If you’re going to read just one page in this website, this should be it. No matter what type of travel insurance policy you plan to take out, or which provider you get it from, follow the advice here and you’ll avoid the most common and potentially expensive travel insurance pitfalls.
Some of these tips might seem obvious or simple, but it’s not a bad idea to have a checklist as you have plenty of other things to think about if you’re going on holiday, and probably don’t want to spend too much time choosing travel insurance.
You DON’T have to buy travel insurance from your travel agent
As much as they’ll tell you it’s a good idea, you can always find a better deal than what your travel agent will offer. And, it isn’t any easier to claim on your insurance if you’ve booked your insurance and holiday together, you’ll still be dealing with a separate company.
Use a regulated travel insurance provider
It’s simple, if you want to make a complaint and the travel insurance provider you took out a policy with isn’t registered with the Financial Regulator, you don’t really have a leg to stand on. As a consumer, you can choose to use the services of any company you like, but make sure the one you use is regulated. It makes it more likely that they’re trustworthy in the first place and if they’re not, you’ll have the very mighty clout of the Financial Regulator behind you. You can check whether a company is registered on the Financial Regulator’s website.
Employer provided travel insurance
Some people have travel insurance provided as a benefit by their employer. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those people, don’t forget about it and buy a travel insurance policy. If you do have this employee benefit, it is still important to check that the policy provides adequate cover.
Read the paperwork
It’s boring, the print is deliberately so small that it makes your eyes hurt after the third sentence, but you must read your travel insurance policy thoroughly before deciding if you want to sign it or not. And, if you have any questions, ask! It’s the insurance provider’s duty to ensure you understand their product, or at least they must answer your questions. Insurance documents are filled with jargon so don’t be afraid to ask what something means.
Pre-existing medical conditions
A pre-existing medical condition can cause travel insurance premiums to sky-rocket, so while it can be tempting to lie, if you fail to mention something relevant, you’ll invalidate your policy. This point demonstrates how important it is to shop around different insurance providers to ensure you get the very best deal and have adequate cover for all your requirements.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
As an Irish citizen, you can save money, time and hassle by carrying a European Health Insurance Card with you on holiday in the EU. This is NOT a replacement for having comprehensive travel insurance. The EHIC will enable you to claim medical treatment to same level as you would in Ireland, when you are in another EU country. It will not cover the costs of returning home following an accident or illness (otherwise known as repatriation).
Some insurance providers will waive the excess on a travel insurance policy when claiming for illness, if the customer has a EHIC. Also, if you require basic medical treatment abroad, that doesn’t involve expensive repatriation, you could avoid making a claim and therefore avoid paying an excess.
With an estimated 50% of travellers falling ill while on holiday, travelling with both an EHIC and travel insurance is by far the safest option.