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Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest Post: Top Travel Insurance Tips 11.28.11

Today's guest post comes from Joe Johnson, aka Backpack Joe, from the UK. Please make sure to check out his site and Twitter feed (shown at the end of this post).

Going on holiday is invariably one of the highlights of the year, unless of course you’re a wealthy oil tycoon and your whole year is one big holiday, but since you’re reading this, I’d wager that you’re not (what oil tycoon needs travel insurance?!). Everything about going on holiday is exciting, planning which restaurants to go to, flip-flop shopping, frantically scrabbling to locate your passport in the ‘safe’ draw, getting travel insurance… Oh wait.



Ok, almost everything about preparing for a holiday is exciting, and while travel insurance may be an unwelcome aside, it is nevertheless necessary, if only to give you piece of mind. Getting injured, falling ill or having your laptop pilfered is inconvenient in the outskirts of Coventry, but when you’re in an unfamiliar country where you don’t speak the language, it can be more than distressing. Best shell out for travel insurance then. Here are some tips for ensuring you get the right type of insurance, and getting the most out of it should you need to use it.

1. Get Insurance 
Sounds obvious right? Maybe, but so many people make the mistake of not taking out travel insurance and regretting it afterwards when they end up with hospitals bills for thousands of pounds/dollars. You wouldn’t take to the road without car insurance, so don’t take a holiday without travel insurance.

2. Get the right Type of Insurance
Travel insurance covers many different things: injury, illness, delayed flights, loss or theft of possessions, and while you don’t want to go away without any kind of insurance you need to get the type that will suit your trip. If you’re going backpacking for example, you won’t need the same kind of insurance that would be suitable for, say, a business trip.

3. Abide by the Rules
As we all know, insurance policies are riddled with loop holes, so make sure you tick all the boxes by obeying the rules. This means checking in on time so you can claim if your flight is delayed.

4. Report Theft Immediately
If you are unfortunate enough to have your possessions stolen on holiday (or carelessly lose them), you must report to the local police in order to record the loss or theft. A crime reference number will usually be given. Failure to do this may mean you cannot claim on your policy.

5. Take Notes
If you do claim, your insurance company will want to know the precise details of what happened. Make sure you note every last detail down – what happened, when it happened, where it happened and why it happened. Make sure your story is water-tight or you’ll get caught out!

6. Get Luggage Insurance
We all know how heavy-handed ground staff at the airport can be. Not a problem if you have suitcases full of clothes, but a real risk of you have prized items in tow like a snowboard, guitar or canoe. Make sure any, large fragile, valuable items are insured. Oh, and always padlock your suitcase. Use TSA approved locks.

7. Keep Your Insurers Abreast of Changes
If you make any changes ahead of your holiday, be that changes to your schedule, holiday dates, hotel, car rental details or anything even mildly significant , be sure to inform your insurers so your policy can be adjusted accordingly.

8. Buy in Bulk
If you are travelling as a couple or a family, get group coverage. It’ll work out a lot cheaper than buying individual policies.

9. Think Long-term
The reason travel insurance can sometimes seem very expensive can simply be because you’re unprepared and disorganised. If you think you’ll be going away multiple times through the course of a year (lucky you) then buy a year's coverage since it’ll work out cheaper than buying many short-term policies. Consider what kind of holidays you’ll be going on, too. Skiing holidays require a different type of coverage than beach holidays.

10. Be Persistent with Claims
By their very nature, insurance companies don’t want to pay out for claims. They’ll try every trick in the book in an attempt to refute a claim. For this reason, you need to be persistent when claiming or insurance companies will brush you aside with legal jargon.

Joe is a travel blogger from the UK who always takes out insurance before going away! 


For more travel insurance tips, check out my earlier blog post.
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