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Travel insurance matters

Tue 14th May 19

When you’re travelling abroad – whether for business or for pleasure – travel insurance matters. But just how important is it and what’s new now that Brexit is on the cards?

If you’re overseas and the unexpected happens, travel insurance can help to protect you against big bills, whether for your health, for replacement or repaired items, or if your travel arrangements are delayed or cancelled.

Who needs travel insurance?

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) research, as many as 28% - that’s 9.9 million – of Brits who travelled abroad last year did so without the right travel insurance, took part in activities that aren’t covered by insurance policies or don’t have travel insurance at all.

This is risky business, and the same research found that the average cost of a travel insurance claim is £1,296. What’s more, the cost of medical treatment or repatriation can run into thousands of pounds. Treatment for a stomach bug in a US hospital could set you back £100,000.

Wherever you journey to, travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement and, as a nation, we may have been less focused on travel insurance as a necessity when travelling in Europe. With the potential of Brexit on the horizon, though, travel insurance needs to be taken seriously.

What do you need to travel in Europe?

With Brexit now scheduled for October 2019, the requirements for Brits travelling in Europe is still a big discussion point. And until we have a better idea of exactly how Brexit will happen, we don’t know how that will fully affect travelling in Europe.

Brexit or not, travel insurance is a good idea…for domestic travel through to long haul. For Europe, it’s also worth applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance, though, and this document goes hand in hand with travel insurance, covering you for emergency medical care in the local equivalent of a NHS hospital. The EHIC does not cover treatment if you find yourself in a private hospital. 

What will Brexit mean for travel insurance?

There has been speculation that the EHIC system will cease as a result of Brexit. Whenever Brexit eventually happens, though, current guidance suggests that your travel insurance will work as its been designed – unaffected by border changes.

Regardless of Brexit, at Ryan’s we recommend that a comprehensive travel insurance policy should be in place for any planned trips.

If you have concerns about your travel insurance and the effects of Brexit, make sure to check your policy small print. Your broker will be able to help you with this.

Choosing travel insurance

There are many different travel insurance options in the marketplace, and you’ll need to choose these in line with the journeys and activities you’re planning to do. To ensure your policy offers the most suitable cover, consider:

  • What type of trip are you taking?

  • Where are you going?
  • How long will you be away?
  • How old are you?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Will you be doing any sports or extreme activities during your trip?
  • How often will you be travelling over each 12-month period?
  • Who is going with you?

Then you will be able to work with your broker to ensure your policy covers as many of your travel requirements as possible.

What does travel insurance cover?

As well as medical costs, basic covers can include loss or damage to your baggage and your possessions, and theft. 

ABI research suggests that, in 2017, 86,000 people received £17 million of support following their baggage being delayed and money lost while travelling. If that lost baggage includes your passport, wallet and phone, your travel insurer should also be on hand with 24-hour assistance. 

Cancellations, missed flights, delays and repatriation if it’s necessary for medical reasons may also be covered.

Be aware of your travel insurance limitations

If you’re planning a holiday that includes more adventurous activities, you’ll probably need to add extra cover for those, possibly with a specialist provider. Sports cover can also vary between policies, so check the exclusions. This is especially important for winter sports and water sports.

Also check if cover for travel disruption is included, some policies exclude this covering you for cancellation only. 

You’ll also need to be aware that, if your travel plans include a country that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against, your travel insurance may become invalid. Check the FCO’s travel advice online regularly.

Travel insurance and Ryan’s

The covers included in your travel insurance can differ between insurers and policies. It’s important to check you’re covered before you leave and to read terms and conditions carefully before selecting a policy.

Chatting through your travel insurance requirements with your broker can help to find the best possible policy for your needs. To find out more about travel insurance from Ryan’s, call our Private Client Division on 01473 343300 .