Why do I need travel insurance for the Canary Islands?
If you’re jetting off to the Canaries, make sure you take out travel insurance.
This will provide cover for you and your family if someone becomes ill or has an accident while you’re on holiday, and in case your possessions are lost or stolen during your trip.
Travel insurance will also protect you in the event that your holiday has to be cut short or cancelled unexpectedly, which could otherwise see you left seriously out of pocket.
What should my travel insurance policy for the Canary Islands include?
A good travel insurance policy for the Canary Islands (including Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, among other islands), should include the following:
- £5m worth of cover for medical expenses.
- Cover for your repatriation to the UK, in case you have to be brought back (for example, in an air ambulance).
- Cover for the cancellation or curtailment of your holiday.
- Cover for delay and missed departures - in the event that circumstances beyond your control, such as your car breaking down, mean you miss your flight.
- Cover for travel abandonment, in the unlikely event that problems arise on your journey and you have to give up trying to get to your destination.
- Cover for lost and stolen baggage.
- Cover for the loss or theft of your passport. This isn’t always included as standard, but it’s worth adding. Getting a replacement passport while abroad can be complicated and expensive.
- Cover for personal liability - in case something you do causes injury to someone else, or results in loss or damage to their belongings.
Canary Islands travel insurance: exclusions and things to watch out for
All insurance policies come with exclusions, and travel insurance is no exception.
Here are some of the things that you’ll probably be unable to claim for under your travel insurance policy:
- Pre-existing medical conditions. This means any illness that was diagnosed, or whose symptoms you reported to your doctor, before travelling. If you have such conditions, you’ll either be charged a higher premium or you’ll have to find a specialist insurer.
- Unexpected incidents such as war, terrorism, civil unrest and natural disasters that affect your holiday.
- Alcohol-related accidents, injuries and illness - whether it’s you or someone else that gets hurt.
- Travel to places that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised British tourists to avoid.
- Accidents or injuries that occur while you’re engaged in extreme or adventure sports such as diving or surfing. If you’re planning on taking part in such activities while on holiday in the Canary Islands, make sure you are covered.
Don’t forget to check the excess on your travel insurance policy, too. Though it might seem tempting to opt for a higher excess in exchange for a lower premium now, don’t set it so high that it would be difficult to afford in the event you needed to claim.
Finally, while you might think it’s sensible to start your travel insurance policy from the date on which you’re due to travel, this could be an expensive mistake. Always start your policy from the date you book your trip - or else, should you need to cancel your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances, you won’t be covered.
Will an EHIC cover me in the Canary Islands?
Because the Canary Islands are part of Spain, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover you while you’re on holiday there.
As it stands, the EHIC card will only work for UK citizens up until 29 March 2019.
If you are concerned about whether your EHIC card will work after the UK leaves the EU, be aware that a standard travel insurance policy will cover you for any medical costs included in your policy.
The EHIC scheme is designed to give EU visitors to member countries access to the same state-subsidised health care that citizens of those countries would receive. This means that whatever health care a Spanish person would expect to get if they fell ill, an EHIC holder should get too, on precisely the same terms.
However, this doesn’t mean that all medical treatment received under the EHIC scheme would be free.
The EHIC is a useful safety net, but it is not a substitute for travel insurance. The EHIC won’t cover repatriation to your home country if it’s needed, would not cover the cost of air-lifting to hospital in an emergency and of course provides no protection in the event of baggage loss or theft, or the cancellation or curtailment of a holiday.
Top travel tips for the Canary Islands
1. Stay safe
While the Canary Islands are famed for their warm, bright weather, its cool coastal breezes can mask the intensity of the sunshine.
Always make sure you, and the rest of your party, wear high factor sun protection while out and about, even if the conditions do not seem to warrant it.
Meanwhile, whether you’re swimming at your resort or in the sea, read the signs and follow safety advice at all times. Be aware that the current around the Canary Islands can be powerful and can prove dangerous, especially for younger members of the family and those who are not strong swimmers.
2. Buy bottled water
While the water in the Canary Islands is safe to drink, many Brits report that it doesn’t taste as good as the water back home. That’s because it’s largely desalinated seawater.
Be prepared to use tap water just for teeth-brushing, and to buy bottled for drinking.
3. Experience exceptional wines
While the Canary Islands are a familiar holiday destination for many Brits, what’s less well known is that this Spanish archipelago has several wine regions - and within them, some of Europe’s most southerly vineyards.
Experts claim Canary Island wines are floral, light and fresh - so why not try a glass of the local tipple with your tapas? You’re on holiday after all...
4. Dare to drive
The Canary Islands offer a rich and varied experience for holidaymakers, with luxurious resorts that can cater to your every need as well as historical monuments and breath-taking natural scenery.
If you’re keen to get off the beaten track, you could hire a car during your holiday. Just remember that you’ll need to stick to the right hand side of the road!
5. Beware the wrong beach…
Finally, depending on where you go in the Canary Islands, be aware that some beaches are popular with nudists.
If you’re not keen on visiting a ‘clothing optional’ stretch of coast, do your research before heading out!