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Archive for the ‘Travel Insurance’ Category

Travelandinsure introduces new travel insurance

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

From 1st October 2013, Travelandinsure can now direct customers to Allianz Global Assistance for their travel insurance needs.  As the world leader in Travel Insurance, Assistance and Personal Services, Allianz Global Assistance, with a workforce of more than 10900 employees, speaking 40 different languages and operating in 28 countries across 5 continents, provide an unequalled 24/7, 365 days a year service.

For our customers  aged of 65 and over, and those who wish to travel with cover for medical conditions, we direct you to specialist insurer and market leader, PJ Hayman & Company Limited, who, through their various great value policies, in most cases, can offer cover for people travelling in this category.

And for those wanting the best cover for their gap year, extended stay and adventure holidays, then we recommend specialist provider Mind the Gap Year.

This triple approach insurance package is designed to give you total peace of mind that you have the right cover whenever you go on holiday or extended trip away.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com, specialist ethical travel insurance provider.

Delayed or lost bags, now what?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

A question often asked is, can I claim compensation for delayed or missing bags when I travel? And none of us can safely say these days that it won’t happen to me. Rules regarding airline liability for mishandled luggage are laid out in the Montreal Convention, which sets the maximum payout at just over £1,000 to cover emergency items or to replace possessions which are damaged or irretrievably lost. But, in reality, passengers can find it hard to get a fraction of this sum. Airlines will ask for original receipts for items that are lost or damaged and, even if you are able to produce these, the airlines are unlikely to pay up in full, on the grounds of depreciation.

Losing a bag can be a distressing experience, made worse by the generally poor customer service at some airport’s lost luggage counters and, if it happens on the outward journey, what do you do? Do you make do with the clothing you have in the hope that the luggage will arrive or buy replacements? Tough decision to make and is all very stressful at a time when you should be enjoying your holiday?

There is no magic wand to wave here but you can help yourself by being adequately protected by having travel insurance cover in place before you go. What travel insurance should provide in these circumstances is an allowance, usually based on each 24 hours the luggage is delayed, for you to buy essential replacement items, such as clothing and toiletries, for you to survive until your bags arrive. There will be an upper limit to this daily allowance and your travel insurance company will be looking for receipts for these items to accompany any claim you make. This still requires you to pay first and claim back later but at least it means you won’t be too much out of pocket.

Do remember to obtain what the airlines call a ‘Property Irregularity Report’ from the Lost Luggage Section at the airport at the time your bags go missing. You will need to send this to your travel insurance company to substantiate your claim and they will also be looking for proof of when the bags were returned to you, so a signed and dated receipt will also be expected. If you don’t have these, then it is very possible that the insurers will not pay your claim.

If your bags become ‘irretrievably’ lost, then the insurance company will need a letter from the airline confirming this and you will then be able to claim for all the lost items under the Lost Baggage Section of your policy. But don’t let the thought of losing your luggage overly worry you. Just get the required paperwork, know what you can claim for and get on with your holiday.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Is cheap best?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

A common pitfall when buying travel insurance is to take the easy option and sign up for the insurance package offered by your tour operator or to buy through a no-frills airline website. Not only do you risk spending over the odds if you do it this way but you could be buying a mediocre policy that doesn’t provide adequate cover and isn’t best suited to your needs. So can you find a better deal yourself by searching the internet?

More and more of us are doing our shopping on the internet. We do so for the convenience but the main reason continues to be the innate desire to find the best deal but, and it’s a big but, there are a lot of travel insurance websites to choose from out there. So you do need to be ‘savvy’ in your search and the increasing number of price comparison sites can often be a hindrance rather than a help. Why is that? Well, simply these sites highlight the ‘headline grabbing’ figure, not to mention that many only show insurance providers that pay them a commission, so the consumer is often given a confusing and false picture.

So can you find ‘cheap travel insurance’ on the internet? Most definitely, yes, but you do need to check that what is being offered will provide you with the cover you need. When looking for cheap travel insurance, there are some simple rules to apply. Do your homework. Firstly, know what you want. Are you looking for a policy to cover you for just one trip or if you are going to travel more than once, then why not consider an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy instead? That could save you money over the year.

Read the policy schedule. Most internet sites are good at giving an instant quote – that is what they are designed to do but fewer provide easily accessible information to indicate what the policy covers. At the very least you should look at the policy schedule. This is the table that shows the level of cover against various risks.

