Often in the excitement of booking a holiday, we can forget about some of the finer details. The type of details that could make all the difference in the off chance that you or whoever you’re travelling with end up in some form of difficulty.
Whether it be medical cover, covering the prospect of theft or mugging, or even just the security of knowing that if anything happens your flights or hotel that may cause a cancellation prior to the big departure date, it’s nice to know that there is something there to break the fall if anything should go wrong.
You might ask yourself why travel insurance is necessary, and most people are of the opinion that ‘it will never happen to me’, but don’t let yourself fall into this trap. I have friends who have had the pleasure of working in a call-centre helpline for travel insurance and they never had a free moment. The phone lines were always red hot with various different emergencies and queries. This article is by no means a way to scare people into not travelling and I must stress that I could not be more pro-holiday. However, I thought I would help you break down an important part of the holiday planning process, as buying insurance and scanning through policy documents, as we all know, can be an unholy nightmare. So what insurance is best for you and what will suit your needs? I have gathered some useful information in this article for you.
I have picked the three most well known travel insurances and created a little travel insurance comparison in Ireland to focus on. I will go through some of the pros and cons of each, and hopefully by the end of this article the prospect of insuring yourself for your holidays won’t be anywhere near as daunting. :)
Ask yourself these questions
To start, when you’re shopping around for holiday insurance, you should have the answer to the following four questions in your head;
“What type of holiday are you going on?”
“Where are you going?”
“Who are you going with?”
“How long are you going for?”
It is a different story when you need a single-backpacker travel insurance in comparison to an insurance for a “simple” sun holiday to Spain with the family. When you know the answer to these four questions, this will cut out a lot of the speculative, fact-finding questions that insurance sales people will ask you on the phone in order for them to be able to make a sale. Once you hear information that is irrelevant to you, you can simply say so to the broker and they will be more direct to your needs. It is just a way of controlling the conversation or even a web transaction, so that you’re getting what you need and not paying over the odds that something that’s not worth a monkey’s to your plans!
Travel insurances Comparison
It can still be difficult for you figure out what travel insurance is best for you to buy or what a travel insurance should cost. With the below list of insurance companies I am hoping to help you understanding the conditions better and making an easier pick on your cover.
AA Travel Insurance
AA is a very pleasant travel insurance company to deal with and I always find that to make the process of looking for the correct policy so much easier. Your needs are addressed as soon as humanly possible. Also if you’re not comfortable on the phone, the website is easy to navigate and they are very clear as to highlighting what is and is not covered.
One big positive about the AA Travel Insurance policies in comparison to its competitors is that they offer you the option to purchase both single trip and annual multi-trip policies. They also provide you with the option of purchasing their policy without the requirement of already having your own private health insurance in place. The price of policies are pretty reasonable when compared to other providers too.
The major benefit of picking AA Travel Insurance as your provider would be if you like to take your car abroad often or do a lot of driving. Their support and cover for motor breakdown incidents when abroad are excellent. The major negative for me is that there doesn’t seem to be any cover in place for winter-sports activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Usually this is available as an optional add on with different companies but this does not seem to be the case on the AA Website.
Like AA, Multitrip.com offer you the chance to buy insurance just for single trips. I bought this cover for my own trip to New York last November and I was delighted by how easy the whole process was. The quick delivery of your policy documents is incredibly helpful, especially if you’re travelling to anywhere that requires a Visa to be organised prior to your departure, such as Russia or China.
A problem I have with the policies for Multitrip.com travel insurance is that they can split up a simple insurance policy into three separate titles (Essential Cover, Premier Cover, Premier Cover Plus) and charge more money with the benefits increasing each time. In the world of travel insurance, this for me is an unnecessary complication. Generally though, when compared to it’s competitors, the level of wholesale cover you get is better and more comprehensive than most.
VHI Multitrip is probably the most well known policy because they have the health insurance company’s name to piggy back on. However, the reason this is such a good policy is because the support systems that they offer their customers in case of various different types of emergency such as a 24/7 emergency line. The cover also offers you a benefit which looks after your house while you’re away and actually covers you when you are taking trips in Ireland too.
The problems with this policy for me are that you must have a private health insurance policy in place in order to be insured for travel. If you don’t have you’re own health insurance then the VHI will not cover you for your travel. They also don’t offer you the option of insuring a single trip, offering only year long policies instead. This means that even if you just plan on making one trip, you’re tied to a contract for a full year.
Watch Out for the Fine Print
The last few nuggets of advice for you would be the following:
Different insurance companies charge if you’re older than a certain age (i.e over 60 or 65). Plus there are also discounts for couples and families so be sure to research and ask!
If purchasing an annual policy, be aware that most companies have “Automatic Renewal”. So know your policies renewal date and remember to cancel it if you don’t need it.
Make sure that if you’re going on an adventure seeking holiday with dangerous sports, that your activity is covered under the policy you are buying.
Most policies have “trip limits”. So if you’re taking an extended holiday, make sure that your holiday falls within the trip limits of your policy or your cover will run out while you are away.
If you have any underlying health conditions, make sure you clarify straight away if it is covered, because some policies will not cover this demographic.
Regardless of which policy you chose, remember that holidaying is supposed to be fun, first and foremost. I pray that you will never be in a situation where you will have to avail of your insurance. However, if you are, it is nice to know that what you have paid for is the best option for you, financially and coverage wise.
The Guru is all about saving you lovely people a few Euro here and there, and making the holiday experience easier as a whole. So if even one person has picked up some useful information to help find the best travel insurance from this post, I know that writing this will have been worthwhile! :)
If you like what you've seen on this page so far, why not check out our shiny new podcast. Holidayguru's Gurucast is our newest way to inspire and interact with you beautiful people. Here you can learn about new and exciting places, pick up some great tips on how to save on your travels and also listen to interviews with some of the world's most influential personalities. Happy listening! :)