HOLIDAYMAKERS know it’s important to take out travel insurance in case the worst happens – but do you know what you’re actually covered for?
Travel insurance helps you to claim if you need emergency medical treatment, your belongings are stolen while you’re away, or you have to cancel a trip due to death, illness or bereavement.
But there are lots of things that travel insurance doesn’t cover – especially if you opt for a basic policy.
Kelly Whittington, speciality claims director at Aviva UK, said issues often arise when people think they’re covered, only to find they’re not when they go to make a claim.
“It’s really important that people check their policy documents so they understand what is and isn’t covered,” she said.
“Read through your policy documents – they will explain which scenarios are covered and any exclusions – and check with your insurer if you have more questions.”
Here are nine things that could catch you out:
Read more in Money
Changing your mind or making a mistake
Buying a holiday isn’t like buying a new coat – you can’t necessarily just return it if you change your mind.
Travel insurance probably won’t help you if you suddenly decide you don’t want to go on holiday any more unless you have a good reason, such as a serious illness, said Kelly.
Nor is it likely to pay out if an error on your part means you can’t go, such as missing your flight because you didn’t get to the airport on time.
Most read in Money
“Travel insurance is designed to help customers in the case of an unforeseen emergency, such as requiring medical treatment overseas or needing to cancel because someone has fallen ill and can’t travel.
“It’s not designed to cover people if they simply change their mind about their holiday – or oversleep and miss their plane!” she said.
If you’re planning to do anything out of the ordinary on holiday, it is really important to check that your travel insurance covers it.
Most policies don’t cover activities such as skiing or diving as standard, so if you think you are going to do those, you need to find a policy which does carry them.
Many travel insurers offer add-ons to standard policies for extra things such as scuba diving, golf and winter sports – but you’ll have to pay a little more.
“Some more “extreme” sports may require a policy from a specialist insurer,” Kelly said.
The onus is on you to ensure all travel documents such as passports and visas are valid before you travel.
Insurance policies are highly unlikely to allow you to claim if a passport doesn’t arrive in time.
“While you can’t claim if your passport doesn’t arrive on time in the UK, holidaymakers would be covered for emergency travel documents if their passport was lost, stolen or damaged once abroad,” Kelly explained.
Problems with proof of vaccinations
This is a similar problem to passports, Kelly said.
Some countries require proof of vaccination status in order for you to enter a country.
She explained: “If you don’t have the correct documentation to get into a country, you’re unlikely to be able to make a claim.”
Cancelling for jury service
You might find you are covered if you have to cancel your holiday to do jury service – but only if you found out about it after you took out the policy.
“Aviva travel insurance allows people to claim if they are called for jury service or are made redundant and need to cancel their holiday as a result,” said Kelly.
If you forgot you were meant to be doing jury duty, or take out an insurance policy after you find out, you won’t be able to make a claim.
Lost or stolen baggage
Don’t assume that your baggage will be covered automatically – you may require an optional add-on.
However, you may also be covered for your items if you have “personal belongings” cover as an add-on to your home insurance, so make sure you’re not taking out cover for something you are already protected against.
You won’t necessarily be able to claim if your trip is cancelled because the airport, port or airspace you’re due to travel from or to is closed.
Some insurers offer optional airspace closure cover for this scenario – but as with everything, you need to read your policy really carefully.
Strikes and industrial action
If your transport is cancelled due to a strike, you may not be covered automatically.
However, many insurers offer a ‘travel disruption’ add-on which can cover you for strikes and may also enable you to claim if there is official advice from the government not to travel to your destination, or if a natural disaster means you can’t stay where you had intended.
Medical problems you hadn’t declared
Kelly also warned that it is vital to disclose your medical history when taking out cover so an insurer can assess any risks and provide cover at a fair price.
Read More on The Sun
“For those who have travel insurance through their bank or as an annual policy which renews automatically, it’s essential that you check your cover at renewal and inform your insurance provider if anything has changed,” she added.
If you don’t, you could risk not being able to make a claim if something happens that is related to your illness or condition and you hadn’t declared it at the outset.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org