Saturday 18 November 2017

Travel Insurance: Will it pay out when you need it?

Travel Insider

The travel dream. But how to make it a reality?
The travel dream. But how to make it a reality?
Travel insurance - have you read the T&Cs? Photo: Deposit
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Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Passport? Chargers? Pre-existing conditions?

You may not pack your diabetes, asthma or coeliac disease in that wheelie case when you go on holidays, but you’re taking it with you.

And if you haven’t declared it to your travel insurer (and often paid an extra premium), you may not be covered for any medical, personal accident and cancellation expenses relating to that illness overseas.

‘Pre-existing conditions’ are not limited to cancer and  heart disease. There are blanket exclusions, but they can also include any medical condition for which tests or treatment have been recommended or received — even if you haven’t yet been diagnosed, or are easily managing it and living a normal life. Insurance is only useful if it pays out when you need it, and failure to declare your circumstances could stop that happening.

Travel insurance - have you read the T&Cs? Photo: Deposit
Travel insurance - have you read the T&Cs? Photo: Deposit

Phew. Small print is a big head-wrecker. And given our busy lives, it’s easy to forget or brush over disclosures like this.

Insurance companies should explain their policies on pre-existing conditions before you buy, but there’s an onus on you to read the read the terms and conditions carefully too.

I was recently quoted €16.80 extra  to cover my own asthma for a year, for instance.

Don’t assume all policies are the same. All companies have their own T&Cs — though it is worth noting that if your private health insurance covers you abroad, you may not need additional screening.

Whatever you do, don’t withhold information to save money. A short-term saving could cost you dearly down the line.

Travel Disruption

Caribbean hurricanes. Strikes in France. Ryanair cancellations. This month has been a case study in travel disruption, but what exactly are you covered for?

Less than you may think... unless you add travel disruption cover, a catch-all that covers transport and accommodation expenses due to unforeseen events.

“I advise all of my family and friends to take it,” says Ciaran Mulligan of Blue Insurance, who says it covers “99pc” of delay and cancellation scenarios.

It can cost around €15pp a year, but cover extends to around €1,000pp.

5 Top tips

1) Travel regularly? Annual, multi-trip policies work out cheaper than single-trip policies.

2) Cancelled flight? Your first port of call should be the airline, which is obliged to offer a refund or re-routing (with certain care and assistance) at no extra cost.

Depending on your policy, travel insurance may not cover you here... unless you have travel disruption cover (see above).

2) Check the exclusions and extras. Some activities, like winter sports, cost extra.

3) Aged 64? Think of renewing with a two-year policy. Prices jump at 65.

4) Renew by phone, talk through your individual circumstances and ask for a discount. I got 10pc off my latest premium simply by asking.

5) Check the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (ccpc.ie) before you buy. Made a complaint? Unhappy with its resolution? Take your case to the Financial Ombudsman (01 662-0899; financialombudsman.ie).

Read more:

Top 10 Car Hire Tips: How to save money on your holiday car rental

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