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Risking it all on holiday

12 February 2011 13:13

Risking it all on holiday

Last year a number of British holidaymakers fell from balconies whilst on holiday. These accidents resulted in people being stranded abroad and faced with huge medical bills because they didn’t have any travel insurance.

Travel insurance specialist, World First Travel Insurance, is urging travellers to consider the risks when going on holiday and encouraging them to take out travel insurance as a priority. They advise people to do their research and shop around to get the very best policy before they travel, so that they are covered should they require medical assistance whilst on holiday. They are also warning people to take reasonable care when on holiday this year, as any insurance claim will be void if an accident is due to over consumption of alcohol.

Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner of World First Travel Insurance, warns: "People are looking for a bargain when it comes to their holidays and the travel industry knows it. Already during January we have seen holiday companies slashing prices, giving travellers a chance to get great holidays at a heavily discounted price and this looks set to continue throughout the year. Many people take advantage of last minute holiday deals to save money, but unfortunately some people choose to save even more money by deciding not to take out any travel insurance, which really is a false economy.

"Failing to take out any insurance is a huge risk. Travel insurance provides cover for disruptions and delays when travelling but also for accidents, thefts and problems which may occur once on foreign shores. I would strongly recommend people look carefully at their travel plans and consider taking out travel insurance to protect themselves should anything unexpected happen."

With so many different travel insurance options, consumers are spoilt for choice. The many comparison websites give people the choice of hundreds of providers, usually starting with the cheapest, so already people are inclined to look for the cheapest deal, rather than the best. Often people who do decide to take out a policy opt for a cheap option, which could be a costly choice in the long run as the level of cover will inevitable be lower than that of a more expensive policy.

There are a number of reasons for the varying scale and differences in the price of travel insurance. One of the biggest differences is the level of the excess. Just the same as car insurance, the higher the excess, the cheaper the policy will be.

The minimum amount someone has to pay in the event of a claim can vary greatly from one provider to another, depending on the type of trip, destination and duration of the trip and the age and medical history of the person taking out the policy. World First Travel Insurance has a flat rate of £60 applied to all policies including their annual multi trip travel insurance, but this is not the case with all travel insurance providers.

Some companies will levy an excess of up to £2,000 on all trips to North America and the Caribbean. That means that if you have an accident and need to make a claim, you'll need to find £2,000 up front to cover the excess. Other insurers levy a higher excess depending on the age of the person travelling and the destination they are visiting, which makes it hard to establish the true cost of travel insurance.

Having any sort of accident abroad can prove to be extremely costly, from fees for routine tests and treatment, right through to transportation in an air ambulance. In Spain this can cost up to £15,000 or £20,000, and in the region of £40,000 in the USA.

Martin Rothwell concluded: "Some policies may well look like a good deal as they are cheap, but if things go wrong and you need to use your travel insurance in a medical emergency to pay for treatment and get you home quickly, you need to remember that you will be asked to pay the excess on the spot when receiving medical treatment.

"Very cheap travel insurance is a false economy. Is saving £50 worth it if it is going to end up costing you thousands of pounds in the event that you make a claim? Surely that's the ‘true cost’ of your travel insurance."

Travellers are reminded to buy travel insurance before they travel and read the 'key facts' document and small print in any insurance they take out to make sure they are covered and fully aware of any excesses or exclusions from the policy.