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Travel Insurance - 10 Top Tips

By: Smith Chen

Insurance is one of those areas that is generally unavoidable; you'll need it in some form or another somewhere along the line. For the majority of us, that just happens to be every day.

One area always in the spotlight one way or another is travel insurance. Yet many of us still aren't sure if it's something we really need and to this end, many of us travel without it every year. Here are 10 top tips to help you make the right decision.

  1. It is a common myth that if you take the European health card (E111) with you when you travel, you will be covered for anything that goes wrong. This is not the case. The card is just there to be given to a hospital, etc, in an emergency so they will treat you (this is still a must have for this reason). You will still be billed for any treatment you receive in a private health care system. For this reason, holiday insurance can be invaluable.

  2. When applying for your insurance policy, you must inform the company of any/all medical conditions you suffer from, no matter how small or insignificant they seem. This could prove to be something that voids your policy if you do not. You will find that this most probably increases your premium, but it is worth it to keep your policy valid.

  3. When looking for cheap travel insurance, be careful to check that you are not losing out on any coverage that you will need, such as theft and cancellation of holiday/flights. You may find that some policies really are too good to be true and cover you for the bare minimum.

  4. If you are planning to go on a trip that may include activities that could be viewed to be dangerous by the insurance company, you may find that you will not be covered under most policies. You will need to find a policy aimed at covering for such activities, i.e. a winter ski policy or adventure holiday insurance. If you are thinking of backpacking, it would similarly be best to look for a backpacker's policy.

  5. The majority of companies offer single, multi trip, family and annual policies. If you are going to travel just once in a year as a single person or a couple, it will work out cheaper to apply for a single trip travel insurance policy. If however you will be traveling 2 or more times, a multi trip policy will save you money. The same applies to a family group. Finding separate policies will be expensive. It is better to opt for a family policy and you will save money and most probably receive cover for children (under 18) free.

  6. Always check excesses on the policy you choose. Most policies are peppered with them and finding a policy with a better or no excess in an area you think relevant is prudent.

  7. An important thing to remember in regards to item/theft insurance is; if you leave valuables unattended/out of sight, you will not be protected.

  8. An important “don't" is not to let your holiday provider package the holiday insurance for you as it will work out much more expensive in the long run. In less than a couple of minutes, you can find a much cheaper quote on a comparison site. Research from Alliance and Leicester has shown UK holiday makers overspend by 1.3 billion on travel insurance each year for this very reason.

  9. It is important to remember that the insurance company will not pay out for an accident caused whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  10. Finally, in research done by the internet company Moneysupermarket.com, it was found that you should ensure you have the following amounts of cover as minimum: Medical expenses 2m, personal liability 1m, cancellation 3,000, baggage 1,500, cash 250, a 24 hour emergency line and cover for legal costs and finally financial ombudsman service membership in case you need to complain.

Insurance and Roadside Assistance for Your Caravan Holiday
It is not until your vehicle breaks down that you realize just how much you really need insurance and roadside assistance. This is even more compounded when you are a long way from home on a holiday and you have no other way of getting anywhere or doing anything if your car or caravan has broken down.

You can not put a monetary price on your peace of mind. Insurance and roadside assistance provides that peace of mind when you are traveling so you can just enjoy your holiday.

Insurance
Before you take out your insurance, make sure you read and understand what is actually covered. Make sure it covers everything you need for the activities you have planned for your holiday and also covers the areas you intend to visit and stay. If you intend on going off the beaten track, doubly make sure this is covered. Check out the “extras", including such items as a free car hire in the event of an accident and if this appeals to you it may be worth paying the little bit extra. Prices can vary quite significantly so shop around first.

Make sure your comprehensive insurance covers both your vehicle and caravan. The benefits are obvious: the loss of some personal items within a vehicle is covered, as is damage to the vehicle through theft, vandalism or accident. Perhaps the most important benefit is the peace of mind you will have knowing you are covered if you are unfortunate to need insurance. Make sure you carry copies of your insurance policies with you when you are on the road.

Roadside Assistance
Many new motor vehicles are sold with a manufacturer's warranty that includes roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown. The warranty varies from one to three years or “X" number of kilometres, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Check your policy carefully before you go. Make sure it covers the kind of travel you intend and the places you want to go. Details of your roadside assistance package, including contact numbers, are usually contained in the glove-box folder.

If you are not buying a new vehicle and not covered as above with your existing vehicle or you do not think the warranty offered is suitable, you should consider becoming a member of your State based motoring organization. Similar to your insurance and roadside assistance, you will only fully realize the benefits of becoming a member if you break down and need them. The State based organizations all offer reciprocal breakdown assistance around Australia .

Different levels of membership are offered, so check out what is most suitable to you. If you are planning towards more adventurous activities you may wish to go for the top level cover, which in most areas offers unlimited service calls and free towing. Motoring organizations also offer travel advice and sell maps, guide and car accessories. Once you have used their services, you may decide that the membership fee was the best money you ever spent.

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About The Author, Smith Chen

Smith Chen is an author and internet marketing consultant.

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