Travel insurance – is it worth buying?


If you’re heading away on holiday this summer, you might be wondering whether or not you need travel insurance. Here are a few things to bear in mind.

Do I need it if I already have health insurance?

You should seriously consider taking out travel insurance if you are heading abroad. If you have private health insurance, you may already be covered for illness and injury overseas. However, travel insurance covers you for other things such as delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage, and lost or stolen money or valuables.  If you are taking out travel insurance, it’s important to take it out as soon as you book your trip - rather than waiting until your travel date - just in case something goes wrong before you go.

What’s the difference between the policies out there?

There are different types of travel insurance policies available. You can buy a single trip, multi-trip or annual policy. An annual policy can work out better value if you go abroad more than once a year. You can also buy as an individual, as a couple or as a family. Choose which type of policy is suitable for you, e.g. annual, family etc., and then compare the cover available on this type of policy from different insurance companies. Cover can vary a lot, so make sure you understand what each policy offers before you decide. Remember also that adventure activities like skiing and diving are considered riskier and aren’t usually covered on standard policies so you will need to look for a specific policy that will cover those. Cover will usually cost you less if you already have private health insurance. 

What’s covered?

The level of cover will vary from policy to policy so it’s important to check exactly what is and isn’t included when comparing policies. Most will offer cover for medical costs, delayed or cancelled flights, and lost or stolen money or goods. Generally, if something is not specified in a policy, then it is not covered. Also most travel insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions, unless you tell the insurer in advance and they accept the risk. They may refuse to cover you for certain illnesses, or charge you extra on your premium. 

Anything else to think about?

Another thing to consider when comparing travel insurance policies is the excess. The excess is the first part of any claim that you have to pay. For example, if you have a claim for lost luggage of €400, and the excess on your policy is €100, the insurance company will only pay out €300, as you have to pay the first €100. Generally speaking the higher the excess, the lower the premium, and vice versa. 

If you book a trip directly with an airline, or through a travel agent, they may offer to sell you travel insurance, but you don’t have to buy it from them. In fact you may get better value by shopping around and getting your travel insurance from another provider.

Have I any other protection?

Yes, if you are an Irish resident you are entitled to free or reduced-cost State provided healthcare when visiting another European Union country or Switzerland. You should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and take it with you when you travel. You have rights under EU legislation if your flight or ferry is delayed or cancelled. You also have rights if your airline or tour operator goes out of business. Check that they are fully bonded and licensed by the Commission for Aviation Regulation before you book. 

You can find out more information on our travel section, as well as more information about travel insurance and making a claim. Bon voyage!

Published Date: 27/04/2017

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