Travel insurance: What to look for in a policy now as more countries off ‘safe’ list

Travel insurance should always be purchased when you book a holiday. It offers you a great deal of protection should anything go wrong. The stakes are higher than ever now amid coronavirus.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly changes its travel advice.

Countries are both added to and removed from the ‘safe’ list on a near-weekly basis.

It can be hard to keep up with where you can and cannot go on holiday.

So if you’re getting holiday insurance during this uncertain time, what should you be looking for? spoke exclusively to Tommy Lloyd, MD at Medical Travel Compared (MTC) for his words of wisdom.

“We are seeing additional cover being introduced to the market to account for travel during a pandemic and new cover terms are being created and launched,” he said.

“For example, we’re seeing many policies now cover you for emergency medical expenses and repatriation, should you fall ill with COVID-19 whilst abroad.

“In addition, we’re also seeing certain providers, including some that we work with; CoverForYou, Cedar Tree, Coverwise, and Southdowns, offering enhanced levels of COVID-19 cover.

“Cover will vary by provider, but we’ve seen cover available if you catch COVID-19 before you travel, if you need to self-isolate when you are due to go away, as well as extension of stay due to being diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst abroad.

“Additionally, cover is also available should someone be denied boarding at the airport due to COVID-19 symptoms or if the people you are due to stay with have the virus and you can no longer visit with them, giving travellers peace of mind ahead of any trips.

“Look out for cover that clearly signposts this cover for you.”

Lloyd emphasised the importance of buying travel insurance with a reputable company – and research is key.

“You should always buy your travel insurance from a company you’ve either heard of or a company you know you can trust,” the expert advised.

“It’s very easy to find reviews about companies on the internet, so I always recommend researching before finalising a purchase.

“Working for a travel insurance comparison site, I believe comparing policies and prices is the best way to buy your insurance online.

“Using a comparison site like Medical Travel Compared means you can tailor your search to either find the cheapest deal or a policy that offers you the most comprehensive cover, which is the most important aspect. It also saves you from searching through every individual insurance websites.”

Lloyd also warned that you should be honest about your health.

“Always declare your medical conditions to ensure you are covered should anything happen,” he said.

“A pre-existing condition includes physical and mental health conditions you’ve seen a doctor about or had ongoing medical treatment for, so it is essential that they are declared on your travel insurance.”

Groups should also look into group holiday insurance.

Lloyed detailed: “If you’re travelling with others be sure to purchase a group travel insurance policy in the event that you or they need to make a claim due to one another’s medical conditions causing trip complications.

“If insured on separate policies, you and your companions run the risk of being out of pocket should the trip be cancelled or extended due to medical conditions.”

Another of Lloyd’s top tips is to get insurance at the same time as you buy the holiday.

“The other important step is to purchase insurance as soon as you have booked a holiday to protect the money you have spent, whether it be a deposit or perhaps the cost of flights,” he explained.

“Your cover will become active from the moment you pay for it for Single Trip policies, and provided you have cancellation cover, you will be able to claim should you have to cancel the trip.

“Annual trip policies work a little differently, and any cancellation cover you have, won’t kick in until your policy start date – so always consider starting your annual cover early, just so you are not caught out.”

Lloyd concluded: “Lastly, if you are finding it difficult to get annual trip insurance, try getting cover for just a single trip as many more travel insurance providers will be able to offer cover for shorter lengths of time.”

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