Just back from your summer holidays and already planning the next escape? Then make sure you organise your holiday insurance now – don’t wait!
Money Saving Expert has recently spoken out about holiday insurance and why it’s imperative that you don’t wait until just before you travel to take out your insurance. If anything happens before the time of your holiday, whereby you need to cancel your holiday for whatever reason, you won’t be entitled to get your money back unless you have holiday insurance.
Holidays can be one of the most expensive things in life, so making sure you prioritize the insurance side of it should be a given for anyone wanting to take care of their finances sensibly. However, did you know that you don’t have to take out your holiday insurance with the company you are booking with? If you explore price comparison sites, there could be much better deals available elsewhere. But don’t let your price comparison tasks become too time-consuming – the important thing to remember is to get the insurance booked as soon as possible. And here are the key reasons why this is so important.
Start time of the insurance
It may seem like a foolish mistake to make, but many people take out insurance to begin on the first day of their holiday, rather than from the day they booked. This could become a problem if the policyholder must cancel the holiday in advance. In this case, since the policy itself hasn’t started yet, the insurer may refuse to pay any cancellation costs, so be very careful about when exactly you start your policy.
If the insurer is only happy starting the policy from the start date of the holiday itself, they are required by law to make this clear to the customer. So, if your claim is turned down due to it being out of the time frame allowance, it’s now your job to prove that the insurer hadn’t made you aware of the fact. Typically, the phone conversation you had with the insurer when booking the insurance should have been recorded, and the insurer should supply you with this recording if required.
Sometimes poor health can come out of nowhere, and when you least expect it. It’s one of the most frequently used reasons for drawing on a travel insurance policy, and one of the most common reasons for having a claim turned down. Your health certainly plays a very significant role in holiday insurance, and with this significance comes some legal complexity.
You must make sure everything relevant regarding your health is initially disclosed to the insurer, because if it’s not, and a claim is rejected due to a pre-existing medical condition which was not previously disclosed, you’ll lose out. It’s important to also note that a pre-existing condition is not necessarily limited to medical conditions that have already been diagnosed. It may also include symptoms for which the customer has seen a doctor before buying the insurance, but where the cause of the problem has not yet been diagnosed.
Furthermore, if the person who is ill is not the actual policyholder, but merely someone travelling and going on holiday with the policyholder, rejections for claims made regarding pre-existing medical conditions may be more onerous. Many people don’t have full details of other people’s medical history.
Graeme Trudgill, a director at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, says: “If you have a relative or close business colleague whose state of health could lead to a decision by you to cancel or curtail your policy, you need to tell your insurer. If you do not disclose a serious condition you know about, and subsequently cancel your claim, it is unlikely to be paid – even if they are not travelling with you.”
Alcohol has become the subject of some debate regarding whether it should be included and covered within policies – and is a common reason for disputes over claims. There is recognised disparity between different insurers’ attitudes, but there are some policies which will cover excessive alcohol consumption. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FSO) says it has recently seen several inquiries about travel policies that seem to exclude any drinking of alcohol while on holiday. “Needless to say, while it’s reasonable to be aware of the repercussions of drinking heavily, we’d take a dim view of insurers penalising consumers for having some drinks (and enjoying themselves) while away,” says an FSO spokesperson.
Other reasons why holiday insurance matters include:
• Lost or stolen passports
• Arrests and detentions
• Lost luggage
• Flight delays
• Check you will have enough time left on your passport to travel (in some cases you need to have at least six months remaining)
• Get your E11 card to take abroad with you to cover you in case of illness while away