Top Travel Tips
People often think that travel insurance is an easy policy to buy but it is imperative that the right cover is taken out.
If you don’t have the right policy, you can find yourself stranded, or out of pocket – even before you have gone on holiday. If in doubt, consult a BIBA broker, who will give you independent, expert advice and help you choose the right policy for you at no extra cost. A broker will also be on your side if you have to make a claim.
To help you check your travel policy, BIBA brokers have put together a list of frequently asked questions and some top tips to check before you go on holiday.
Top Travel Tips
- Take your travel policy number and emergency help line number with you or save them on your phone………you need to know who to phone in case of an emergency.
- Sports or hazardous activities – Have you taken out this option? You may require specific cover for, say, paragliding, jet skiing, scuba diving. Many people don’t appreciate they may need to refer this and obtain agreement from the insurance provider.
- Don’t leave valuables in the open, especially while on the beach. Check your policy wording . You should check if your insurer provides cover if you leave them in the hotel reception safe (a room safe may be insufficient for your insurers)
- Ensure policy limits are adequate: Check how much cash you are covered for, baggage limits etc. Are they sufficient?
- Medical Conditions: Make sure all medical conditions are advised to your broker or insurer. If the insurer isn’t aware of circumstances which could give rise to a claim under this insurance, you may not get your money back if you have a problem. Even if they occur between the day you took out the policy and the day you leave.
- Use the MASTA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to check on inoculations, civil unrest etc.
- Leave enough time to travel to the airport, if you are late because you didn’t leave enough time to get to there – you won’t be able to claim.
- Be aware of the dangers to small children that you may not be used to at home eg. swimming pools
- If you buy items like sunglasses while on holiday keep the receipts as you need to be able to substantiate your claim if they are stolen or lost.
- If you are a victim of theft: Report this as soon as possible to the local police, the hotel and the tour operator. Your insurance company may insist on a written report
- Check that your motor breakdown covers Europe and not just the UK.
- If you have an expensive item you want to take away with you, a special piece of jewellery, a digital camera, or a laptop for example you should check the limits on your policy and potentially arrange to increase them.
- Check your excesses – some policies insist on an excess for each item lost – i.e: passport, wallet, or luggage. Good policies, like the BIBA Holiday Travel+ Policy, should only request one excess per incident.
- Which policy? – if you are taking numerous trips abroad it is worth considering arranging an annual multi-trip policy as opposed to a single trip policy.
- General tips:
- take copies of passport, travel insurance documents and visas etc as it will be easier to get them replaced or get home should you lose them.
- Label bags with destination address, email and phone number.
Cruise – considerations specifically for cruises
Cruises need significantly increased cancellation insurance limits. We are aware of some schemes that provide cancellation cover up to £100,000.
A typical travel insurance policy will normally not provide cancellation periods more than 1 year in advance, whereas some specialist Cruise policies allow cover for bookings for departures, for example, in late 2018 and return travel dates going into 2019. This caters for the fact that cruise operators often now require full payment 180 days in advance of departure. Cruises are often booked 2 years in advance of departure and with the travel period added on, can easily mean a client requires cover for up to two and half years in total.
Medical Evacuation – many standard travel insurance policies exclude cruises because in the event of a medical situation an on-board doctor may be able to provide treatment but in the event of a more serious emergency condition a medical air evacuation from the cruise liner may be required.
Medical Disembarkation – the cruise ship doctor has the right to deny boarding or to disembark a passenger they feel is too ill to continue the cruise. This could result in the insured having medical expenses not only on-board the cruise liner, but at the port hospital where they are disembarked as well as additional travel and accommodation costs.
The BIBA endorsed travel insurer had a client disembarked by a cruise liner in Cairo as they were medically unfit to carry on aboard the ship. He was fortunate enough to have the BIBA endorsed policy that not only dealt with his medical expenses in Cairo and on-board the cruise, but also his wife and son’s accommodation expenses and then the cost of air ambulance repatriation back to the UK. Just the cost of the Air Ambulance from Cairo with doctor escort back to UK was £26,000.
Missed Departure – a standard travel insurance policy will typically cover the costs of missed departure travelling from the UK on holiday or return to the UK at the end of a holiday. Many cruises are arranged with cruise liner departures from foreign ports and cover may not operate in the event of a flight delay causing a missed departure connection with the cruise liner from a foreign port. A Cruise Insurance will normally be able to accommodate such cover but typically the insurer would want a minimum of a 6 hour difference between the arrival at the foreign airport and embarkation at the foreign port.
Cruise holidays is a fast growing sector of the travel market especially for the more mature with high levels of disposable income, and with medical conditions. A specialist Cruise Insurance will generally be able to cater for increased age limits and people with medical conditions (subject to the normal medical screening).
Actual travel period – a cruise policy may generally allow up to 180 days of travel – a round the world trip can last up to 145 days depending on the itinerary.
To find a BIBA broker phone BIBA’s Find a Broker service on 0370 950 1790
Case study – Travelling with valuables
BIBA is urging travellers to ensure they have cover for any valuables checked into the hold of the plane.
Many travel insurance policies do not cover valuables when checked into the hold, and often require you to keep valuables under your custody and control. As a result, you are required to keep them in your hand luggage or about your person.
There will be a limit to any individual valuable item and also to the total collective sum of the valuables you take with you – check these limits are sufficient
BIBA has issued a list of items which may not be covered by insurance when put into a suitcase and checked into the hold:
- Photographic equipment including all accessories
- Sunglasses or spectacles
- Electronic equipment including laptops, Ipads, iPods, smart watches mobile phones etc.
- Money, credit cards and passports
- Hearing aids
You should, of course, check your policy as each policy can be different.
BIBA believes that many consumers may be unaware that they are putting their belongings at risk. This is highlighted by the case study below.
Graeme Trudgill, BIBA’s Executive Director, comments: “Holidaymakers need to be aware that many items are not insured if placed in your checked luggage. We have seen an example of a traveller who was unable to claim for a camera when it was stolen from her checked luggage.
“The good news is that some household policies may offer wider cover than travel policies. Valuables are often more appropriately protected under the personal possessions section of a household policy (although this is an optional extra that many people do not buy) – which would cover them for all risks cover around the world.
“However, no two policies are the same and not all household policies cover valuables in the hold either, particularly jewellery. The best advice we can offer consumers is to ask your broker to ensure that either your household policy or your travel policy provides appropriate cover for you.”
BIBA advises consumers to contact a specialist insurance broker to find the most suitable insurance policy. To find a BIBA broker, call 0370 950 1790 or visit www.biba.org.uk
- Case study
Mandy Fox, an accountant from Essex travelled to Portugal with her family. Upon arrival at the airport she found that her suitcase had been broken into and a number of items had been stolen including her camera and her son’s electric razor.
Mrs Fox, said: ‘I was really surprised that somewhere between Gatwick and Portugal my case had been broken into and our belongings had been stolen. It was a really disappointing start to our family holiday.’
‘Our insurance company was really helpful when we returned from holiday, they arranged for us to be compensated for the majority of the items stolen. However, I was very surprised to find that my camera was not covered because it was placed in my luggage.’
‘With increased security and a reduction in the number of items that you can carry on the plane, I assumed that I had to place all non essential items in my suitcase. I didn’t get advice from anyone, I just brought my policy from the internet so was unaware of policy restrictions.’
‘I have written to the airline to express my concern that my valuables had been stolen whilst in their care but unfortunately I have not received any compensation. Therefore, I will have to pay £130 to replace our camera.”