Are you forced to cancel your trip at the last minute? Have you lost your luggage? Or were you involved in an accident and do you have to be repatriated as soon as possible? In such cases the best option is to rely on cover provided by travel insurance. Correction: good quality travel insurance.
You will frequently be offered travel insurance when booking a trip or flight. Don’t readily accept it, because travel insurance cover may already be included with your credit card or provided by your health insurance fund.
Always check first whether, and to what extent, you are covered – before entering into an extra contract and definitely before setting off on your journey.
When am I covered by travel insurance?
Trip cancelled because of force majeure? Flight delay or stay in hospital during your trip? A skiing accident or car breakdown en route to your holiday destination? Cover provided by travel insurance may be extensive, or … not. Always check the small print for what is covered by a specific insurance and in which countries. For example, car breakdown insurance will not automatically provide assistance in all countries across the world.
Also ensure that your travel insurance is valid for a long enough period, e.g. that it doesn’t expire halfway through your stay.
Which exclusions apply to travel insurance cover?
Don’t be fooled: the cover provided by your travel insurance is not applicable per se if the event in question interferes with your holiday plans. Because under certain circumstances the policy may exclude you from receiving assistance or reimbursement, e.g. in the event of existing medical problems, political unrest, etc.
Remember: every insurance company is entitled to outline its own conditions and exclusions. Always check under which circumstances you will definitely be covered by your travel insurance.
What does my travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance usually covers cancellation, hospital and repatriation costs and/or the value of lost luggage.
Damages can be paid in two ways:
- As a fixed amount, whereby you receive a specific amount in advance irrespective of the actual extent of the damage.
- The full amount of the actual loss/damage incurred, providing you submit the correct documentation to your insurer.
Is the cover provided by travel insurance limited?
Insurance companies frequently impose limits on their services and reimbursements. Check that the insurance cover is not too limited, or that the excess is too high.
How do I make a claim on my travel insurance?
Let’s assume that you break a leg during a skiing accident and would like compensation for your hospital costs from your travel insurance. Check your policy bearing in mind the following questions:
- Who do I have to notify? How? And how soon?
- Which documentation do I need to collate and submit?
- What steps do I need to take in order to limit my damages?