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Is your travel insurance worthless?

You’re going on holiday and you want to make sure you’ve got everything you need. Your passport is packed, your factor 50 is bought and you’ve got your travel insurance sorted. But not all travel insurance is created equal – and you could find yourself out of pocket if you don’t pick carefully.  

Comparison website comparethemarket.com found that nearly a third (32%) of single-trip policies do not cover missed connections in the UK, and 14% do not pay out for missed flights.

Furthermore, nearly half (49%) only covered items valued at £250 or under and just one in 10 offer cover for items valued at £500 and above. So if you’re bringing laptops, mobile phones or cameras that cost more than this, you could find yourself shelling out more than you think.

It’s no wonder we get confused sometimes, as the survey also showed the terms and conditions of travel insurance policies average more than 26,000 words – the longest of any insurance policy type.

So, what should you be looking for? We tell you the headlines so you can make sure you are covered properly – without having to read a small essay to do so.

Travel insurance essentials

Firstly, there are some features every policy must have.

The most important thing travel insurance covers for is your medical expenses – i.e. the cost of emergency medical and surgical treatment when you’re away. You should be looking at cover of £1 million or more for travel to Europe, and £2 million or more for the USA.  

For missed departures, look for cover of £500 or more. Remember, you won’t be covered if the missed departure was your fault – no insurance company, however good they are, will pay out if you haven’t allowed sufficient time to get to the airport, station or port.

For baggage cover, which is probably the most likely reason you will need to use your travel insurance, look for policies covering you for £1,500 or more. There are usually separate limits for single articles, valuables and baggage delay – so, if you are bringing valuables that will be expensive to replace, make sure you take a look at this. You will need to report all losses within certain time periods and get a written report from your airline if they lose your baggage.

Travel insurance pitfalls

There are some things that you must check before you pick your travel insurance policy, especially if you’re going away for a while.

Look at the maximum number of days that you are covered for whilst outside of the UK in any policy period. A good policy should be 120 days or more. Check out your trip duration as well – you want to be looking at 30 days or more cover per trip, ideally.  

Also check no receipts are required for a baggage claim. Some insurance companies will insist on proof, in the form of a receipt, for all baggage items or for all items above a certain value. This is a headache you won’t need when your items have just been lost or stolen.

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  • Richard Hussey / 19 June 2017

    I have lost my luggae twice whilst travelling Both times I was fully insured and neither the airline nor the insurer would pay up unless I could provide receipts for all the items lost, including clothing, underwear, toiletries, sundry items and the luggage itself; all of which I had to replace at my own cost. Who keeps receipts for these things? No-one and they know it when they take the money off you. Insurance fraud works both ways. Buyer beware!