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Archive for February, 2008

Get travel insurance – Make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Now this is a true story and shows what can happen when you least expect it.  Picture the scene, Mr X is on his ski holiday and is waiting in the lift queue when someone careers into him from behind.  The next thing he remembers is being stretchered off the mountain by an air ambulance and ends up in traction in the clinic.  Luckily for Mr X he was covered by his travel insurance and is now claiming back for damaged ski equipment, rescue costs, medical expenses, the unused portion of his lift pass and is considering taking out a third party claim against the reckless skier who hit him, which again his travel insurance should cover the legal expenses to do so.  This is not an isolated event and resorts in Switzerland now have speed patrols to take action against the ‘boy racers’ and ‘speed merchants’ who endanger others by their actions.  Other countries will follow suit as this trend increases.

But alarm bells should be ringing here, not just against the rise in the accident rate on the slopes but that recent surveys still show a high number of people going abroad without any travel insurance at all.  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.

So to go back to Mr X for a moment.  Although he has had to come to terms with having his holiday cut short, he does now have the backing of his insurance company to recover most of his costs and maybe some compensation from his assailant.  But picture the scene again if, like an increasing number of travellers these days, he had decided to overlook travel insurance.  He would be facing hefty medical and rescue bills including the potential of being repatriated home at own cost.  So the next time you are undecided about taking out travel insurance, do remember Mr X, unless of course you are one of that increasing band who do want to live dangerously!

It’s all downhill from here – Winter Sports that is!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

With all European alpine resorts reporting record snow levels this season, it is a far cry from last year when many resorts, particularly the lower lying ones, were in dire straits with next to no snow. It goes to show that whilst the experts tell us that global warming is a fact, there are still seasonal and yearly fluctuations that make it far from easy to predict what next week will be like, let alone next year.  So it is with a sense of relief that resorts are back in business at what they do best, provide the best groomed ski runs for the millions of us who will be venturing onto the pistes this season.  Bookings are definitely up on last year and though good bargains can still be had, the more popular resorts are less likely to offer the great last minute deals that were in abundance last year.  But with all the key alpine countries knee deep in snow, there is plenty to go round and those wanting to venture further afield, to Eastern Europe and North America, the prospects are just as good.

What still surprises us are the number of holidaymakers who take the risk of going without any travel insurance cover.  With the numbers hitting the slopes, the net result is that more and more skiers and snowboarders are injured each year.  Whilst it difficult to eliminate the inherent risks involved in Winter Sports, to go without any travel insurance cover is as close as many of us get to playing ‘Russian Roulette.’  Loaded gun or not, being rescued from the slopes can be a costly business, well in excess of £100 if a helicopter is involved to bring you down the mountain and then there are the expensive medical bills which could set you back further.

The best option you have is to buy travel insurance before you go and by far the cheapest way is to do this online.  Tour operators and travel agents will try and get you to buy their insurance when you take out a holiday but, almost always, this is a much more expensive way to do it and those selling you the holiday may not be able to give you the best advice when it comes to travel insurance.  Do shop around on the internet and do look at the small print but there are some good Winter Sports travel insurance policies to be had and at very reasonable prices.

The other option is to buy an insurance add-on when you buy your lift pass at the resort.  Whilst this will cover you for being ‘stretchered off’ the slopes, they fall short on about everything else and at around a couple of Euros a day can work out an expensive extra but for those who have not bought proper travel insurance can be the last minute safety net to make sure your roulette gun just fires blanks!

Annual or Single Trip Travel Insurance – which to choose?

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

One of the first decisions you have to make when taking out travel insurance is whether to buy solely for the planned trip you intend to make or take out a policy that covers more than one trip, widely termed the annual multi-trip policy.  The best way to approach this is to look at the advantages of a multi-trip policy but set them against their limitations and then decide on what best suits your needs.

So what does an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy offer you over a single trip policy?  Firstly, the more trips you take in a year, the more cost effective an annual policy will be and one purchase lasts the whole year.  Many annual travel insurance policies have options, such as Winter Sports cover, included as standard but do check the small print.  It is normally possible to extend the individual trip duration for a small extra premium, say from the industry standard of 31 days a trip to 60 or 90 days, which is a much cheaper option than buying a single trip policy for the same period.

But set against this, an annual policy only provides cover for the area you have selected.  That is, if you take out an annual policy that provides cover for Europe but then book a holiday later in the year to the USA, then this destination will not be covered so it is something to consider when buying such a policy.  The annual policy is a more expensive up front cost though there are some very good internet annual travel insurance deals to be had.  Many insurers impose stricter age restrictions for taking out an annual policy compared to the single trip equivalent and there might be restrictions on family annual travel insurance policies that prevent children from travelling independently.

The place to look is on the internet and most travel insurance providers will provide an annual travel insurance quote at the same time as giving you the single trip price so this helps to compare at the time of taking out insurance.  If you can plan ahead and want the flexibility of taking more than one holiday or trip abroad, then buying an annual travel insurance policy is, more often than not, a good investment, but do make sure that what you buy satisfies your particular needs.