Whether you are looking to make the most of living as an Expat or are planning a trip abroad Travel Insurance can prove invaluable in the case of an emergency. Travel insurance covers Medical Expenses, Cancelation, Curtailment, Legal Costs and Personal Belongings while you are away.
By far the most important of these is medical cover. If you fall ill or are injured while abroad it is unlikely that you will be eligible for free State Healthcare nor is it likely that your personal health insurance at home will insure you outside your home country. It is therefore essential that any travel insurance you take out covers you for medical expenses as cost can run into the thousands or even millions.
It is vital that you declare any past or pre-existing medical conditions as a reoccurrence of these conditions may invalidate you insurance if they have not been declared before you travel. Similarly if you want to take part in activities that may even seem relatively low risk to you, you may need to take out additional coverage.
Most travel insurers have a team of nurses in their call centres that can advise you on where to go for different medical aliments or coordinated search and rescue for you and If it is necessary your insurer can even arrange for repatriation back to your home country, either in specialist air ambulances, stretchers on normal flights or upgraded seats.
You can also protect against cancelation and curtailment of your trip should a close family member fall ill or pass away close to or during your trip. However if they have a pre-existing health condition then it must be declared before you travel. It is also important to understand that ‘close’ only refers to their closeness from a biological or legal point of view and cover does not normally extend to extended family or close friends.
Cancelation can also be caused by excessive traffic on the way to the airport or ferry terminal, providing you can prove you left a reasonable amount of time for the journey. Some policies will also cover cancelation due to the death of close relatives, as laid out in curtailment, or damage to your home that prevents you from traveling.
While traveling you can become liable for legal costs if you are implicated in a crime, are held liable for an injury to another party or have a civil disagreement with a tour or accommodation provider. Although this is usually only available as additional cover it can be invaluable in not only reimbursing for the cost but also, with some policies, providing support through the legal process.
Furthermore insurance for any lost luggage may be included for any bags that are delayed by over 24hours (dependant on your policy). You can usually claim for a replacement set of clothes to tie you over, within a set limit.
When you return it is important that you contact your insurer as soon as possible if you wish to make a claim. You will often require evidence of your costs such as receipts and proof of loss, theft or medical treatment in the form of incident reports, medical letters etc. If you are unable to provide sufficient evidence of the costs you have faced abroad or the value of personal belongings then your claim may not be fully paid or can be rejected completely.
As we said at the start travel insurance is vital and we strongly recommend ensuring that you are covered for medical expenses including any pre-existing conditions you may suffer from. If you come into difficulty while away your insurance company can advise you or even arrange support for you. Once you return you must open your claim as soon as possible as many insurers have time limits on making a claim.
Hopefully you will never need you travel insurance but it is certainly worth having it there just in case