Eight questions to ask yourself about travel insurance

1. Will you be covered for the cost of repatriation in an emergency? The FCO sets the guidelines of having at least 2 million worth of cover so that the hospital fee and the associated cost of returning you home will be met. The cost should not be underestimated, particularly if your condition means unusual arrangements for your transport must be made.

2. Does your insurer provide 24-hour assistance? For obvious reasons, this factor is especially important. Getting attention quickly, whatever the time of day or night, is vital. You don’t want to be kept waiting to see whether or not a certain treatment will be paid for by your insurer.

3. How will you be reimbursed for cancellations, if at all? There are thousands of reasons why you may cancel a trip, but not all of these will be considered legitimate reasons by your insurer. Before doing anything definitely check what the insurer’s stance is on this issue. It is also worth checking what provisions are in place should the tour operator or airline cancel your trip.

4. How soon does cancellation protection kick in? Either the insurer will vouch for your temporary accommodation or replacement flight or you will have to purchase them and be reimbursed later. This can make a big difference if money is tight. The recent Bangkok airport protests are a prime example of this cover coming in handy.

5. Which sports and activities are covered and which are not? As a rule, anything considered adventurous or extreme will not automatically be included and you will need to contact the insurer to arrange for additional coverage. Things like tennis or football won’t be a problem, but things like skiing or scuba diving below a certain depth will need additional protection.

6. Will your insurer protect you against issues of personal liability if you are sued or cause an accident? This is an often overlooked side of travel insurance that can be one of the most expensive. Without this cover, you run the risk of being sued for thousands and having to pay the full amount plus legal costs.

7. Does the policy offer reimbursement of legal expenses incurred if a damage claim needs to be made? This is the flip side of the previous question. If someone does you an injury, say by careless driving, you are entitled to claim damages. But lawyers are expensive and if you cannot afford legal representation you may come away from court with nothing.

8. Are the limits for stolen or damaged items sufficient? Depending on where you’re going and for how long, you may have possessions the value of which exceeds the limits of your insurance policy. Ski trips are a notable example of having valuable equipment. You can always up to your coverage limits if you’re going to need the extra assurance, but make sure you do it before all your stuff gets stolen.

The bottom line is, that anything can happen. So whilst you shouldn’t be put off traveling overseas by the dangers or inconveniences that may occur, you should buy a decent travel insurance policy to give you peace of mind and make sure you’re protected.

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