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Travel insurance isn’t the most exciting of purchases, but when it comes to holiday essentials, it’s up there with sunscreen and suitcases. Going away without travel insurance can leave you exposed to all sorts of problems. From being stranded without your passport, to losing your luggage, without insurance you’re on your own. However, while insurance is an essential, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We’ve got some great tips on how to keep your travel insurance costs down.
We’re still in Europe for now and travelling to countries such as France or Spain is cheaper in insurance terms than anywhere else. If you’re choosing a holiday location with insurance in mind then opt for somewhere safe and well organised, as this is always cheaper. Avoid destinations where there are security risks – look at the Foreign Office guidance for more information. It’s also worth remembering that the closer to home you are, the cheaper it will be. That makes destinations such as Thailand, America or the Caribbean pricier in insurance terms than Italy or Ireland.
There has been quite a rise in the ‘staycation’ over the past couple of years. While this used to mean simply staying at home, now the term is used for a holiday in the UK, rather than abroad. The UK has a lot to offer no matter what the time of year you’re travelling. From stunning coastline to mountain peaks and buzzing cities there is plenty to see and do. If you stay in the UK to holiday then you can minimise your insurance costs. You’ll have access to the NHS and that removes the need for any medical cover. It’s also worth remembering that your home contents insurance may cover your possessions if you’re not going overseas.
If you’re planning more than one trip in the next 12 months, annual insurance may offer a better deal than single trip. Savings are significant as long as you justify it with enough trips overseas. Other bundling options can also come in useful. For example, family insurance, couples or group policies are an easy way to save money.
It’s the most often repeated tip when it comes to insurance but still one of the best. Don’t take the first travel policy that you’re offered but look around at your options instead. You might find that upgrading your bank account gives you an annual travel insurance policy that works out as a good saving. Or perhaps you could be added onto the policy of a partner or family member. Failing that, browse online to see what’s available. Comparison sites are very useful and will give you like-for-like comparisons on policy content and cost. Try calling up companies to buy your insurance and see if you can negotiate the cost down on the phone. You may also want to try getting a travel agent to add it as a free extra if you book a trip in person and want to barter.
When you’re checking the options for insurance, make sure you’re only getting covered for the area in which you’re going to be. If you’re holidaying in Spain then you don’t need any coverage other than EU, for example. Try to find a policy that eliminates the more expensive countries. For example, by offering the option of ‘worldwide excluding USA.’ Remember that you may need insurance cover for the countries you pass through in transit, as well as those where you stay.
There are optional add ons for insurance that always drive up the price. Often these revolve around additional activities, such as skydiving or bungee jumping. If you want to keep the costs of insurance down then avoid dangerous sports on holiday. Make sure you find out which activities are likely to fall into these categories in advance. Insurance companies have considerably widened the scope of dangerous exclusions now, from skiing, to jet skiing.
Take a look at the other insurance policies you already have and make sure you’re not doubling up on cover. Some motor insurance policies, for example will cover you driving abroad. Your contents insurance may also provide coverage for your possessions out of the home for a limited period. Plus, in certain destinations you may only have to buy minimal health coverage – for example where you can make use of a local health system for free or low cost via something like the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley