Top 5 travel insurance traps to watch out for

Esther Shaw / 08 February 2016 ( 20 January 2017 )

If you’re planning a break abroad, it is essential you get the right cover in place. Traveling uninsured is a false economy, as the cost of medical care abroad can be incredibly expensive.

Having a comprehensive policy in place will give you the peace of mind that you are protected, should the worst happen.

That said, there are a host of pitfalls you need to watch out for.

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1. Declare all medical conditions

While you may be tempted to keep quiet about pre-existing medical conditions when applying for cover, this is a risky move.

Claims arising from conditions that you already have will not be covered unless you have declared all your medical history, as well as hospital visits and the medication you are taking.

Honesty is key; that way, you can be sure of being fully covered when you travel.

It’s also worth noting that while many over-50s are unable to get travel insurance if they are on a waiting list for medical treatment, Saga is now offering offering travel cover to these customers – provided their GP has said they are fit to travel.

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2. Check the policy limit on high-value gadgets

Most insurers have an overall limit for the amount you can claim for expensive items, so make sure you check this. If not, you could end up out of pocket should you need to make a claim.

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3. Ensure all the activities you want to try are covered

Not all sports will be covered as standard, so if you are planning on taking part in any 'adventurous' activities, such as horse riding or scuba diving, you should check with your insurer to see if cover is available, or if you can pay a premium to include that activity.

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4. Be aware that policies may not pay out if you’ve been drinking

Policies often have exclusions for being under the influence of alcohol.

This means that if you need to make a claim after having consumed a drink or two, it could potentially invalidate your cover, leaving you to foot the bill for medical expenses and other costs.

If you are unsure about any restrictions in cover, speak to your provider for clarification.

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5. Read the small print

When choosing a policy, never buy on price alone, as cheap policies may have a high excess or be riddled with exclusions. The key is to look carefully at the features offered, and the service that comes with it.

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And finally... don’t forget to take your EHIC with you

If you’re travelling in Europe, you must remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. This will entitle you to emergency medical treatment for free – or at a reduced cost.

Note, however, that an EHIC should not be viewed as a substitute for travel cover, as the level of benefit provided depends on the country you’re visiting, and will not cover your for repatriation, loss of possessions or airline failure.

For these reasons, it’s vital that you get a comprehensive travel policy in place as well.

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For more tips and useful information, browse our travel advice articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.