just for one holiday, or take out an annual policy that will cover you for all the trips you take (within limits) for a whole year.

You don’t have to be a very frequent holidaymaker to save with an annual policy – for example, an adult travelling within Europe would need to take only three holidays in a year to make it worthwhile.

Baggage and money

Travel insurance normally covers you if your baggage and belongings are lost or stolen or damaged – up to a certain limit.

Cover for valuables

As well as an overall limit, policies also have a limit on individual valuable items, usually of between £200 and £500.

Cover for money

There’s usually a limit on the amount of cash a policy will pay out for if you are robbed. Such limits (between £200 and £500, depending on the policy) also include travellers’ cheques.

Medical cover

The best policies will offer at least £1 million of medical cover in Europe, and £2 million in the USA and the rest of the world. This cover should include the cost of an air ambulance to get you home, if this is necessary.

Pre-existing medical conditions

Some policies will automatically exclude any pre-existing condition; others take a more sympathetic approach. Either way, you should always discuss any pre-existing medical condition with an insurer before buying a policy – and answer any questions they ask you about this honestly.

Other conditions to check include any payment for cancellation, curtailment or delay and the excess you’ll be expected to pay on any claim.

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