1. Do It Now
Arrange your travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday. This will provide you with cover immediately, vital should you fall ill or have an unexpected emergency that delays your trip.
2. Don’t Pay Twice
Some home insurance policies and credit cards will cover you for aspects of your holiday, such as baggage. Check to see if you can save money. But go over the policy carefully: ‘free’ insurance often has more exclusions than travel policies.
3. Read the Exclusions List
Many policies have exclusions lists longer than a Jilly Cooper novel, but you should read your way through. Common items can include age (the list of what’s covered for the over-70s can be distressingly short), pre-existing or unapproved medical conditions (including ones you are waiting on test results for – check directly with your insurer if you are travelling to a country with high medical fees, such as the US), ‘risky’ behaviour (even seemingly innocuous horse riding and cycling) and travelling through regions in conflict.
4. Protect Your Passport
Some insurers may not cover you or may cover only part of your costs if your passport is lost or stolen before you leave. An out-of-date passport can cause even more problems. Keep your passport secure and ensure it has a minimum of six months left until expiry before you travel. Make two copies of it and your insurance and leave one with a friend and the other in your case.
5. Mind Your Baggage
Don’t leave your bags unattended or with someone you have just met, as insurers will deny claims for anything stolen. Same story if you are intoxicated. On the upside, travel insurance can cover extra costs if your airline loses your bag.