Travel insurance is designed to protect you against the cost of unexpected events that can occur whilst abroad or in the days leading up to your departure. There are two main types of travel policy, single trip or annual policies, although specialist contracts are available for extended stay or for individuals who plan on working abroad. Your travel insurance policy should cover you for the full duration of your trip abroad. Some annual policies may impose a maximum number of days' travel for each individual trip - check your policy document to see what you are covered for.
While it can cover a range of 'unexpected events', the main purpose of travel insurance is to cover you for the cost of medical treatment and repatriation, should you be injured or fall ill abroad. It is essential when purchasing travel Insurance to fully declare all pre-existing medical conditions as most policies will not cover these automatically. In most situations the Insurer will charge an additional premium to cover any medical conditions and endorse the main policy or issue a separate policy to support the main travel Insurance.
Policies vary from insurer to insurer, but most travel insurance policies will cover:
- medical emergencies including unforeseen illness, injury or accident
- 24-hour assistance helplines for medical emergencies
- cancellation and curtailment (cutting your trip short) in certain circumstances
- personal liability cover for injuries to other people or damage to their property
- personal accident
- lost and stolen possessions
- legal expenses
You should buy travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip so that you are covered for anything that happens between the time of booking and your departure date.