What does a good travel insurance policy look like?
Any insurance policy should be geared around you and what you’re planning to do, but as a general rule, a decent standard policy will cover you for:
• Medical expenses – this one’s the biggie. Always make sure you have more than adequate health cover – if you’re travelling for a year then chances are you might need it at some point. Medical care can be expensive when you’re abroad especially if you end up having to use private hospitals. Make sure you’re also covered for emergency flights back home.
• Cancellation/curtailment – a year can be a long time away but life still goes on. If you find that you need to come back home for an insured reason, make sure this is part of your policy; it should allow you to return home and claim back what you’ve missed out on.
• Missed departure – if you’ve not even arrived at your destination then you should be able to claim compensation – reasons for missed trips could be due to strike action, bad weather or mechanical breakdown. Check that this is included in your policy if this is important for you.
• Baggage cover – nobody wants to be the last one at the baggage carousel thinking ‘where’s mine’ but it does happen, so make sure you’ve got enough cover to replace all your things.
It’s worth paying special attention to what your policy states about ‘valuables’ and ‘gadgets’ such as your tablet, smartphone or camera. They may not come under ‘belongings’ and there may be an upper limit on how much you can claim back if they’re pinched or damaged – don’t assume your expensive tech will automatically be covered.
• Personal liability – even if you’re not usually accident prone, accidents do happen. So if you find yourself at the receiving end of blame then you’ll want to be sure that you’re covered for any damages you might need to pay out for.
One last word of advice is to check the excess on your policy – some policies charge an excess for every different claim you make, rather than there just being one excess for the whole policy, so make sure you check the small print.