Travel insurance myths debunked

Posted on August 6, 2014 by Guest Writer
Travel Insurance myths - tag on a suitcase

Assumptions, misnomers or expectations—call them what you want—it’s essential to know what your travel insurance covers you for before you go away.

So the team at Staysure have put together a list of ten common travel insurance myths, thus empowering you to make an informed decision about what level of travel insurance you need ahead of your trip.

Myth 1 – You don’t need travel insurance if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

It’s true that a EHIC card will get you free or reduced cost emergency medical treatment on the continent, as well as in Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Armed with this free card you will be entitled to the same treatment that citizens of the country you’re visiting get.

However, not all state health care is to the same standard as the UK and you may have to pay for services that are free here. For example, in France ambulances and GPs have to be paid for, and you will find that the hospitals and clinics located in many popular resorts of Southern Europe tend to be private facilities—so even with the EHIC, you could end up receiving some hefty bills.

Plus, it does not cover the cost of flying you back home or extra accommodation should you fall ill abroad. Neither will it cover delays, cancellations or 24-hour emergency assistance.

If you have a Staysure policy, you must have a EHIC if you are travelling to the European Economic Area (EEA). But don’t worry, you can apply online for a card.

Myth 2 – If I buy travel insurance, I’ll be treated in a private clinic

Not necessarily—but as a rule of thumb, an ambulance will take you to the nearest hospital in a medical emergency—whether it is public or private. However, if it’s not a medical emergency and it’s not necessary, then you will not be covered for treatment in a private hospital.

It may be necessary to move you from a private to a public clinic or vice versa should the medical treatment you need warrant such a move, or if you are entitled to treatment at a local state facility, just in the same way you would use the NHS in the UK.

Myth 3 – A comprehensive policy will cover me for every possible incident, accident or occurrence

It’s important to remember that a comprehensive policy does not cover every eventuality—as many factors will determine whether you are covered. For example, being excessively drunk normally excludes you from cover if you do something reckless as a result of being intoxicated. There are also a number of sports that are not covered automatically while you are on holiday.

Some sections of our policy have specific situations listed that you can claim for, and only claims that fall within those listed situations would be met.

Myth 4 – Airlines won’t take responsibility for damaged or lost luggage

Not true—they do! All you need to do is grab yourself a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) if your luggage arrives looking worse for wear, or doesn’t turn up at all. They can be found on the website of the airline company you are travelling with or in the airport’s baggage offices. After filling out the details on the form you will get a receipt for the report, which you must keep safe as this will help the airline find the luggage or reimburse you for damage.

Some airlines may also give you an emergency overnight kit or a daily cash amount until your luggage arrives, but this will depend on the company.

Myth 5 – Activity related injuries are covered by regular travel insurance

This really depends on what activity you’re taking part in on holiday. There are some obvious ones that are not covered, such as big game hunting, weightlifting and tombstoning. While others are covered but don’t include personal liability, such as go-karting, wakeboarding and jet-skiing. On the other hand, winter sports can be added to comprehensive annual policies for an extra premium.

EHIC card

Myth 6 – I don’t need to buy travel insurance for a short trip

The truth is an accident can happen at any time, anywhere. So it really isn’t worth playing Russian roulette with your health—especially as repatriation costs can run into thousands of pounds, and this wouldn’t be covered by your EHIC.

Travel insurance covers cancellation before your trip too—meaning you would be reimbursed for unexpected emergencies such as medical illnesses, jury service and redundancy.

Myth 7 – I can’t afford travel insurance, it’s too expensive

In reality, travel insurance is relatively cheap when you consider the amount and levels of cover that each policy provides. There are a range of policies to cover all needs and budgets. It also depends on how long you are travelling for and where. Basic single trip cover to Europe starts at just £7.99*, which is not bad when you think of all the benefits that includes, such as:

  • Medical emergencies and repatriation up to £5m
  • Many pre-existing medical conditions covered
  • No upper age limit on our single trip policies
  • Baggage claims up to £300
  • Cancellation and Curtailment cover up to £500 as standard

Myth 8 – Cheap travel insurance is the best option

Cheaper policies tend to have higher excesses and don’t provide such a wide range of cover. Having said that, buying expensive travel insurance isn’t always the best option either. Price should be just one of the factors when choosing a policy.

Myth 9 – All my valuables and gadgets are automatically covered for loss or theft

This depends on how many gadgets or valuables you have. Generally speaking, most insurers have an overall limit for the amount you can claim for expensive items—at Staysure it is £500 on our comprehensive policies. For an additional premium you can also insure one single item up to the value of £1,000, with our comprehensive policies. The important thing to remember is don’t leave all of your valuables in one place on holiday, as the loss of an iPad, phone, camera and jewellery can put a massive dent in your finances.

Another important point to remember is that valuables are not exchanged on an old for new basis. This means that wear, tear and the age of your gadget are all taken into account when you are reimbursed.

However, it’s also worth noting that you may be covered under your household contents insurance.

Myth 10 – I’ve bought travel insurance, so my family are covered.

Only people named on the policy are covered. But what many people may not realise is that if a couple have a joint Annual travel insurance policy, both partners are covered to travel independently of each other, for example, if one partner travels away for the weekend on their own, they are still covered.

It’s also worth noting that children won’t be covered if they are not accompanied by a responsible adult. So if a 17-year-old is on a ‘lads’ holiday with other teenagers, he would not be covered under a family policy as there is no adult on the trip. However, a child on a school trip would be covered if a responsible adult over the age of 18 is present.

*Price is correct at the time of publishing, based on one person aged 18–65 on a Basic policy travelling within 30 days of purchase, excluding medical conditions.