How to make sure your travel insurance doesn't let you down

Make sure your travel insurance covers enough to prevent a holiday mishap from becoming a disaster.

Broken leg cast with travel stickers © Getty Images

Will a private hospital help?

Before you head off on your summer holidays make sure you have travel insurance. Research by Sainsbury's Bank has found that 2.3 million of us go on holiday without it. But if you fall ill or get injured on holiday, being covered could save you thousands of pounds. The average travel insurance claim is £1,300, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Don't just buy the cheapest policy on a comparison site. They all differ and you need one that suits you. One thing to watch out for is mention of treatment at private hospitals.

While half of the 20 biggest travel-insurance firms "refer to private medical treatment in their terms and conditionsthey all also include carefully-worded caveats that could be used to avoid paying for more expensive treatment", says Ali Hussain in The Sunday Times.

Most of them have a get-out clause in the small print that states private treatment isn't covered unless you get permission from the insurer first. The Spanish authorities said recently that around 800 Britons a day were seeking treatment at private clinics only to find their insurance wouldn't cover it. They were then left choosing between being moved to a public facility, or paying the bills themselves.

The Sunday Times gives the example of Mary Lewis who had to pay £16,500 to fly home after breaking her leg in Greece. Her policy "would provide treatment only at an inadequately funded state facility", says Hussain.

"Customers are better off choosing policies that have no mention of whether you can use private health facilities," James Daley of Fairer Finance told The Sunday Times. Then if an insurer attempts to block a claim after you've used a private hospital, "you will be in a stronger position to appealto the Financial Ombudsman Service". The Financial Ombudsman will look at what is "fair and reasonable".

Are earthquakes covered?

force majeure

This "is typically an add-on to a travel insurance policy, so while it is not always included as standard, it is a very crucial part of the cover", as the consumer awareness initiative Travel Insurance Explained points out in the Daily Express.

Finally, there is good news on the horizon for anyone with a medical condition looking for travel insurance. The Financial Conduct Authority will introduce a new rule that will give people a directory of insurers who will cover them and their existing conditions.

This will "crack down on rip-off premiums", says Emma Munbodh in the Daily Mirror. People are too often "hit with extra charges for their condition, despite declaring it at the time of taking out the cover".

Recommended

When should you upgrade your smartphone?
Personal finance

When should you upgrade your smartphone?

How do you know when it’s time to replace an old mobile phone?
21 Sep 2021
What you should do if your energy provider goes bust
Personal finance

What you should do if your energy provider goes bust

At least four energy firms have gone under in recent days as the price of gas and electricity soars. Saloni Sardana looks at what to do if your energy…
20 Sep 2021
I wish I knew what a marginal tax rate was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask
Too embarrassed to ask

I wish I knew what a marginal tax rate was, but I’m too embarrassed to ask

Your marginal tax rate is simply the tax rate you pay on each extra pound of income you earn. Here's how that works.
14 Sep 2021
How to stop recurring subscriptions becoming a drain on your money
Personal finance

How to stop recurring subscriptions becoming a drain on your money

Tracking and pruning subscriptions isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here's how to take charge.
14 Sep 2021

Most Popular

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest
Small cap stocks

The times may be changing, but don’t change how you invest

We are living in strange times. But the basics of investing remain the same: buy fairly-priced stocks that can provide an income. And there are few be…
13 Sep 2021
Two shipping funds to buy for steady income
Investment trusts

Two shipping funds to buy for steady income

Returns from owning ships are volatile, but these two investment trusts are trying to make the sector less risky.
7 Sep 2021
How to stop recurring subscriptions becoming a drain on your money
Personal finance

How to stop recurring subscriptions becoming a drain on your money

Tracking and pruning subscriptions isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here's how to take charge.
14 Sep 2021