Common questions about international travel insurance

What are annual and multi-trip policies?

They are different names for the same thing. If you're likely to do several trips a year, look into annual travel insurance. Check the small print. Many limit how long any single trip can be, stipulate a limited number of days for activities such as skiing and exclude other activities altogether.

Does my bank account or credit card cover me?

Some people have international travel insurance offered by a credit card or bank account. Cover is usually very limited with no flexibility for special needs. It is rarely as comprehensive as insurance from a stand-alone policy.

Some credit cards offer you "free travel accident insurance". This is quite a different matter - it is a type of personal insurance that pays up, for example, if you lose a limb in a ski accident. It is not a full travel insurance policy and is no substitute for one.

Does my house contents insurance policy cover me?

Your possessions may be covered under your house contents policy if you have "all risks" cover, protecting them outside the house as well as inside. If so, you can decline the luggage cover on your travel insurance, which will reduce the premium.

Will insurance cover me if I'm caught in a terrorism incident?

Not necessarily. A lot of travel exclusions are hidden in policies' small print - at most policies exclude paying out in the event of a terrorist attack. But that's when you need your travel insurance the most.

Some policies include cover. There may be restrictions such as excluding anyone travelling to or staying in a country where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has a warning telling UK nationals to stay away. Some include cover for 'unwitting terrorism' i.e. injury as a bystander. This is a complex issue, as terrorism has no internationally agreed definition. Authorities are not always sure or clear as to whether an incident is or is not terrorism - politics gets in the way here.

This is an emotive area for which there is no easy answer. Often, it all depends on the generosity of the insurer.

What if I am pregnant?

Both airlines and insurance companies impose restrictions on expectant mothers. For example, British Airways allows women to travel up to 28 weeks into their pregnancy. Between 28 and 36 weeks, pregnant women must produce a doctor's certificate saying that they are fit to fly. After 36 weeks, flying is not allowed. Most insurers will cover a pregnant woman for up to 28 weeks into the pregnancy, but cover still varies.

Check with the insurer and airline before you book your ticket. You must also inform your insurer if your condition changes at any point, even within the typical 28-week cut-off point.

If you are travelling within the EEA (European Economic Area), you may qualify for maternity care.

Where are accidents most likely?

The five locations where injuries are most likely to occur are:

  • Roads
  • The beach
  • Hotels
  • Remote locations
  • Ski slopes

What is the typical cost of returning to the UK?

If you need to be returned to the UK in an emergency it could cost you thousands. Make sure you have adequate and appropriate travel insurance. Some typical costs of being flown home in the event of a medical problem or accident are given below:

  • £30-35,000 Air ambulance (Jet) – East coast of USA
  • £12-16,000 Air ambulance (Jet) – Canaries
  • £10-12,000 Air ambulance (turbo-prop) – Balearics
  • £1,200-3,000 Air taxi (propeller driven light aircraft) – Northern France
  • £15-20,000 Scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort – Australia
  • £9-12,000 Scheduled flight, seated club, with a nurse escort – West coast of USA
  • £1,800-4,000 Scheduled flight, seated economy with a Doctor escort – Mediterranean
  • £100-£800 Scheduled flight, seated economy without an escort – Mediterranean
  • £3,000-£6,000 Scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort – Mediterranean

Figures supplied by FirstAssist



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