Travel insurance and the age-old question, should I bother? It can feel like travel companies back you into a corner when it comes to insurance, with a whole host of complicated add-ons and hidden clauses. Yet, it all doesn’t have to be that confusing once you break it down. So, here are the basics on travel insurance, helping you decide what is right for you, so you can enjoy the holidays to the maximum.

What is travel insurance?

In the least complicated way, travel insurance is cover for both complications inside and outside of your control during your trip. These tend to include, but aren’t limited to, the following: medical, trip cancellation, baggage and flight insurance.

Most insurance companies provide package deals that include all of the above, rather than paying for each individually. You can opt out of certain clauses, say if you have medical insurance from your employer, but typically it isn’t any cheaper due to the nature of package deals.

The price of travel insurance will rarely exceed 12 percent of the total cost of your trip. Factors that influence the price, can include the political climate of destination to the age of the traveller to reasoning for travel. For instance, if you are going away to an unstable political nation, are above the age of 50 and will be skiing, you can expect quite a high insurance quota.

What do you really get for your insurance?

It’s all very well knowing the general concept of travel insurance but it is more important to know what you are actually getting for your money. Due to the fact, there are many different types of insurance packages, we will have a look at the important policies found in most package deals. As mentioned above, these are: medical, trip cancellation, baggage and flight insurance.

Medical

Arguably the most important aspect of travel insurance, medical insurance will cover you up to an agreed amount for the cost of hospital treatment and emergency flights home whilst on your trip.

The price of medical insurance will be included in the overall cost and usually starts at a base rate. It may increase depending on any pre-existing medical issues you have, the type of trip you are taking and where in the world you are heading to.

If you are travelling to Europe and your home nation is a member of the European Union, make sure to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will entitle you to state healthcare when in an EU country. However, it is important to note that an EHIC will only cover so much of your medical costs and will not cover an emergency flight home or more pricey procedures.

Trip cancellation

This policy will cover you for any non-refundable charges or loses that take place if you cancel a prepaid flight or tour. The cancellation will have to be for an acceptable reason which usually include: sickness, missing flights due to circumstances outside of your control (strikes, weather etc) and the travel company you are booked with going out of business or being unable to fulfil the agreed trip.

If you are travelling with a reputable airline company the price of your trip cancellation cover will stay at its normal base rate, included in the overall price of the insurance.

Baggage

Baggage insurance covers you for any luggage that is lost, delayed, damaged and in some cases, stolen. There will be a cap on how much the insurance provider will reimburse you, so make sure to take this into consideration when choosing your insurance package. If you are taking valuable possessions with you, consider purchasing the more expensive packages for greater cover.

Some home insurance providers include possession insurance when travelling, usually one item up to a certain price, so it is worth double checking that as well!

Flight insurance

Flight insurance will protect you from a range of complications relating to the actual flying of your trip including airline failures, delayed departures and hijackings. These are rarity on flights but are nonetheless important if anything were to happen.

So, should you get travel insurance?

When it comes to travel insurance the timeworn proverb, ‘Better safe than sorry’, sums it up perfectly. The chances of you needing hospital care, losing your baggage or your plane being hijacked, are quite low. Yet, it’s not impossible (not to have you worry though!) , the peace of mind knowing you have insurance can make all the difference during your stay.

When you compare the price of travel insurance to the cost of medical care outside of your home nation, it certainly makes sense to protect yourself. According to the Association of British Insurers the treatment of a broken arm in Spain will set you back £11,000 whilst a heart attack with transport back to the UK will cost a huge £86,000. Whereas you can get travel insurance from Virgin for a two-week trip for as little as £36.17 per person.

Of course, the choice is up to you, in some cases you may decide the trip doesn’t warrant the need for insurance. Nonetheless, it can do no harm researching into the different travel insurance providers around, you will more or less always find a deal that both fits your budget and covers the necessary policies which are right for you. That way you can ensure your mind is at peace and that your trip will go as smooth as possible!

Susan Brown is an editor and writer at earlyretirement.ie, the leading pension recovery company in Ireland.