Costs caused by getting in trouble while on holiday abroad can be life-changing.
In a recent case reported by Telegraph Money, a young couple who unexpectedly gave birth outside the European Union racked up bills of £120,000 in medical expenses and other costs.
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The pair would have had to foot the bill themselves if they hadn’t acted at the last minute to take out travel insurance before their trip.
But perhaps worse than not taking out cover is buying the wrong type of travel insurance, or a policy that will not protect you against the most likely danger you will face during your time away.
Telegraph Money asked Fiona Macrae from consumer advice site Travel Insurance Explained for her top five things to consider before you part with your money to make sure you pay for what you need and get what you pay for.
Natural disaster cover
Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Florence that swept across north-east America and Typhoon Mangkhut that recently hit Hong Kong, are not always covered as standard on a travel insurance policy and may need to be purchased as an add on.
Natural disaster cover may also be referred to as “catastrophic events” or “force majeure” cover on a policy. People planning on travelling to countries that regularly experience natural disasters should specifically look for this type cover as it could cover the costs of accommodation and curtailment expenses as a result of the disaster.
However, the policy must be purchased before the possibility of the potential disaster has been announced.
Non travelling relatives
If a relative has an existing medical condition and falls ill as a result of this, either before or while a family member is away on holiday, that family member may want to cancel or cut short their trip to be with their relative. However it is important to note non-travelling relatives who have a medical condition aren’t generally covered by travel insurance policies.
There are a few policies that will offer cover if the relative has a medical condition which is stable, so if you have a family member with a medical condition who isn’t travelling with you, you should look for a policy which offers this extra cover.
People think travel insurance policies are ‘claim all’ policies, meaning all claims are valid. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and most travel insurance providers will only cover cancellation claims for a limited number of specified reasons.
Because you never know what could happen it’s advisable to look for a travel insurance policy that will cover “cancellation due to any cause beyond your reasonable control’” as this covers any unforeseen circumstance.
Add-ons and activities
Holidays encourage people to try out new and fun activities, like bungee jumping and paragliding, but many don’t realise most travel insurance policies do not cover specialist sports and other riskier activities.
If you are thinking of taking part in activities or sports, from windsurfing to mountain biking and even hiking, you may require a specialist policy or add-on to ensure your travel insurance policy covers you.
When on holiday, motorbikes, mopeds and quadbikes are an easy and quick method of transportation for travellers looking to explore the location.
However, people often do not realise their travel insurance might insist they have a valid driving licence in the UK to be able to drive a motorbike, moped or quad bike abroad and require that a crash helmet is worn by both the driver and any passenger, irrespective of the laws of that country.
If a person does not have the correct UK licence to drive the vehicle they are hiring, or is not wearing a crash helmet, their travel insurance might be invalidated which could mean if they were involved in an accident they (and any passenger riding pillion) could find themselves responsible for all costs associated with this, including medical bills, and the cost of medical repatriation.