Extensive Cover at great rates and you'll be helping people in need at no extra cost to you.

Archive for April, 2007

Shopping for Insurance?

Friday, April 13th, 2007


It should come as no surprise that the Treasury has recently announced a review into the sale of travel insurance policies with package holidays.  Consumer groups, such as ‘Which’ magazine, have been clamouring for a change in the law, because it appears that consumers have been getting a raw deal, in terms of over-priced and often inadequate cover.  The government has set itself the task of calling for evidence and consulting widely before making its decision, be that to keep the ‘status quo’, go for tighter self-regulation by the travel agents and tour operators or bring the industry under full FSA regulation as it does for the ‘standalone’ insurance sector.

A review is long overdue, given that some 20 million consumers purchase travel insurance policies in the UK each year in a market estimated to be around £670 million pounds in 2006.  As ‘Which’ have recently reported, there is evidence of mis-selling by tour operators and travel agents who account for almost 50% of all travel insurance sales.  Whilst, it is probably only a minority who fall into this category, it is not hard to see that getting a customer to take out a travel insurance policy at the time of booking a holiday is a very lucrative way of boosting profits from the commissions earned.  That’s all well and good, provided the advice given is accurate and customers are given access to all the information they need to make an informed judgement but sadly this is not borne out by the statistics.  According to the Treasury, whilst 81% of banks and insurers explained what the policy covered, this falls to a pitiful 19% when a policy is sold through travel agents.

It always pays to shop around and it is hardly surprising that the internet has seen a huge growth over the last five years and this trend is set to continue.  Not only does the customer get a wider choice than what is on offer over the counter at a travel agent, but it is so much easier to tailor a policy, all by a simple click of a mouse.  Moreover, internet based companies do not have the high overheads of the travel agent in the High Street, which means cheaper premiums which can only be a good outcome for the consumer.

Help From A British Consul!

Friday, April 13th, 2007


Whilst Travel insurance policies are there to give you that ‘peace of mind’, such as a medical emergency, airport delays and loss of personal belongings, when abroad, you may become the victim of an incident and you need to know who to turn to in your hour of need. For UK nationals travelling abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office www.fco.gov.uk/travel will do everything they properly can to help British people in difficulty abroad. If you get into difficulty or trouble, you can contact British Consular Staff around the world who may be able to help. But what can they offer and, more importantly, what can they not do if you get into difficulty abroad?

They can:

  • Issue emergency passports
  • Contact relatives and friends and ask them to help you with money or tickets
  • Tell you how to transfer money
  • In an emergency, cash you a sterling cheque worth up to £100 if supported by a valid banker’s card
  • As a last resort, in exceptional circumstances, and as long as you meet certain strict rules, give you a loan to get back to the UK, but only if there is no one else who can help you
  • Help you get in touch with local lawyers, interpreters and doctors
  • Arrange for next of kin to be told of an accident or a death and advise on procedures
  • Visit you if arrested or put in prison, and arrange for messages to be sent to relatives or friends
  • Put you in touch with organisations who help trace missing persons
  • Speak to local authorities on your behalf
  • Give you a list of local lawyers

But they cannot:

  • Intervene in court cases
  • Get you out of prison
  • Give legal advice or start court proceedings for you
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to locals
  • Investigate a crime
  • Pay your hotel, legal, medical or any other bills
  • Pay your travel costs, except in special circumstances
  • Do work normally done by travel agents, airlines, banks or motoring organisations
  • Get you somewhere to live, a job, or work permit
  • Demand you be treated as British if you are a dual national in the country of your second nationality

The UK consular operation covers most countries but not all and in these countries, you may be able to get help from the consulate of another EU member state. Also, Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada may provide certain consular services to British nationals in countries where the UK is unrepresented why not take a look at www.travelandinsure.com who have included an easy to read Foreign and Commonwealth advice on what support you can expect from Embassies and Consulates worldwide. They also offer a wide range of travel insurance policies to suit all ages, numbers and destinations.

Insured Your Clubs?

Friday, April 13th, 2007


It is always worthwhile looking at the ‘add-on’ options available in a travel insurance policy to provide that essential ‘peace of mind’ when taking a well earned break.  There is nothing worse in finding that the cover taken out does not stretch to the activities you had in mind.  Falling into that category is Golf Insurance.  It may be a dedicated trip abroad to try out the many stunning golf courses, not only in Europe but also the USA and increasingly in the Far East, or perhaps a casual round whilst on holiday, it still pays to be covered.

Golf equipment is expensive and, whether it is delayed in transit or, worse, still stolen, the result is the same frustration, anger and helplessness.  Well, some travel insurance policies on the market can help to lessen these understandable emotions by making available a comprehensive insurance package to cover from this occurring to you.  Working along similar lines to Wintersports insurance, you can cover yourself for your own golf equipment and this extends to equipment hired once at your destination.  By simply selecting the golf cover option on your policy, you are covered for the period you are away.  Again look at the small print, but some policies do offer cover for the same flat fee, irrespective of whether it is for a single trip travel insurance policy or for the annual multi-tip travel insurance policy.  The latter represents very good value if you are a keen golfer who likes to get away for regular golfing breaks.

