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Top 6 Travel Insurance Mistakes

From the MD’s Desk…


Managing Director Kate Huet reveals the top 6 travel insurance mistakes that she sees time and time again… and explains just how easy they are to avoid!


1. Not organising your insurance when you book your trip

The no.1 mistake made around the world is waiting to buy travel insurance (and leaving it too late). This happens a lot and it makes me really sad because a few minutes is all it takes.

It won’t cost you any extra to buy your policy sooner and it can save you a lot of anguish. No-one books a holiday knowing they will need to cancel, but the unexpected can and does happen.

Unfortunately, what we see regularly are cancellation claims being notified pretty soon after a policy has been purchased.

  • These will be investigated by the insurer.
  • When this happens, it’s not uncommon to find that the health condition that has caused the claim, was already known about and was giving cause for concern in the days leading up to the insurance purchase.
  • Invariably this goes undeclared in the hope it will resolve, but so often that’s not the case and unfortunately the trip has to be cancelled.

You can’t insure for something you already know about, which might give rise to a claim. But with Onestop4: you can declare symptoms and usually those can be covered, so if a stomach pain becomes appendicitis, or urinary frequency becomes prostate cancer, you can be covered.

We will ask if you are undergoing any tests or investigations and we need to know if you are. Insuring undiagnosed conditions if you are awaiting test results can be very tricky, so if a diagnosis is pending it may be better to wait (if you can) until the results are known.

We can always help over the phone if you are unsure how to declare the niggles, aches and pains and calling us is free.

We’re also unique in that no matter what those symptoms or health conditions are, you’ll get a 20% discount on all premiums – including medical – when you purchase through our website.


2. Not insuring all travellers on the same policy

If you’re travelling together but have different travel insurance policies, there is a danger of finding one traveller is insured while the other traveller is not.

Specifically, if one gets ill whilst travelling and needs hospital treatment, which requires them to stay away longer, the other traveller (who is not on their policy) will find that their own policy insurer won’t allow them to extend their stay and return with the currently ill traveller. This is because the person giving rise to the claim is insured elsewhere.

It’s a tough one, because Bank Account related insurance tends to stop at maximum age 79. In the instance of a 78-year-old (using a bank policy) and an 80-year-old needing their own insurance, you might think as long as both are covered then it is OK – but sadly not. Both travellers should be on the same policy in order for full protection to apply for both.


3.  Not checking that your health declaration is 100% accurate

When you get your policy documents, it’s so important to check that everything is correct. Errors can unfortunately happen, and it can be quite confusing when you are being asked a series of questions about your health, to remember everything precisely.

  • Was the surgery you had 2 or 3 years ago?
  • Has the doctor changed any of your medications in the last 3 months?
  • Do you still weigh 11 stone – or is it nearer 14 stone these days?
  • Are all your medical conditions listed – or did you perhaps forget to mention one or two?
  • Does it matter? Yes, it really does.

Thankfully, the majority of people are very diligent and do check and do declare accurately. It is heart-breaking  to know that someone’s under-declaration has affected their ability to make a claim.

If you are not sure what needs to be declared then use the phone – it’s free to call us, and we will help you make the right declaration. Those few minutes on the phone can literally relieve all the pressure.

We want this to be a simple process, not an ordeal, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your insurance is correctly in place.

If you find an error, just let us know – if you do this within 14 days there’s no policy amendment fee! (If you wait longer than 14 days, the amendment fee is £20.)


4. Leaving it to the last minute to advise a change in health

If you have any change to your health after your policy has been placed on cover, this means that your policy needs to be updated before you next travel and before you book another trip.

Leaving this notification to the afternoon before you travel may sometimes be OK – it can usually be dealt with straight away – BUT there are situations where we need more time.

If the change is quite significant, we may need to ask Underwriters to agree special terms, and we may need to apply special endorsements onto your policy. These take time, and if they can’t be done in the time available before you travel, it’s possible you will run into problems.


5. Incorrect travel return dates

Flying home across the Atlantic Ocean usually adds a day to your cover requirements. This is simply because the return flights tend to be overnight, so your holiday can end one day but you only get home the following day.

This catches people out. Your cover should include your full travel dates – from the minute you walk out your front door to the time you’re back home, and back through that front door.

Imagine falling ill on your return journey or missing a connecting flight, and finding your cover ended the previous day!


6. Not covering all regions you’re visiting

Cruise passengers often don’t realise that Mediterranean cruises don’t always stay in the Med, or that World Cruises will be heading into the Caribbean or visiting North America.

This usually only applies to cruises, so check carefully where your cruise is going and let us know. Then we can ensure your policy is appropriate for your full itinerary.

Finding yourself in US territory without cover if you fall ill can be a huge problem, as medical care on board or ashore will be extremely expensive. Without cover for the correct region, you may even have to pay those high costs up front. On the other hand, with just a quick confirmation of details you can rest assured that you’re covered for the full journey.

I hope this helps you to understand your cover better and to make those important choices when you apply for your next policy. As I’ve said before, the team here is only too happy to help so please give us a call on 0800 848 8448 if you have any questions.

Wishing you happy and safe travels,