It can be tempting to save a few pounds by opting for the lowest-priced travel insurance you can find. But analysis from MoneySuperMarket reveals that Easter holidaymakers who take out the cheapest policy could be leaving themselves and their families open to overseas disaster.
Small print perils
In many cases, this is due to catches that only become clear if you read the small print.
For example, a family of four can cover themselves for a fortnight’s holiday in Europe for just £10.69 with OUL Direct.
But while this policy offers £750 worth of cancellation cover, a closer look at the policy details shows that you would have to pay the first £250 of any cancellation claim, substantially reducing the benefit of making a claim.
Value for money
To be properly covered, the same family would therefore be better off paying £23.25 for up to £3,000 of cancellation cover, with a much lower excess fee of £100, from an insurer such as CoverForYou – which also provides £15m of medical expenses cover and £1,500 of baggage cover, compared to £10m and £500 with the cheaper policy.
Bob Atkinson, travel expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “Be sure to read the small print of the policy to ensure you choose the right deal.
“A good policy will offer the adequate levels of cover for your needs, and give you the benefit of low excess fees.”
You can shop around for the right combination of cover and price at our travel insurance channel.
To ensure you can make a claim should you need to cancel your holiday (for example, because someone in your family falls ill), Atkinson also advises taking out a policy soon as you have booked a trip.
He said: “Advance planning is crucial both to ensure you benefit from cancellation cover during the time leading up to your trip.”
He added: “It’s also worth investigating currency exchange options to allow you to get the best deal on your holiday money.
“Our research shows that you could, for example, pay just £838.57 for €1,000 by pre-ordering currency online through FairFX – that’s £82.41 less than it would cost you to buy the same amount of euros at the last minute.
“Pre-planning also allows you to look into whether using a credit or debit card designed for overseas use, such as the Halifax Clarity card, could be your best option.”
Other tips to help protect you and your family’s quality time together include choosing a travel insurance policy with End Supplier Failure for those who book their own trips as opposed to going on ATOL backed packages.
Minimum cover levels
MoneySuperMarket recommends opting for a policy that will pay out at least £2 million towards medical expenses, £1 million for personal liability claims, £3,000 for cancellation and £1,500 for lost, stolen or damaged baggage – as well as covering you for the loss of up to £250 in cash.
And to ensure that making a claim does not end up costing you too dear, it is sensible to check that the policy excess – or amount that you pay towards any claim – is no more than £100.
Should your travel plans go awry, you may also appreciate having delay cover, which generally pays out say £20 for a 12-hour wait, in place.
Check your EHIC
Those travelling to Europe should also take European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs). Atkinson said: “In addition to suitable travel insurance, holiday-makers staying within the EEA (European Economic Area) should also make sure they have a valid EHIC that gives access to state healthcare at a reduced cost or in some instances for free.
“Each person travelling will need to have their own card in order to be covered, however this is designed to be used alongside an insurance policy – definitely not as a replacement.”
Anyone planning a staycation in the UK should also take out a travel insurance to protect them should something go wrong while they are away.
Most European and Worldwide travel insurance policies include the UK as long as you are staying at least 25 miles away from your home for a minimum of two nights, but it is always worth checking before you buy.
And to avoid being stranded at the roadside watching other holidaymakers go by, those travelling by car to reach their holiday destination should check they have adequate breakdown cover in place.
Atkinson said: “Breakdown cover with onward travel will ensure the driver and any passengers still make it to their journey’s end even if their car fails.
“UK cover can cost less than £30 for an annual policy with The Green Insurance Company and will ensure that no one misses out on the holiday fun.”
Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.