Choose a policy that satisfies your needs. The areas that cost the most in a travel insurance policy tend to be cancellation, personal effects and medical cover. If you are booking long in advance, then cancellation cover is a must (normally around the £3000 figure is sufficient) as this safeguards you if you have to cancel because of, say, a close family illness or being called for jury service, to name but two examples. If however, you are taking a last minute holiday, then perhaps cancellation cover is not as necessary so you could reduce your premium considerably by choosing a policy with limited or no cancellation.

Likewise, reducing your baggage cover can see your premiums nose dive. When it comes to medical cover, the FCO recommends a level of £2 million as being more than adequate, so do you need to buy the policy that offers £10 million? This is another example of ‘gold plating’ a policy which will attract a higher premium.

Check the small print. Very few of us take the time to read the small print but the ‘devil is in the detail’ for sure. Ask yourself some key questions. Is where I want to travel covered by the policy, for example, is Egypt in Europe or Rest of the World as definitions do differ from company to company? Am I covered if caught up in a terrorist incident? Do I need to produce a police report if I have money or personal effects stolen? What about hazardous activities? Am I covered to bungee jump on my trip for instance? Make a list of simple questions relating to your trip and then check the policy.

So is there such a thing as Cheap Travel Insurance? Most definitely there is but the simple rule of thumb is that the cheaper the policy, the more restrictive it is likely to be. But you can help yourself by knowing what to look out for and wherever possible tailoring your insurance to your exact needs and that way make your travel insurance cheaper.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Spain strike causes travel disruption

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Hundreds of flights to and from Spain have been cancelled due to a general strike which has been called by unions in protest over planned austerity cuts and changes to labour laws.

If your flight is cancelled, check with your airline or tour operator before travelling. Airline websites are often the best place to find this information.

You should, in most cases, receive a refund if your airline cancels your flight.  However, when flights are cancelled for reasons beyond the airline’s control, EU Regulation 261/2004 applies. This gives passengers the choice of accepting a refund and making their own way home, or accepting an alternative flight. If a passenger accepts a refund, the airline will have fulfilled its obligations.

If you accept an alternative flight, the airline is responsible for meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation and two telephone calls or emails. If the length of time until the next available flight is unreasonable (the number of days is not specified), the airline should book passengers onto another airline though this rarely happens. Most European airlines will not pay for a flight on another carrier.

Instead, they will insist that passengers wait for the next available flight. Some airlines organise accommodation, others will refund the cost of a budget hotel. Should your airline advise you to buy your own food and accommodation, keep all receipts, and keep such costs to a reasonable minimum, before making a claim when you get back to the UK. If you choose to make your own way home overland, it is highly unlikely that airlines will be responsible for the costs of alternative travel arrangements.

The situation is better if you are on a package holidays as passengers should be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is legally obliged to get you home. Customers will usually be allowed to stay in their original hotel or will be moved to one of a similar standard on a half-board or all-inclusive basis. The exact situation will depend on the operator’s booking terms and conditions.

If you have travel insurance, check your policy wording as you may be able to claim for travel delay at the airport and be eligible to abandon your holiday once you have been delayed for a certain number of hours, generally after 24 hours delay. Some policies have different levels of cover for a “consequential loss”, such as a hotel booking made independently. You will need to check the terms and conditions which apply to your policy directly with your insurer.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com, specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Travel insurance for holidays at home – worth considering

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Most cheap travel insurance bought in the UK is aimed at people resident in the UK and, indeed, will require customers to indicate that they have lived in the UK for a period of six months.  It is also a fact that most people buy travel insurance for trips and holidays abroad but insurers do offer policies for travel just within the UK.  It is not uncommon to find that Ireland will be included in this definition.  The big advantage of UK only cover is that the premiums can be ridiculously low – well below £5 for a 3 day break is very common place.

But is it worth taking out in the first place?  The answer really depends on the type of holiday planned, the length of stay and whether you want to accept the risk of not being covered if something does go wrong.  It is also worth remembering that UK travel insurance cover is generally included if you take out the more expensive Europe of Worldwide cover, though do check the small print rather than assuming that this is always the case. 

A Europe or Worldwide annual multi-trip travel insurance policy will be more expensive as an initial payment up front but will cover you for an unlimited number of trips abroad and in the UK, throughout the year, provided the length of stay of each trip does not exceed the policy limit, normally around 31 days away per trip.

So is a UK travel insurance policy worth considering?  Probably, yes, if only one or two short breaks a year are planned and it will be inexpensive to purchase for the cover provided.  This can be very useful should you subsequently cancel a trip, say for illness, as your holiday costs will be reimbursed subject to any excesses to pay.  Your personal belongings will probably be covered too which is an important point to consider as theft and loss is not just confined to holidays on the ‘Costas’ – these things happen at home too. 

