Travel insurance at affordable premiums

Guide to single trip travel insurance

Introduction

The government sponsored Money Advice Service makes no bones about it – if you are going abroad then travel insurance or holiday insurance is a must.

There are a number of reasons for such an unequivocal warning, amongst the most notable of which are the following:

  • the travel insurance which may be advertised by your credit card, any treatment detailed by your private health insurance or government agreements on your medical emergency treatment abroad are all unlikely to offer sufficient cover;
  • at the end of the day, therefore, if you or your family need medical treatment abroad you may face very significant bills, likely to run into many thousands of pounds;
  • the cost of travelling home for emergency medical treatment or for aftercare following an accident may be expensive indeed; and
  • however dire the emergency and your need to meet the steepest of costs, however, these are not matters with which the British consular services are authorised to help you.

As an illustration of the central role occupied by medical insurance, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has reported that more than half of all travel insurance claims are related to incidents involving medical treatment or care.

In addition to the potentially life-saving provision of cover against the cost of emergency medical attention, however, travel insurance may provide valuable protection for a number of additional risks and perils.

If you need to cancel, postpone or cut your trip short, for example, you possibly stand to lose a considerable amount of money. Travel insurance typically indemnifies you against such losses.

Lost, stolen or damaged baggage may also be protected under the relevant travel insurance heading. Some of your possessions may continue to be covered even when they are out of the house and you are travelling. Nevertheless, this cover is likely to be significantly restricted. You might also find that the excess attached to claims on your home insurance is higher than a claim on your travel insurance.

Travel insurance may also be important in offering personal liability cover – protecting you against claims from anyone alleging that something you have done, or failed to do, has led to their personal injury or loss or damage to their property.


Different types of cover

There are any number of reasons why you might be going on a trip abroad – on business, for example, or on holiday. Similarly, the duration of your trip may vary, along with the number of times each year that you travel abroad. And that is not to mention the whole host of activities in which you might participate whilst you are away.

These are all differences – along with the need to safeguard against a wide range of risks and perils – which have contributed to the differentiation and diversity of travel insurance policies available.

It may be helpful, therefore, to examine some of the broad categories into which different kinds of travel insurance may fall:

Single trip

  • single trip travel insurance is probably the most common and, just as it says, provides the cover you need for a single trip abroad;
  • it is almost certain to be offered whenever you make your travel arrangements, by the agent, airline or shipping line involved and is therefore a precaution you are unlikely to overlook;
  • however, it may be worth resisting the temptation simply to click on the offer of insurance sold by third parties such as this – since these may be experts in their own field of travel but no specialist when it comes to insurance, yet they are still likely to take their commission on the sale of insurance, thus increasing its cost;
  • instead, therefore, you might prefer to buy your travel insurance from an independent specialist provider – such as those of us here at Bengo Travel – where you may be assured of expert advice on the cover you need and quotations based on a competitive market rate;

Multi-trip

  • similarly self-explanatory is the broad category of multi-trip travel insurance policies – which offer cover for any number of times that you plan a trip a broad;
  • multi-trip cover is typically valid for a full 12 months and although it may keep you safely protected however many trips you make, you still need to bear in mind the maximum duration of any one trip or the total number of days you are covered in any one year;
  • on a trip for trip basis, such annual multi-trip cover may prove cheaper than a series of single trip policies, although you might want to bear in mind that in some instances you travel may be of a specialist nature or involve you in particular activities otherwise not covered by your all-in-one annual cover;

Long stay cover

  • because single trip and multi-trip cover typically limits the duration of any one period abroad, you might n interested in insurance protection that covers a longer period;
  • your trip might be an extended holiday abroad visiting friends or relations a long way from home; or
  • you might be a backpacker on a round-the-world gap-year adventure; or
  • you might be travelling overseas to fulfil a short-term contract for your work;
  • for whatever reason you are planning to stay away from home for an extended period, therefore, you might want to consider specially written long stay travel insurance – the duration covered is likely to vary from insurer to insurer, of course, but a typical long stay policy might give you up to 18 months of protection.

Whilst these broad categories may address the frequency of your travel and the length of time you are planning to be away, travel insurance may also be differentiated according to the way you intend to be spending that time.

For example, special forms of travel insurance address the particular needs of those enjoying the following kinds of holiday:

Cruise insurance

  • if you are lucky enough to be taking a cruise, the relevant travel insurance is likely to feature in your preparations;
  • if you are going to be on board a ship, the middle of the ocean is no place to be if you fall ill or have some other medical emergency;
  • although the cruise liner may have its own sick bay – staffed and equipped according to the ship’s size – more serious incidents might call for your being airlifted to the nearest onshore facility;
  • the cost of the medivac itself is likely to cost a great deal and if you then need an air ambulance back to the UK, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has given some examples of just how much this might cost too;
  • if something goes wrong with the travel arrangements you make to join your cruise and the ship leaves without you – you might be glad of any insurance provisions that compensates you for such failed connections and the additional cost of rejoining the cruise;

Winter sports insurance

  • rather more strenuous and physically demanding is likely to be a holiday skiing, snow boarding or involving any other winter sports;
  • once again, medical protection is likely to prove an essential element of your winter sports insurance with sufficient cover for the cost of any air lift that might be required from the slopes and treatment in a local hospital, until your repatriation back to the UK if this proves necessary;
  • but skiing holidays also depend on your being able to access your resort through accumulations of snow and for the slopes to remain open for your sport;
  • in the event that the weather prevents your being able to ski because the slopes have been closed, some winter sports travel insurance provides compensation;

Backpacker insurance

  • travelling backpackers may be more conscious than others of the need for economy – and money saving is likely to extend to insurance cover;
  • some insurers, therefore, offer different levels of cover to suit the pockets of various types of backpacker;
  • since the typical backpacker is likely to be young, free and with a taste for adventure, the cover may need to extend to a wide variety of extreme sports and activities;
  • some policies may also cover backpackers who are working their passage and take up casual employment in jobs such as bar work, restaurants, the hospitality industry in general or light manual work.

