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Archive for November, 2009

Why declare medical conditions?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Most people taking out a new travel insurance policy are confused by the term pre-existing medical condition and it is an area that the insurance industry is currently trying to address and simplify. After all, medical conditions tend to be technically expressed, not always explained well and, if the condition is cured or controlled, often forgotten about over time.

So why do insurers make such a song and dance about it? Well put simply, insurers argue that the medical cover provided by a travel insurance policy is there for emergency cover and is not a substitute for private medical insurance. There are specialist products on the market for private health care and all that travel insurance is covering for is the unforeseen medical emergency that might occur whilst on holiday and provide for hospital care in country and repatriation if required. Once back in the UK, patients can then use the NHS or individual private health care plan they may have in place.

This allows travel insurance policies to have lower premiums than their private medical insurance equivalent though these premiums do vary considerably by area visited and the much higher medical costs in the USA will see North American destinations more costly than elsewhere. What travel insurance medical cover does have in its favour though is the wide network of specialist medical assistance companies to call in when an emergency does occur.

The big question will always be “will I be covered if I have a medical history and what does that mean exactly?” All policies have similar interpretations but you should read the medical section of a policy before taking out that travel insurance. A medical history of heart, kidney, respiratory conditions or cancer should be always declared and this may very well be expanded to the medical history of close family members and travelling companions. The reason for this is to allow the insurance company to see what the potential risk is of you cancelling or curtailing your trip or falling ill whilst abroad. An insurance provider may well decline you insurance at this point or may offer to cover you for an additional premium or may even insure you but void any subsequent claims if related to the declared condition.

Certainly you will not be covered if you travel against the medical advice of your doctor and there will be strict rules on when you can travel if pregnant. So do you need to declare? Yes, you do though not all declarations will result in a higher premium but provided you have done so and the insurer has provided you cover, then it will greatly simplify the process if you ever have to make a claim.

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

Another travel firm folds

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Holiday Options, an operator that specialised in Mediterranean breaks, has gone into administration after 16 years. According to the Atol-bonded company, which also offered trips to Cape Verde and the Azores, no British holidaymakers have been left stranded and all 1,100 forward bookings have been taken over by Light Blue Travel, a Cambridge-based operator.

The collapse follows a report the Office of National Statistics this week which showed that the number visits abroad made by British travellers in the year to September, fell 14 per cent to 60.8 million. The travel industry is bracing itself for a flurry of failures over the coming weeks. Earlier this month Plimsoll Publishing, a leading travel industry analyst, predicted that nearly 300 tour operators could collapse or be taken over in the next year. Consumer groups fear could lead to a repeat of the situation last October when thousands of Britons were stranded abroad following the collapse of XL, which was then Britain’s third-largest tour operator.

More than 30 airlines have collapsed this year, but International Passenger Protection, a leading insurer, claims this number could rise over the festive period owing to rising fuel prices, increased Air Passenger Duty and the wider global recession. Holiday travel insurance may provide protection against the collapse of an airline failing or a tour operator folding. Not all travel insurance policies will offer this but some insurers offer Passenger Protection Insurance sold separately or part of a travel insurance policy but always check the small print if this is offered because these are quite often restrictive in their cover.

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

What to look for in your ski cover

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Everyone appreciates the thrills of Wintersports but not everyone appreciates the dangers that are associated 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 winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, 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 policy 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 consider. 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.

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

This winter could see more airline failures

Friday, November 6th, 2009

At least 32 airlines have collapsed this year and more failures are predicted this winter as increased Air Passenger Duty, rising fuel prices and the global recession put the airline industry under pressure. To make matters worse, around half of all holidaymakers are still travelling without financial protection. Currently, only holidaymakers who book with companies holding an Atol (Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing) bond are guaranteed a refund if an operator collapses. So far this year, 28 Atol-protected companies have failed, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, most notably the ski operator Descent International and the cruise operator Hebridean International. In 2008, 42 Atol-protected travel companies collapsed.

With the financial crisis likely to claim more victims, it is doubly important to get some protection. Some insurers offer Passenger Protection Insurance, often termed Dynamic Packaging Protection, sold separately or part of a travel insurance policy but always check the small print if this is offered as these are quite often restrictive in their cover. You can reduce the risk further by organising your travel through tour operators and agents covered by ATOL or who hold bonding through an approved body, such as ABTA or AITO.

What is ATOL? This stands for Air Travel Organiser’s licensing and is a protection scheme for flights and air holidays, managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and protects the customer from losing money or being stranded abroad when a tour operator goes bust. All licensed firms have to lodge bonds with the CAA so that, if they go out of business, the CAA can give refunds to people who can’t travel and arrange for people abroad to finish their holidays and fly home.

And ABTA? Members of the Association of British Travel Agents are required to provide financial protection for their customers which means that you can book your holiday knowing that if an ABTA member fails financially while you are on holiday, you can continue your holiday as planned. If your holiday has not started, then you will receive a full refund or be given help to make alternative arrangements for the trip to proceed. Likewise AITO, or Association of Independent Tour Operators to give it its full title, require their members to protect their customer’s money in the event of an AITO member going into liquidation.

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

Accidents do happen

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Everyone appreciates the thrills of Wintersports but not everyone appreciates the dangers that are associated with it. However, the Ski Club of Great Britain is reporting that more than half of British skiers will take to the slopes without a ski helmet this season, despite the risks of sustaining a serious head injury. Last season, head injuries accounted for almost a quarter of all ski injuries sustained on the slopes. Recent 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.