What’s more, these policies often include loss of green fees if you are unable to play in the event of delayed arrival at your destination for any reason beyond your control.  If you shop around, there are some policies on the market, such as at www.travelandinsure.com , which have even thought of covering you for that ‘Holy Grail’ in golf – the ‘hole-in-one’ and provide a handy sum to reimburse you for the inevitable celebration at the 19th hole!

Problems Abroad?

Friday, April 13th, 2007


People often ask what they should do if they get into  difficulties abroad and who they should contact.  A comprehensive travel insurance policy is there to give you that ‘peace of mind’ in the event of a medical  emergency, airport delays and loss of personal belongings but, when abroad, you  may become the victim of an incident and you need to know who to turn to in  your hour of need.  If you are on an  organised holiday, then the tour operator is likely to have a resident  representative at the resort but more people are now opting to be ‘independent  travellers’ and when things do go wrong, you need to know what to do in an  emergency.

The  Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London  provides excellent advice for travellers and you are strongly advised to log on  to their website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel before you go. They can also be  contacted by telephone on 0207 008 0232/0233.   Similar levels of advice to non-UK nationals can be obtained from their  respective Consulates, Embassies and High Commissions though the FCO website is  also a source of good general travel advice to anyone travelling abroad.

For UK nationals travelling abroad, the  Foreign and Commonwealth Office will do everything they properly can to help  British people in difficulty abroad.  If  you get into difficulty or trouble, you can contact British Consular Staff  around the world who may be able to help.   It’s always worth getting travel insurance cover and checking you have the address and telephone number of the  local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate before you travel.  Your rep/local guide, hotel/guesthouse or  local police are likely to have this information.  The UK consular operation covers most  countries but not all and in these countries, you may be able to get help from  the consulate of another EU member state.   Also, Commonwealth countries such as Australia  and Canada may provide  certain consular services to British nationals in countries where the UK is  unrepresented.

If you would like view a check off list of on what support you can  expect from Embassies and Consulates worldwide please feel free to visit travelandinsure.com.

Winter Sports Insurance Cover

Friday, April 13th, 2007


Everyone appreciates the thrills of  Wintersports but not everyone appreciates the dangers that are accociated with it. It is very important to ensure that your travel insurance provider supplies you with a travel insurance policy that gives you peace of  mind when on the slopes.

Of course, if you are intent on skiing at the next  winter Olympics, you are advised to look for more specialist insurance cover but for those taking a  traditional family winter holiday or popping over to the Alps with a few  friends then a family travel insurance poilcy is ‘just the ticket’.

There are many so called cheap travel insurances on  the market but do they provide adequate cover?   What should you be looking for in your travel insurance policy?

Medical expenses – £5 million

Personal liability – £2 million

Cancellation – £3000

Baggage – £1500

Many travel insurance policies do not include an additional sum insured for delayed ski equipment on top of  the normal baggage delay. This is certainly something to look for! It is also important to make sure your travel insurance policy  covers ‘off piste’ activities (provided you  are accompanied by a qualified guide) and piste closure because of too much, or  too little snow, or adverse weather conditions, and,  of course, your skis and equipment against loss or damage.

With all the above covered you can enjoy your winter sports  holiday knowing your travel insurance will cover you no matter what eventualities  may arise.

Travel Insurance that helps!

Friday, April 13th, 2007


Checking the small print in your travel insurance policy to see that you are covered to do what you intend to do whilst on holiday is essential before you go. If you intend to arrive at your resort bungee jumping from a helicopter, as the latest contestants in ‘I’m a celebrity, get  me out of here!’ were required to do, then perhaps it would be wise to check that your travel insurance policy covers you before you go.

Most, if not all, travel insurance policies, will  exclude certain activities, known in the trade as ‘Hazardous Activities.’ It is very important to choose a travel insurance provider who try and give as  much information to their customers on what activities are or are not covered and  what may be done if the right procedures are in place and the correct safety precautions taken.

So some firm advice is to check your “comprehensive travel insurance policy” before you go away, once  on holiday, and just before you rush to dive with sharks! If you are interested in purchasing a single or annual travel insurance policy why not take a look at travelandinsure.com and see what  is and what is not covered. You can see for yourself how easy and simply customers  can buy a policy online to suit their needs.

So returning to the exam question, can you Zorb or  indeed bungee jump?  Well, actually you  can, provided they are properly supervised activities, (though whether we would  recommend you did the latter from a helicopter is a moot point) and your travel insurance provider has supplied you with a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Why you would want to jump from a perfectly  serviceable aircraft is beyond most peoples understanding!