 What you will almost certainly not be covered for will be for medical emergencies and expenses as insurers argue that the NHS is available for such instances and will point out that travel insurance is not a substitute for private medical insurance.  The lack of medical cover in UK only travel insurance policies is the main reason why insurers can offer these policies for the very low prices on offer.

On balance, travel insurance for UK holidays and short breaks is probably a good buy for those holidaymakers who tend to stay at home for their breaks away and there is an increasing number of people who are doing this.  One final word of warning though is do check the small print as many, if not most, insurers do require you to have proof of booked accommodation for a minimum stay of normally 2 nights away for the policy to be in force so the Sunday ‘trip out’ is definitely outside this definition.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Why take the risk? Get covered for wintersports.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

As British holidaymakers prepare to head for the slopes in 2012, Foreign Office figures reveal that almost a third of people in the UK admit to not taking out travel insurance for their winter sports holidays. In addition, less than one in five people (16%) say they always read the small print of their travel insurance policy before going skiing. The Foreign Office regularly issues warnings to skiers and snowboarders that they risk huge medical bills if they don’t properly cover themselves by taking out travel insurance.  Their data highlights the average cost in Andorra for a leg injury and repatriation to be £6500 rising to a whopping £28,000 for the same injury in Canada.

Everyone appreciates the thrills of Wintersports but not everyone appreciates the dangers that are associated with it. The Ski Club of Great Britain has reported in the past that more than half of British skiers take to the slopes without a ski helmet, despite the risks of sustaining a serious head injury. Head injuries account for almost a quarter of all ski injuries sustained on the slopes. Research in Canada and Sweden has also found that snowboarders are up to four times more likely to have an accident on the slopes than skiers, while men are more likely to get injured than women.

Alarm bells should be ringing here, not just against the rise in the accident rate on the slopes but also that a high number of people are still going abroad without any travel insurance. Whether this is just forgetfulness or a desire to live dangerously, it is shows that many people view travel insurance as an extra expense which can be added or deleted depending on the holiday budget.

But with price of travel insurance premiums, particularly on the internet, being relatively cheap – you can find a week’s Winter Sports cover to Europe for under £10, it does seem to be an unnecessary risk to take. It is not necessary to pay through the nose these days and if you are prepared to surf the net then there some excellent deals to be had.

This article is provided by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Travel insurance or EHIC or both?

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

With over 25% of holiday makers not taking out any travel insurance, then one reason often quoted is why do I need it when I already have a European Health Insurance Card, better known as EHIC? Simply put, you need both if you are planning to travel abroad. One does not replace the other.

First of all what is EHIC? The EHIC replaced the old E111 form in 2006 which is no longer valid. Do make sure you get your EHIC before you travel. Application forms are readily available from Post Offices and you can also apply online through the NHS website. EHIC is valid throughout the EU and a number of other countries, namely Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechenstein. Should you be suddenly taken ill or have an accident in any of these countries, then the EHIC will entitle you, in most cases, to free, or at a reduced cost, necessary medical treatment.

Do remember, however, that an EHIC does not cover you for all the medical costs that you can incur or for your repatriation. It is not an alternative to medical insurance and to go abroad without appropriate medical cover, as provided by most travel insurance policies, is probably as close to playing ‘Russian Roulette’ as you can get. As the NHS website points out, “the EHIC is NOT an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property”.

Furthermore, an EHIC does not cover you outside the areas described and, although the UK has mutual agreements with many countries, these arrangements don’t cover all expenses you can incur. You may have to pay thousands of pounds in medical costs, a prime example is the USA and Canada where medical treatment is expensive and, increasingly, there are many other countries that fall into this category.

So we do recommend that before you travel that you always arrange travel insurance with health cover that is adequate for your destination.

The FCO advises that the level of cover should be at least £1million for Europe or £2million for the rest of the world but most travel insurance policies now offer cover beyond these figures and £5million is becoming quite standard and even higher figures are common. As with all insurances, where health cover is required, there may be restrictions because of a particular medical condition for example, which may result in a higher premium to be paid. At the end of the day though, what you are paying for is ‘peace of mind’ and that is why it is so important to make sure you get cover before you go.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Going skiing – get the right travel insurance cover

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The leaves may still be on the trees (just) but some snow has fallen in the Alps. Yes, the start of the new ski season is just around the corner and, after the better than average snow conditions over the last two years, we can only hope that the shortage of snow so far is only a temporary blip and the that this season will be another to remember. But will it be for the right reasons?

Each year thousands take to the slopes for the first time but some, unfortunately, will return with an injury. And it’s not just first timers as the more experienced take on new challenges, on and off piste, the wipe outs just tend to be more spectacular. That is why it is essential to have the proper ski and snowboard travel insurance to provide the necessary cover on and off the slopes.

