Travel insurance. guide

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1 Travel insurance guide

2 Introduction Many people deeply regret not taking out travel insurance. They think their credit card accident cover, home insurance or private health cover is sufficient and often don t find out what exactly they are covered for until something goes wrong. This guide has been produced by the members of the Seniors Together Money Task group to encourage you to read the small print and buy the insurance that suits your needs. The aim is also to raise awareness of the importance of purchasing insurance before you travel. We have been concerned to hear a number of stories recently where older people, who finding it difficult to purchase affordable travel insurance, decided to travel without it. With this in mind the group have produced the guide to provide some basic information on travel insurance and to encourage you to seek clarification for the topics that you are not sure about and to ask you to look closely at your travel insurance policy so that you know exactly what you are covered for. We hope that this will in turn help you to have a happy and safe holiday :-)

3 Travel insurance tips Don t just compare the prices of travel insurance products, compare also the benefits of the cover, the exclusions on the cover and other product features. Sometimes, it s useful to have a cooling off period, in which you are able to decide whether or not the policy really meets your needs. If it doesn t you can cancel your policy for a full refund. Should you be planning to travel abroad on more than a single occasion in a year then you will almost certain save money by buying an annual multi-trip - travel insurance policy rather than a single travel insurance policy each time you go. Sometimes your travel agent or tour operator may tell you that you have to buy their travel insurance in order to buy a holiday from them, maybe as part of an inclusive deal. Only take this if the total cost is rewarding, compared to buying the holiday and travel insurance separately. What should my travel insurance policy cover? Medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad. 24 hour emergency service and assistance. Personal liability cover in case you re sued for causing injury or damaging property. Lost and stolen possessions cover. Cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover. Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such as jet skiing.

4 The policy should cover the whole time that you re away. Your policy may also have: personal accident cover legal expenses cover Financial protection if your airline goes bankrupt before or during your trip. Travel insurance policy exclusions Always check your policy for conditions: Most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents. 60% of travel insurance policies now cover terrorism. Where possible, ensure that your policy does not exclude terrorism. You must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you. Buying travel insurance Make sure you have the international helpline number for your travel insurance company, along with a copy of your policy, with you all the time. Your wallet is not necessarily a good place to keep this information, as it could well be the item that gets lost or stolen and you want to claim for! Shop around to find a good price and the right product rather than opting to travel without cover. Cheaper policies will usually have less cover for some the price seems most important, but is it worth the initial saving? Consider annual multi-trip insurance if you make several trips a year you ll save time and money.

5 A good insurance policy will cover you for cancelling or cutting a trip short. Check carefully to see exactly what you re covered for: accident illness jury service or witness summons home emergency, fire, storm or flood, burglary strikes bad weather affects the departure of flights and ships Always make sure that the policy you buy will: refund the full cost of your holiday pay out if you need to cancel or cut short a trip because you fall ill for example cover pre-paid expenses such as excursions cover extra costs incurred to get home. Always ask your travel company if protection applies to your travel arrangements. If it doesn t, the company may be able to offer suitable insurance to cover you. If you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property they may sue you. Good travel insurance will cover you for personal liability. Travel insurance can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability or death.

6 European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for healthcare in European countries. It allows the holder to access state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge. The EHIC does NOT cover: all your medical costs private treatment repatriation to the UK. The EHIC replaced the E111 form in Jan The E111 form is no longer valid. Applying for an EHIC is free of charge. You can apply for your EHIC online or call Medical health insurance Arranging medical and health insurance is your responsibility. If you don t have it, you may have to pay thousands of pounds in medical costs if you fall ill or have an accident outside the UK. Always arrange travel insurance with health cover that is adequate for your destination. Do this before you go. The medical cover of your policy should be at least: 1m for Europe 2m for the rest of the world Check that your policy includes adequate medical cover, liability and legal expenses If you pick up a nasty stomach bug it could potentially put you in hospital. If you trip and break a leg, or sustain a serious injury it could result in very high medical bills for hospital treatment.

7 If an injury results in medical repatriation to bring you home by air ambulance the need for additional seats on the plane, and/or medical escort, could set you back many thousands of pounds. Your consulate or the airline does not cover these costs. Someone has to pay and - without insurance - that someone is you. As well as adequate travel and medical insurance, always check that your policy includes cover for air ambulance and medical repatriation. This is vital. Air ambulance fees to bring you back to the UK from your holiday destination could potentially cost thousands of pounds alone, and up to a staggering 50,000 from the USA! If it is necessary to fly you home on a stretcher with a medical escort the fees from even closer holiday destinations could be almost as financially devastating. Article source: Take out a policy with a 24-hour emergency service. Serious accidents or illness will all be managed by the assistance company. They will make any necessary arrangements and provide help and advice throughout the ordeal. The UK has mutual health care agreements with many countries, but these arrangements do not cover all the expenses you can incur for example: cost of relatives flying out (and back) accommodation for relatives bringing you back to the UK treatment in a country without a mutual agreement in an emergency you may be taken across a border to be treated. A good travel insurance policy will cover these costs.