It may be apparent, therefore, that choosing the specific type of travel insurance to suit the type of holiday you have chosen may be a critical part of ensuring that you remain comprehensively protected during your travels.


Why choose single trip insurance

As previously mentioned, single trip insurance is probably the most widely used type of travel insurance.

There may be a number of reasons:

  • one might be the simple convenience of buying it on a one-off basis;
  • making your travel arrangements might give you just the reminder you need to arrange travel insurance too;
  • buying single trip insurance allows you to purchase the cover most suitable for your particular type of holiday and for the duration of the trip you intend;
  • typically, you are able to choose the level of cover to suit your individual needs and circumstances;
  • cover might also be tailored to your particular family circumstances – you may be travelling as an individual, for example, as a couple, as a family, or a single-parent family;
  • single trip insurance may be appropriate if you are making a one-off trip and have no definite plans or any other reason to think that you might be making multiple trips during the coming year;
  • tailoring your cover for just a single trip might allow you to choose the particular part of the world to which you know you are going to be travelling – and, so, potentially save money on what might otherwise be worldwide cover.

As already mentioned, however, you might be able to get a better deal – more comprehensive, appropriate and affordable cover – by purchasing it through an independent, specialist insurance provider rather than a third party agent.

Specialist providers typically maintain a website through which it is possible to request an obligation-free quotation for cover specifically designed for your chosen type of holiday or trip. You might also be able to inspect at your leisure the detailed insurance documents to ensure that you know just what is covered and what might be excluded.

When you are satisfied that the policy you have chosen does indeed meet your particular travel plans, you are able to purchase the cover online, through payment of a single premium to cover the entire duration of your trip, and receive by email your individual insurance documents.


What level of cover do you need?

The level of travel insurance cover you need is, of course, likely to depend on your individual needs and circumstances – the level of cover for one individual may be quite different to the protection needed by another.

The following guidelines, therefore, are based on typical levels of standard cover offered and those which our policies here at Bengo Travel offer:

Medical Insurance

  • it has already been mentioned that medical cover is likely to be the most important facet of your travel insurance;
  • typical levels of cover provide up to £1 million for treatment and care within Europe and £2 million in other parts of the world, whereas our policies provide as a standard feature of the most basic cover £2 million in any part of the world, or up to £5 million if you choose the enhanced level of cover;
  • if you are travelling in Europe, you may apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which provides for access free of charge to a basic level of emergency health care throughout the EU;
  • the level of cover provided by an EHIC, however, is very limited and does not offer the level of medical protection offered even by the more basic travel insurance policies;

Possessions

  • other elements of cover offered by Bengo Travel may also be higher than industry standards – cover for theft, loss or damage of personal possessions, for example is £2,500;
  • items of particular value are typically subject to a maximum value, which may be in the region of £400 for example;

Personal liability

  • standard travel insurance cover for personal liability – against claims that your actions or inactions have caused someone else’s personal injury or loss or damage to their property – is typically up to £1 million although enhanced cover of up to £2 million may also be available;

Curtailment of your holiday or trip

  • if your travel abroad needs to be curtailed for some reason, the level of compensation may vary widely from one policy to another – £3,000 under basic policies and £5,000 for enhanced cover, however, might be representative levels of cover.

The message, therefore, is that different types of travel insurance may provide different levels of cover. The protection you need depends on your individual needs and requirements, the type of trip you are making and, in some cases, where in the world you may be travelling.

In other words, it is important that you study closely the precise terms and conditions of your travel policy in order to ensure that it meets your needs.


Other considerations

When arranging your travel or holiday insurance, there are a number of additional considerations you may wish to keep in mind:

Excesses

In common with most forms of general insurance, travel insurance typically carries an excess in the event of a claim – the first part of any loss or damage for which you remain personally responsible;

The amount of excess may vary from one heading of the policy to another, from one type of claim to another;

FCO travel advice

Most types of insurance are founded on the understanding that you take every reasonable step to avoid the insured risks and perils;

As far as travel insurance is concerned, this may extend to your heeding the formal advice given from time to time by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO);

If you travel to parts of the world where an FCO warning against such travel is currently in force, your insurer may reject any claim you make under your travel insurance policy;

Honesty

Ii is a tenet of English common law that insurance contracts are “uberrimae fidei” – they are based on the utmost good faith of the contracting parties;

What this means is that you have a duty to be completely honest with your insurer, divulging all material facts when applying for your travel insurance and advising the insurer of any changes in your circumstances;

This is likely to be especially pertinent when making a medical declaration of any pre-existing medical conditions – it is important that you answer any medical questionnaire honestly and accurately, or run the risk of the insurance becoming invalid, null and void.

Depending on your particular needs and circumstances, of course, there may be other considerations which you wish to keep in mind when arranging your travel insurance.


Conclusion

In these days when foreign travel for many people is probably the norm rather than the exception, the principle of travel insurance may appear simple and straight forward.

In practice, however, travel insurance may be more complicated than it seems. In order to secure the cover you need and good value for money, it may be important to tailor your cover to suit the period of time you are likely to be away, where in the world you intend to be travelling and what you might be doing when you get there.

The answer to these questions may lie with single trip travel insurance arranged by an independent, UK-based travel insurance specialist.