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What to know

"A lot of people are unsure what travel insurance covers and think it covers everything from A to Z," says Paul Hudson, founder of comparison site comparetravelinsuranceireland.com. "But it doesn't, so you should always read the policy wording carefully."

He advises to call the insurer before you buy, asking questions and getting as much information as you can before you decide what to buy and from whom.

• Decision made, go online and purchase the policy that way. "Insurers are pushing towards online booking," says Hudson, "so it's often cheaper."

• When comparing, the main criteria to look at, according to Hudson, are cancellation, medical, expenses, baggage and excess limits.

• If there is a pre-existing illness, advise the insurer in advance or you may not be covered, and remember that all policies are different and even have different lists of what they consider a pre-existing condition to be.

• Hudson advises calling the emergency number for assistance and information on exactly what they require for the claim process.

• Remember, if you need to make a claim, you must have the required documents, such as the airline, police, doctor or hospital report.

• And a smart reminder from Hudson: "Make sure you have the emergency and policy number with you at all times."

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