Pay attention to the small details on your travel insurance warn experts

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Have you adequate travel insurance?

Consumers travelling abroad this August were advised today to make sure they have travel cover, or sufficient travel cover, to protect them in the event of unforeseen accidents, illnesses or losses.

Rachel McGovern, Director of Financial Services at Brokers Ireland which represents almost 1,300 broker firms says the typical travel insurance policy will protect against medical emergencies, accidents, sickness or death, trip cancellation, airline delays and lost baggage.

However, consumers should first ensure the policy covers travel to their destination. “Some policies restrict travel to within Europe, while others provide worldwide cover,” she says.  And she said policies sold, particularly by airlines, as a ‘default add-on’ may be neither suitable nor offer best value.

“A significant number of Irish citizens incur substantial medical costs in Australia every year, often including additional costs associated with travel back to Ireland. Without insurance this places an enormous burden on families. This can be avoided or mitigated with the correct insurance cover. 

“Not all health insurance policies cover foreign travel,” she said. And many people travelling in Europe rely on the European Health Insurance Card, which does provide public hospital treatment free-of-charge but issues can arise beyond that or if you have an accident a long distance from a public hospital. The quality of service will vary, depending on the country.

An annual multi trip insurance policy will provide cover for all trips during the year while a single trip travel insurance policy will need to be renewed each time you travel.  Extras can be added to your policy if you are taking an adventure holiday. Backpackers insurance can be tailored for longer periods of up to 18 months and across multiple countries. Where families are involved it may be cheaper to purchase a family travel insurance policy.

 

Rachel McGovern, Director of Financial Services at Brokers Ireland.

Ms McGovern said travel insurance can be difficult and costly to find for older people as they are viewed as being more likely to claim.

“Ideally consumers should thoroughly read through the whole policy paying particular attention to exclusions and excesses. And make sure if there are pre-existing illnesses they are declared,” she says.  “The cheapest policy is not necessarily the best. Minor incidents that people often assume are covered may not be.”

She says it is particularly important to be familiar with the procedures you have to follow when abroad. “The terms and conditions of travel insurance policies can differ greatly across providers and in the event of the unwanted happening,being familiar in advance with such procedures can relieve some of the stress. For example, it is often a requirement to report losses to the local police station within 24 hours.”

She said some policies will insist that you get police reports (fully translated) within a timeline. Many policies also require you to contact the company's medical/emergency assistance line as soon as possible after the event, for your claim to be accepted.

Finally she said if in doubt an insurance broker will be able to help review potential policies and their suitability.