Check the small print: what might you NOT be covered for?

Enter your details into a travel insurance comparison site and you will be amazed at the range of prices quoted. How can they differ so much? The answer often lies in the small print: what has been excluded? What about if you’ve got a travel insurance policy as a part of a bank account or credit card package: have you ever actually read the policy? The Financial Ombudsman receives around forty complaints each week relating to travel insurance, so the moral of the story is never assume that something will be covered – always check.

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When you next take out a policy, ask what if

1… I feel like doing a bungee jump? With most insurers you will need to take out additional cover if you are going to be leaping off cliffs or out of planes. But it’s not just extreme activities that are not automatically covered; sports such as rugby, hockey and even golf are sometimes categorised as ‘hazardous’.

2 … I need to cancel my holiday? Asked when you want the cover to start, you are likely to give the date of your departure. However, if something occurs in the lead up to your holiday that means you need to cancel, your insurer is likely to argue that you are not yet covered. Consider starting it from the point of booking.

3 … I’ve got a pre-existing medical condition? Always declare your medical situation when taking out an insurance policy otherwise you risk it being void – and some insurers will decline your application. In the 2014 Which? travel insurance review, Explorer Travel Insurance was proud to receive the Best Rate status for its pre-existing medical conditions cover.

4 … the children in my party don’t belong to me? This is something to watch out for if you are taking your grandchildren or stepchildren on holiday. You may have ‘family’ cover, or believe they are covered by their parents’ family cover, but it is safest to check and have them named on your policy.

5 … I was drunk when it happened? Most policies will have a clause detailing their alcohol policy, and inevitably it can be a grey area.

6 …I lose my iPad? The cover of expensive items requires some scrutiny. Despite it now being the norm to travel with expensive gadgets – iPhones, tablets, etc. – the level of cover has generally remained the same.

We’ve all heard the stories of holidays initially marred by an accident or lost luggage, only to be totally ruined by an insurance loophole. No one enjoys reading through the terms and conditions – but you may just be thankful that you did.

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