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Types of travel insurance cover

Phi Phi Thailand Travel Insurance is more than an optional extra!

Travel insurance policies cover the obvious problems, like accidents or an illness, a stolen wallet or purse. Travel insurance cover also provides compensation for delays and cancellations, for damaged or lost luggage, and often includes a telephone helpline for use in emergencies. Travel insurance is not so much an optional extra as a vital part of any holiday or short break.

It's worth bearing in mind that going cheap is not always the best option. People often buy travel insurance in much the same way as their motor insurance - they consider it a grudge purchase and typically opt for the cheapest level of cover available. However, unlike car insurance, travel cover is not a legal requirement and we urge customers to treat its purchase differently. Adopting a blasé approach can mean you end up with a policy that refuses to pay out in the event of a claim, meaning the pounds you save today could ultimately leave you out of pocket in the event of a claim.

If you generally take a lot of high value items on holiday, such as iPods or expensive sunglasses, no-frills policies simply won't give you the cover you need. Even some 'standard' policies include baggage as an 'optional' extra. Similarly, if you are going skiing, snowboarding or bungee jumping look carefully at your chosen policy to check you're covered.

Single trip cover, or an annual policy?

Whilst single trip travel insurance may be cheaper to purchase, it is only cost-effective if you take two or less trips per year. It is also worth remembering that annual travel insurance will cover you for domestic as well as overseas holidays, protecting you and even the contents of your car in the event of a holiday theft.

However, annual multi-trip policies do sometimes limit the number of days you can spend abroad during any one trip. Some also limit the maximum total number of days you can spend abroad, so it's always worth checking before you buy.

Many activities and outdoor sports can be covered as part of an annual policy, though there are typically a maximum number of days of cover available. Of course, it is always advisable to check your policy before getting stuck in to such activities, to ensure your level of cover is adequate.

Did you know…?

You can get a single trip policy through Confused.com from as little as £1.37! (based on one adult or one parent family aged 18-54 for up to three days travel within the UK).

You can get an annual travel policy through confused.com from as little as £11.20! (based on one adult aged 18-64 travelling within the UK).

Recent Confused.com research revealed that 70% of consumers find it either difficult or impossible to compare travel insurance cover. Despite the fact that nearly 60% of people believe travel insurance policies differ greatly and 66% go away more than once a year, many find the process of buying and handling travel insurance both baffling and time consuming. Nearly half of those polled did not understand basic terms such as 'waiving excess' and a third had failed to make a claim on their travel insurance, with 52% of these considering it to be 'too much hassle'.

Our research has also shown that 37% of people always book their insurance at the last minute, so it is hardly surprising that so few people bother to search for appropriate holiday cover and that price is usually the deciding factor.

Our research also revealed that 25% of people have never bought travel insurance. Many might believe that any lost items, such as cameras or iPods, could be claimed on their home contents insurance meaning that they don't need to take out additional cover for their trip. However, it's worth remembering that any claim on a home insurance policy will push up the annual premium when it comes to renewal, and this needs to be factored in when considering whether not taking out cover or claiming on your home contents rather than a travel policy really saves you money in the long run.

photo: Paulo Brandao

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