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Travel Insurance - Key things to be aware of

 There is no question that everyone should have travel insurance, and the cost should be incorporated into your holiday budget. However, before you press the 'Buy' button when purchasing a policy online, always look beyond the quote to see whether it suits your needs and covers all your planned activities. For the relatively small cost of travel insurance you could potentially get quite a lot for your money.

Travel insurance may not cover every single eventuality that could occur, but it certainly covers most of the common - and often costly - travel-related problems. There is a lot more to it than can be covered here, but to get you started here are five important reasons why you should have insurance:

1. Cancellation and Curtailment A typical policy will include Cancellation and Curtailment. Cancellation means cancelling before your trip begins. Curtailment means cutting short your trip. This provides for you and your travelling companion if a covered event occurs, such as:

  • Illness, injury or death of you, your companion, a close relative or business associate, or the person with whom you plan to stay
  • Being made redundant
  • Being called for jury service
  • Being posted overseas (armed forces) or called for duty if you work for an essential service (fire, nursing, ambulance, police, etc.)
  • A Foreign Office (or other government) advisory against travel to a certain part of the world (as long as this was not in effect at the time you booked the travel)
  • Failing a university (or equivalent) exam and having to re-sit

2. Scheduled Airline Failure We live in uncertain times, unfortunately, so why not have this cover in place - just in case. This is especially important for travellers who like to put together their own trips or holidays by booking flights and accommodation separately, the so-called DIY holiday. (A package holiday should include protection against airline failure if booked through a bonded company).

3. Medical Expenses and Hospital Benefit In most cases travel will go smoothly, but medical emergencies are usually beyond our control. For example, traveller's tummy often strikes no matter how much care is taken with eating and drinking. Taking ice in a drink in some parts of the world could be all it takes to pick up a nasty gastrointestinal bug.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy should include Emergency Medical Repatriation. This may be something you have never heard of, but it is certainly something to be aware of. If you are just taking a short trip to a neighbouring country you may think there is no need to worry. However, if you should be involved in a serious accident or become very ill or even fatally injured in any part of the world it may be necessary to transport you home by air ambulance with a medical escort. Additional seats may have to be purchased on a flight to accommodate a stretcher. Imagine the cost if you did not have insurance. Also, contrary to popular belief, your embassy does not pay these costs!

4. Catastrophe Insurance for natural catastrophes is a matter of concern for many travellers these days. Policies may vary in what they do or do not cover, and insurance may not cover any and all types of catastrophes. However, if a catastrophe should occur (such as earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire) insurance may cover additional travel and accommodation expenses to either continue your trip or return home.

5. Personal Effects and Luggage This is probably the issue that most people think of when they hear the term travel insurance. Having your luggage lost, stolen or damaged may not be the worst thing that could happen when travelling, but it could certainly cause inconvenience and disrupt your relaxing holiday.
Imagine the cost of having to go out shopping to replace all the items you had so carefully chosen to purchase and pack for your trip. Travel insurance provides reimbursement for these costs up to a certain amount, depending on the policy. Remember that it is important to keep all receipts!

Always check the levels of cover (especially medical) as well as the Excess (also known as Deductible - the amount you pay towards a claim). Cuts are often made somewhere to be able to provide such a cheap quote. For any further help or advice GetCover.ie Travel Insurance allows travellers to organize, and obtain, personal insurance products in an easy and painless way on-line.