So what should people be looking for? Most travel insurance providers offer good cover for intermediate and beginners. This is the vast bulk of the market. Yes, accidents do happen but they are more likely to be in a controlled fashion, by that we mean on well groomed pistes and with assistance and help on hand. The problem area is when the skier or snowboarder gains in confidence and skill and wants to seek greater challenges and with it more thrills. This, generally, means tackling ever more severe slopes but also to venture into what is loosely termed ‘off piste’. This is where the unwary can very quickly become unstuck and we are not talking about the snow conditions.

Most travel insurance policies will have restrictions on ‘off piste,’ such as ‘only with a guide’ or ‘only within a specified resort area,’ so when seeking that ‘adrenaline rush,’ it is important to know what you are getting yourself into first. What’s more, the increasing popularity of ‘half pipes’ and ‘free style’ means that the potential risk of injury has increased as more and more people are attracted to this immensely enjoyable leisure activity. To make sure you are properly covered for these more extreme sports activities, it is essential that winter sports insurance is obtained that offers protection to this level of activity.

The more expert you are, the more likely you will need more specialist cover than provided by the usual high street provider. Mountain rescue and medical costs are expensive and, if this requires repatriation, then the costs mount up rapidly. It’s probably too late, as you are being strapped to the rescue sledge, to wonder whether the travel insurance you bought before the holiday is going to cover you. Know before you go.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

New Icelandic volcano threat

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

The first ash from the newest Icelandic volcanic eruption is expected to reach the north-west tip of the British Isles this week with the Civil Aviation Auuthority saying disruption is likely for travellers. There are currently no restrictions on UK airspace. Travellers should check the airline or holiday operators websites for the latest news. For those who have booked a trip to Iceland, check with the tour operator or airline for the latest travel information.

What are your rights is this happens? Most airlines would offer customers a choice of a refund or a free transfer onto another flight when air services resume. According to the Trading Standards Institute, passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled due to the volcanic dust blown over to the UK from Iceland will have the same rights under the Regulation 261/2004 Air Passenger Rights. They are entitled to a refund or re-routing if the flight is cancelled or delayed by more than five hours; if re-routing is offered from an alternative location, the airline must cover the cost of transfers.

Passengers on flights delayed by more than two hours are also entitled to meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation if necessary, transport between airport and accommodation, two free telephone calls, faxes or emails. In cases of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ like this, which are beyond the airlines’ control, consumers are unlikely to be entitled to further compensation. Passengers should also check their own travel insurance as they may be entitled to more under their individual policies.

Although the regulations apply in all cases, not all travel insurance policies will pay out additional sums in the event of a volcanic ash cloud.  With regard to claiming for delay or cancellation through a travel insurance policy, the advice is to contact your insurer and clarify what options are available to you.  If insurance polices do cover this scenario then it is likely that the typical rules for making a claim for delayed departure apply. Travellers would be able to claim after they are delayed for 12 hours or more and to ensure their claim has the best chance of being processed successfully should obtain written confirmation from the airline of why the flight was cancelled.

Travellers with insurance policies should read the wording carefully to see what they are and aren’t covered for and also look at the procedures for making a claim as they differ from insurer to insurer.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Taking a holiday this Easter?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

This year, the combination of Easter, the Royal Wedding and the May Bank Holiday has offered the perfect opportunity for an extended break. For those opting to to take a holiday or trip away, it’s worth remembering that the same rules though apply to holidays in the UK as they do elsewhere. So do make sure you are properly covered in case of emergencies.

Travel insurance, for example, is not always thought of as a necessity if you take a break in the UK, being so close to home and under the safety net of the NHS should you have an accident but travel insurance covers much more than medical emergencies. Most people buy travel insurance for trips and holidays abroad but these policies do generally provide cover for travel within the UK, though do check the small print rather than assuming that this is always the case.

So is travel insurance that covers holidays in the UK worth considering? It can be very useful to have insurance should you subsequently cancel a trip, say for illness, as your holiday costs will be reimbursed subject to any excesses to pay. Your personal effects will probably be covered too, which is an important point to consider as theft and loss is not just confined to holidays on the ‘Costas’ – these things happen at home too.

What you will almost certainly not be covered for will be for medical expenses as the NHS is available for such instances. One final word of advice though is do check the small print as many, if not most, insurers do require you to have proof of booked accommodation, or a campsite booking in the case of camping and caravanning, for a minimum stay of normally 2 nights away for the policy to be in force so the one night weekend trip away is definitely outside this definition.

This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.