"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."