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Martin Lewis advises not to leave buying your travel insurance until the last minute

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Lucy Hancock
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Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert, named us as a leading travel insurance provider for pre-existing medical conditions.

He said that forking out on a holiday might leave you thinking it’s okay to buy your travel insurance nearer the time of your departure. Many people buy their travel insurance only a week before they leave for their holiday, but Martin warns us this could be risky:

“If you have booked your holiday, but don’t have travel insurance, do it tonight, otherwise you’re running a risk. Don’t leave it, that’s pointless.”

But why is it such a good idea to buy your travel insurance before you go on your holiday? Here’s some of the reasons why buying your cover before you travel is the best thing to do…

To cover not being able to go on holiday

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, travel insurance that covers you if you have to cancel your holiday because of an unexpected incident, is important.

After all, you may have a last-minute medical emergency and you won’t want to lose out on the money you’ve spent if you can’t travel. One of our customers, Melissa, had to cancel her family’s dream holiday when her daughter fell ill unexpectedly. Find out how we helped pick up the pieces, so Melissa and her family could re-book their holiday.

As long as you declare and cover all your medical conditions when you take out your policy, you should be able to claim for having to cancel your holiday up to your policy limits. That way, you can re-book your holiday at a later date, when you’ve got the go-ahead from your doctor that you’re fit to travel.

To cover medical emergencies abroad:

Not covering your medical conditions with personalised travel insurance could put you out of pocket. In fact, our recent study into how much medical treatment can cost you abroad, showed that the USA has the highest average price for a medical claim at £9,941. Travelling without cover, or leaving it until the last minute to get your travel insurance, isn’t worth risking.

Did you know 1 in 4 Brits rely on the travel insurance that’s included with their bank account? What many don’t realise is you’re often only properly covered by your bank travel insurance if you have no pre-existing medical conditions and are under a certain age. So, it’s important, especially if you live with a pre-existing medical condition, that you have the right travel insurance to support you if something goes wrong on your travels.

To cover flight cancellations:

Let’s say your flight is cancelled or badly delayed. The EU Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 states that it’s the airline’s responsibility to provide you with alternative transport or a refund. They may also pay for meals, refreshments and hotel accommodation should you need them during the delay.

But travel insurance can also cover the costs of having to cancel your holiday such as your pre-paid, unused accommodation, travel tickets and car hire – these can mount up so check the limits stated in the policy.

To cover for your delayed departure:

Bear in mind that many travel insurance policies cater for delayed departure too. So if the public transport you previously booked to your UK departure point is delayed for at least 12 hours due to: strike; industrial action; adverse weather conditions; mechanical breakdown; or a technical fault on your mode of transport, you can be covered – again up to the limits stated in the policy.

And should your flight be delayed or cancelled for over 24 hours and you’re not offered an alternative means of transport, delayed departure cover may also entitle you to abandon your trip altogether and claim back the costs up to the limits of your policy.

Please note, not all travel insurance policies include these aspects of cancellation cover as standard.

As always, it’s a good idea to make absolutely sure that you are adequately covered at the time you take out your policy. The level of cancellation cover you need of course depends on the cost and type of holiday you’re taking – we can adjust this to suit your individual needs, up to the limits of your policy.

To cover more than the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):

Martin said: “An EHIC is just for medical treatments in the EU but you might have to pay for it. If it’s not free for locals, travel insurance would pay for that.”

He goes on to explain that travel insurance often includes cover for repatriation and lost or stolen baggage including cash, cameras, even golf clubs and wedding rings, in addition to paying out for cancellation and delays – all of which you don’t get with an EHIC. What’s more, the EHIC does not cover countries outside the European Economic Area or ones without health agreements with the UK, making travel insurance even more important.

If you’re travelling outside of Europe, medical treatment abroad can be very expensive. We recently researched how much medical treatment abroad can cost and the importance of having the right travel insurance, particularly to cover any unforeseen medical treatment.

Martin advises that it’s always best to take out your travel insurance at the same time as booking your holiday. That way, you can be covered if the unexpected happens.

Lucy Hancock

by Lucy Hancock

Lucy Hancock is Staysure's Content Executive. As a specialist travel insurance provider, we aim to keep up-to-date with travel trends, all while offering tips on how to make the most of your holiday. Lucy travelled across Europe with Interrail in 2017, and her favourite destination was Budapest. She likes big books, big words and the colour yellow.