When you’re in the midst of planning an exciting trip to far-flung distant places, having to bother with tiresome practicalities like travel insurance can be an unwelcome distraction.
But as much as we all want to focus on the romance and adventure of travel, insurance is a very necessary distraction. Without appropriate cover, you put yourself at considerable financial risk should anything untoward happen, from losing your luggage to seeking medical treatment abroad.
Unfortunately, getting the right travel insurance can be something of a minefield, especially for older travellers. So here, over-50s policy specialists Avanti Travel Insurance give a rapid fire guide to understanding the essentials you need to know.
Types of travel insurance
The main type of travel insurance policy you will come across is single trip insurance. Single trip travel insurance covers you for the fixed duration of your time away, and you pay accordingly for the length of your stay. The rates you pay will also vary depending on where you go, with most providers fixing bands by continent.
The other common type is annual multi-trip insurance. With this type of policy, you pay for a full 12 months cover. The benefit is that you can travel as many times as you like on the same policy, and go wherever you like for the same rate. If you plan to travel more than once in the course of a year, it may well work out cheaper than taking out single trip insurance each time.
Other types of policy provide additional protection for things like sporting activities or going on a cruise. Avanti advise that most specialist policies like these are only available as single trip insurance, and warn people against assuming their annual policy will cover them.
“If you go on a cruise, for example, you need extra levels of cover because onboard medical costs are so much higher than if you need to see a doctor or go to hospital on land. You won’t get this kind of extra protection on most annual insurance policies, so cruise insurance is nearly always single trip only.”
Travelling with a medical condition
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, Avanti says it is imperative that you declare it when you are buying travel insurance, and that in most cases you are best off going to a specialist provider.
“Standard travel insurance policies provide cover for medical treatment in a very general sense. They’re mainly intended for things like going to a doctor for a prescription, or in the most serious cases, to cover the costs of emergency treatment and repatriation.
“If you have an existing medical condition such as diabetes, a heart condition, epilepsy or even cancer, the possibility is you might need specialist treatment while you are away. In any case, the insurer will consider you a higher risk. If you don’t declare your condition, it could invalidate your insurance.
“If you do declare it, the insurer can either refuse to offer cover, or they will add a premium on top of the standard price. These premiums can be eye-wateringly high. Your best bet is going to a specialist provider who caters for insuring people with medical conditions. Not only will they offer you a fairer price, they will give you bespoke cover designed precisely for your medical needs.”