Map and coffee

It’s that time of year again – travel insurance renewal time. I recently saw a question on Twitter from another travel blogger asking whether anyone actually needed travel insurance? Unfortunately I’m here to give you some boring old person advice…you definitely need it. It may seem like a waste of money on 95% of your trips when you don’t need it. But trust me, on that one trip when you do – it will be well worth it. So with that in mind – what are the fails you need to avoid when buying your travel insurance this year?

Well we’re not insurance experts and if you have any specific requirements it’s always best to take advice but here are 5 things we look out for when buying our travel insurance.

1. Make sure your destination is covered

Going somewhere exotic this year? Lucky you! Make sure your travel insurance covers you for where you are travelling. To do this you may well need to check the small print. The obvious one to check is if you’re travelling outside of Europe to make sure you have worldwide cover. Even if you do have worldwide cover be careful – we have found that some ‘worldwide’ policies exclude USA and Mexico. As a rule, your travel insurance will only cover you if the FCO have said it is safe to travel to that country and so many will exclude areas that are seen as less safe to travel to. Make sure your travel insurance covers where you need it to before you leave.

2. Are you covered for winter sports and watersports?

As well as where, you need to make sure your insurance covers what you are doing on your next trip. It’s coming up to ski season but many travel insurance policies do not cover winter sports as standard. So if you did get injured while skiing, you may not be covered. We would also recommend checking if you’re covered for watersports and excursions – it could end up saving you a fortune.

3. What’s the excess?

Does the quote for your travel insurance look too good to be true? It may well be. One of the things you always need to check before buying travel insurance is the level of excess. If you don’t know how excess works, this is the amount you have to pay before the insurance company will cover your costs. So for example if you have an excess of £1000 you will need to pay the first £1000 of any claim you make. Look for a great balance between a low premium and a low excess.

4. Going on multiple trips?

We go away a lot as you can imagine. Last year we went abroad five times. As we go away so often it makes much more sense to buy an annual travel insurance policy. If you’re going on multiple trips this year look at an annual multi-trip policy rather than a single trip policy. It could save you a fortune and mean you only have to renew your travel insurance once a year.

5. Shop around

Unlike many annual bills or expenses, travel insurance does not pay its customers for being loyal. Premiums go up and up and you need to shop around each year to get the best deal. It’s easy to do though – there are so many comparison websites that you can use to find the cheapest deal. If you use Compare the Market you can also get free cinema tickets. Simples!

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Alex is a solicitor at an international law firm based in London. He has always loved travelling and loves to eat like a local. His favourite destination is Peru where he spent a month travelling in 2009 with World Challenge.

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