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Travel | Rethink buying the cheapest travel insurance! 5 things to learn from my experience.

Here is a brief story time and I hope my sharing this, my experience can be your lesson. The year was 2016, and I was returning to a destination I had previously visited solo. This time however, I would be staying at a friend’s apartment for a few days before moving onto another city. Little did we know that once I arrived, someone in the apartment complex was monitoring our movements. So unfortunately when we were out sightseeing one day, I had a number of items stolen from the apartment. It was frustrating but I am thankful that no one was hurt, after all, material things can always be replaced.

Whilst we were shaken up at the thought of someone monitoring our movements, as well as breaking and entering, I had some comfort knowing that I had remembered to purchase travel insurance. It may have been one of the cheapest option that came up on a well-known search comparison website, but hey I was sufficiently covered right? Wrong.

After the theft took place, and our nerves had settled somewhat, I read through my policy to find out what to do next. Later, upon returning from the police station where I had reported the incident, as the policy advised, I read through it again but this time with a fine toothed comb. Here I learnt just how large my excesses were, essentially how much I would have to pay towards the items taken, and as such would be deducted from the amount the insurance company had to pay out to me.

In sum, of the hundreds of pounds worth of items and cash I lost in the theft, I received a pay out from my travel insurance company of about £80, which was simply laughable. I am fortunate to have been in a position to have been able to replace most of the items after some months, but if this had been a few years earlier, I may not have been able to. The significant shortfall meant I felt like I lost out twice, both through the theft, and through having to pay out to replace things.

Even worse was the thought that I paid about £12 for travel insurance for a one week trip, and if I had added just a few more pounds more, my experience would have been very different. Of course any travel insurance is better than none at all. But through this, I have learnt so much more about the process of buying travel insurance and hope my experience will help you. The five main lessons are:

  1. Do not go for the cheapest option – quite simply, you probably will not be adequately covered.

  2. Read the policy document before buying – ensure you read the policy document/policy wording document carefully and thoroughly before purchasing your policy, in order to understand its coverage.

  3. Avoid policies with high excesses – These are payments you agree to cover, so will be taken off any total amount of payout due. If the policy includes high excess payments, you will not receive much from the insurance company if you ever have to make a claim. Most of the lowest costing travel insurance policies include very high excess payments.

  4. Check you have sufficient coverage – Insurance is there in case something happens and we always hope there will be no need to use it. But if the worse case happens and you do need to make a claim, you want to be confident that you are sufficiently covered. Be sure you understand what the policy offers you, will they pay out for your total loss of cash or is it limited to a certain amount? Are you taking part in any sports or activities that require a special type of coverage? Will they be able to pay for your overseas medical care if required? Ask yourself these questions and be confident of the answers.

  5. Check if you are already covered through your bank account and/or credit card provider – for a monthly or annual fee, some banks and credit card provider perks include travel insurance. Again have a look and check what benefit it provides.

Since this experience in early 2016, I have used World Nomads UK travel insurance and I am very happy with the coverage they provide. The only downside is they do not currently provide annual insurance policies, which would be great for frequent travellers. Other than that, I am very happy with them and recommend you check them out.

Do you have any tips when buying travel insurance? Please comment below.


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