Before taking out your policy
There are several exclusions that may lead to an invalidation of your policy. To make absolutely sure, you should let the insurers know if any travellers on the policy:
Have had travel insurance refused, cancelled or any special terms imposed
Have received any criminal convictions for fraud, dishonesty or deception in the last 5 years
Have had more than 3 travel insurance claims in the last 3 years
Have already commenced the trip you wish to cover
Will be travelling without at least one adult covered by the policy
Have any pre-existing medical conditions (see our medical cover & tips page)
Furthermore, if you're flying a low-budget airline you may want cover that offers protection from flight cancellations or disruptions. Or if you're planning a round-the-world trip, consider whether you want to come home mid-way through.
Alternatively, if you're an adventurous or spontaneous person, think about what kind of activities you may do that could be considered 'dangerous' by insurers.
Dangerous sports vary significantly in terms of coverage; some insurance companies limit bungee jumps to just 3, others exclude them altogether. Also you may find that basic activities such as elephant riding or camel riding (as a tourist) aren't included.
Before you travel
Print and retain your detail of cover as this includes useful phone numbers and what to do in an emergency. It also lists what you're actually covered for. Some insurers provide this in the form of an International Assistance Card. Keep these details with you at all times.
It may be worth making up your own travel-friendly contact card at home before you leave. Perhaps even laminate the card to prolong its life and keep it dry.
Keep a separate note of your policy number(s) in case you lose or damage your certificate. Plus it's a good idea to leave your policy details/contact numbers with a family member/close friend, in case you lose your contact card or are too sick to contact your insurer directly.
It's worth bearing in mind that your travel insurance policy will become void if the government has advised against travelling to certain areas. As with 99% of insurers, typically a travel insurance policy will not cover you for acts of terrorism.
When you're away
Keep all valuables, passports, money and insurance documents safe at all times - either secured on your person or in a hotel safe.
Find out more about travel insurance