As we head into summer, many people are planning their next getaway. It can be expensive paying for travel, accommodation, transfers and spending money. So, it’s smart to save money where you can. When it comes to travel insurance, is this something you need?

In this article we dive deeper into the importance of travel insurance.

Is travel insurance necessary?

Travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement to visit most countries. But it’s best to check the country’s requirements as things can change.

There are countries where claims restrictions will apply, or you may not be able to cover your trip at all. Check with the insurer that they'll cover you for travel to your chosen destination.

Although the country you’re going to may not need you to have travel insurance, it’s always best to have a policy in place. 

Here are three benefits of travel insurance:

1. You’re covered for medical emergencies: Cover for medical treatment can be very expensive without travel insurance, even if it’s not an emergency.

2. Cover for cancelled trips: Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to claim part or all your money back.

3. Cover for theft or loss: If anything happens to your personal possessions while travelling, you may be able to claim money back to replace them.

Taking out a travel insurance policy may feel like an added expense. But it means you can enjoy your holiday knowing you're protected if anything unexpected happens.

What are the different types of travel insurance cover?

There are different types of travel insurance cover and the main categories are:

Single-trip: taking one trip in the next 12 months, usually for a limited number of days.

Annual or multi-trip: covers two or more trips taken in the next 12 months.

Pre-existing medical conditions: covers your holiday even if you have an existing condition.

Worldwide: for trips outside Europe.

Winter sports: for activities like skiing and snowboarding.

Backpackers: travelling for two to 18 months, visiting multiple countries.

Adventure sports: for trips with higher risk activities like rock climbing and scuba diving.

Family: protection for the whole family under one policy rather than having individual cover.

Group: covers up to ten people travelling from one destination and to the same country.

Over 65s: specialist cover for people aged over 65.

Do you need travel insurance if you have a European or Global Health Insurance Card?

European (EHIC) or Global (GHIC) Health Insurance Cards are free. They enable you to get medical treatment for the same terms as residents of the country you’re visiting.

Although these cards reduce costs, they aren’t a replacement for travel insurance. Even with a discount, medical bills can still be expensive and they don’t cover you for theft, loss or holiday cancellations.

Choosing the right travel insurance

Here are our three tips for finding the right travel insurance for your next trip:

1. Evaluate your needs: do you need specialist cover?

2. Read reviews: research how current and past customers rate travel insurance providers.

3. Check exclusions: check exclusions: check insurers’ terms and conditions to make sure you have the cover you need.

What are common exclusions in travel insurance?

Here are some common scenarios that insurers may exclude from claim eligibility:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • High-risk activities or destinations
  • Cancellation due to known events
  • Intoxication due to alcohol or drugs

This is not an exhaustive list, so check the specific exclusions for each insurer.

How can I make a travel insurance claim?

Most insurers have a very clear travel insurance claim process. Here’s how to prepare if you need to claim:

  • Read the policy documents carefully to make sure you have the right cover for your needs.
  • When you travel, take your policy documents and the insurer’s emergency telephone number with you. Share the insurance details with family at home or people travelling with you in case they need to contact your insurer for you.
  • If you need to claim, contact your insurer as soon as possible to start the claims process.
  • Keep a record of what happened, receipts and documentation to support your claim.
  • It’s a travel insurance necessity to follow the claims process, be truthful and accurate.

In a nutshell

Travel insurance isn’t compulsory but it’s the best way to protect you and your loved ones when you’re travelling.

If you want to find the best travel insurance, research reviews to find the right provider for your needs. At Smart Money People, you can read travel insurance reviews from people just like you. Reading other people’s experiences help you identify the providers you can trust, and ones you should avoid.