8 Pre-existing medical conditions Always declare any current or past medical conditions you think might affect the cover. You may not be covered by your policy if you don t. Look for a specialist travel insurance policy if a standard policy does not cover you because of a medical condition. Some credit cards provide health insurance for travellers, but this may not be adequate for your needs Lost or damaged possessions You can normally choose the limit in your policy. Limits for single items such as cameras and jewellery can vary from as little as 250 up to 1000 or more. Check these limits are adequate and realistic. You should report a loss to the Police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will be required when you make your claim. Lost baggage on flights Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage. By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage. This is unlikely to cover the full value of your things.

9 Legal expenses cover Taking out legal expenses cover will help you to pursue compensation or damages following personal injury while you re abroad very important in countries without a legal aid system. If your travel provider goes bankrupt when you re abroad on holiday you need to know you won t get stranded without a refund. Fortunately there are several associations that exist to help protect and support you. Book your holiday through a reputable travel company Decent travel agents and tour operators will give you security by holding: an Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) membership with an approved body such as ABTA; the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust (ABTOT); the Association of independent Tour Operators (AITO); Bonded Coach Holidays (BCH); or the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) a suitable insurance policy Consumer pre-payments in a trust account such as a Travel Trust Association account. Many of the travel arrangements provided by these kinds of companies are protected in case of the financial failure of the travel company. You should, however, always ask your travel company if protection applies to your travel arrangements. If it doesn t, the company may be able to offer suitable insurance to cover you.

10 Credit card protection If you buy your tickets with a credit card, and your transaction is more than 100, your money is protected under the terms of the Consumer Credit Act. Your money may be protected even if the cost of your air travel was less than 100 and you paid by credit card, but you should claim within a reasonable time. Many credit card companies will also refund money if the airline you booked with goes bankrupt, including the cost of unused return tickets.

11 Seniors Together Money Task Group Seniors Together in South Lanarkshire is made up of organisations and older people representatives whose aim is to improve the quality of life for older people. It is a wide ranging partnership, which includes: South Lanarkshire Council NHS Lanarkshire Strathclyde Police the Pensions Service Her Majesty s Revenue and Customs the voluntary sector and most importantly, older people We cover the local authority area of South Lanarkshire and any older person or representative of an older persons group is welcome to join us. There is no membership fee. Our office is open from 8.45am till 4.45pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am till 4.15pm on a Friday.

12 Some of our achievements include: Partnership work with Department for Work and Pensions to develop a Customer Charter Supported the development of Hands on Projects in East Kilbride and Cambuslang/Rutherglen The Big Event an annual information and activity event for older people Secured Lottery Funds to deliver the Brighter Futures Peer Mentoring Project Produced, in conjunction with the Financial Education Team, Older and Wiser Money Advice guide Deliver and annual Finance Assembly for older people in South Lanarkshire The Money Task group progress on issues of money and finance that are important to older people and through our work with groups and individuals, travel insurance has been highlighted as a big issue. The group is made up of representatives from older people groups across South Lanarkshire and is supported by Seniors Together staff and partners from agencies such as the Pensions Service and South Lanarkshire Council Money Matters Service. If you have any other snippets in relation to this subject please contact the project office on: or at We will be happy to hear from you!

13 Useful organisations and further information Association of British Insurers (ABI) Phone: Web address: Financial Ombudsman Service The Financial Ombudsman Service aims to settle individual complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services. They are independent and impartial. The Financial Ombudsman Service is free. Phone: Web address: Foreign and Commonwealth Office The Travel and living abroad section of the FCO website runs a Know before you go campaign to help UK nationals to keep safe and healthy abroad. The FCO also has some useful information on travel insurance travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/travel-insurance/ Web address:

14 Macmillan Cancer Support Macmillan produce two useful booklets on travel insurance and cancer, Getting travel insurance when you have been affected by cancer and Travel and cancer. They are also campaigning to make it easier for people affected by cancer to get travel insurance. Further information can be found in their Recovered but not covered booklet. Available at: Documents/GetInvolved/Campaigns/Campaigns/betterdeal/ Recovered_but_not_covered.pdf Phone: Web address: The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) Commissioned by the Health Protection Agency and funded by the Department of Health. It provides travel health information for health professionals and the public. Web address: NHS Choices The NHS Choices website has some useful advice on the EHIC and on accessing healthcare abroad. Their travel insurance advice can be accessed on: travelhealth/pages/travelinsurance.aspx Web address:

15 Phone: for further copies or information about Seniors Together in South Lanarkshire or If you need this information in another language or format, please contact us to discuss how we can best meet your needs. Phone: Produced for Finance and Corporate Resources by Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. 1174/Dec12

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