When it comes to travel insurance, it can be easy to think that one policy is much like the next. After all, isn’t each travel insurance policy designed to cover the same sort of eventualities?
The answer is no as each travel insurance policy will have its own terms, conditions and exclusions and limits of cover. If you have an existing medical condition or disability, or if you’re over a certain age, it might not be as straightforward as not all policies will provide cover. You may struggle to find a standard travel insurance provider who will provide insurance, which can make planning your holiday, short break or trip to visit family overseas less straightforward.
Travelling without adequate travel insurance as an older traveller, or someone with a pre-existing health condition is simply not worth the risk, so what’s the next step? Thankfully, specialist travel insurance providers like Free Spirit are here to help, but it’s still important to know what you should look for in a good medical travel insurance policy.
When you come to plan your next trip abroad, take the stress out of securing a reliable specialist travel insurance policy by following these dos and don’ts.
1. Read the health warranty and tell your insurer about all your medical conditions
It’s vital to be completely open about your health when looking for travel insurance. Not making your insurer aware of medical conditions at the time of purchasing means that you may not be covered for any medical care you may need whilst abroad that relates to your existing medical condition or disability.
Our top tip is to disclose all pre-existing medical conditions and to have all information to hand about your health available when applying for specialist travel insurance.
2. Do declare all your planned activities, such as skiing and snowboarding
Trying new activities is part of the joy of travel, but you must ensure that your GP is happy for you to do so before booking these into your trip. Once your doctor has approved the activity you are undertaking, do tell your insurer about your activity plans too, as they will need to factor them into your policy.
At Free Spirit, we can cover you for over 100 activities during your holiday, from bungee jumping to scuba diving (up to 30m). We can also provide winter sports cover too, enabling you to try your hand at on-piste skiing, snowboarding and ice skating.
Top tip: Whatever activity you try, always follow the safety guidelines given and where applicable use the appropriate and recommended safety equipment. Otherwise, you may risk invalidating your cover.
3. Do tell your insurer if you are visiting more than one country
A good medical travel insurance policy needs to provide cover for all the countries you will be visiting during your trip, however briefly. Tell your insurer each country you will visit, even if it will only be as part of a flight stopover – that way, should you need medical assistance while you’re there, you will be covered*. Conversely, you may not be covered if you travel outside of the geographical areas agreed on your policy.
The same applies if you are planning on taking a cruise – make sure to mention this and to let your insurer know everywhere your cruise will take you.
4. Do add all those you’re travelling with to your policy
Having an individual travel insurance policy for every person in your travelling party isn’t just hard to keep track of, it can lead to gaps in cover, particularly in respect of cancellations.
By ensuring all of your family and/or friends you’ll be accompanied by on the same medical travel insurance policy, will mean you’ll have the reassurance that they too will be covered for any travel expenses you can’t recover if you were to have to cancel due to health reasons*.
5. Do double-check your policy to make sure it meets your needs
When you get your travel insurance policy documents through, make sure to carefully check all the information they contain to ensure everything is correct, including your travel dates and the details of your existing health conditions or disabilities. Make a note of the policy excess too; this is the amount you will need to pay in the event that you need to make a claim.
If anything is not right you must contact your provider. Alternatively, if you decide not to go ahead with your policy, with Free Spirit you can cancel your medical travel insurance within 14 days of purchase for a full refund, as long as you have not already taken your trip or intend to make a claim.
Top tip: Don’t forget to make a note of the 24-hour emergency helpline so that you have this ready to hand should you need help whilst you’re away.
6. Do consider an annual multi-trip policy if you travel regularly
An annual multi-trip policy may work out cheaper than purchasing separate single trip policies. It also will save you time from having to buy a new policy each time you travel, particularly for those last-minute trips! Free Spirit provides an annual policy, which allows you to travel as many times as you wish throughout the year. The ‘Super’ level of cover allows you to take trips up to 32 days, whereas the ‘Super Duper’ cover provides a 45 days maximum limit.
1. Don’t leave travel insurance until the last minute
Sometimes, travel insurance can be an afterthought, if it’s thought of at all! However, we firmly recommend that the best time to start looking for a travel insurance policy is when you are planning your trip, especially when you have an existing health condition or disability.
A Free Spirit single trip travel insurance policy starts from the moment you purchase your policy, so if you were to become too unwell to travel in the run-up to your departure date, or if your flights were cancelled due to financial failure**, you would be reimbursed for the money you’d have already spent*.
**Super Duper cover only.
2. Don’t be tempted to take a policy just because it’s cheap
The cheapest travel insurance policy may not provide the level of cover you need particularly if you have a pre-existing health condition or disability. Emergency medical care can be incredibly expensive overseas so it’s simply not worth taking the risk of inadequate cover in order to save a little on insurance.
Here at Free Spirit, a specialist travel insurance policy can be created specifically for you to make sure it offers a level of protection suited to your unique health needs.
3. Don’t forget to take your EHIC with you to Europe
If you’re due to visit a European country, it’s worth taking a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.
An EHIC is not the same as having specialist travel insurance as it does not cover private medical care or repatriation fees, but it can help you access state-funded medical care for free or at a reduced cost within the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
4. Don’t go without knowing how to get medical help or make a claim
Be sure to pack your travel insurance documents with you, along with any emergency phone numbers your travel insurance company provides. With a Free Spirit policy, you can call the 24-hour assistance helpline from anywhere in the world for medical emergency assistance 24 hours a day.
If you need to make a claim on Free Spirit medical travel insurance, please contact us as soon as possible to let us know. You can call our Claims Department between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re here to help
Remember, we’re always here to answer any of your questions about our medical travel insurance or to provide a no-obligation quote, either online or over the phone on 02392 419 080.
*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply – see policy wording for full details.