Do I need travel insurance?
- there is no law requiring you to have travel insurance – no one is going to stop you from travelling if you do not have it;
- there may be no legal compulsion but it is widely considered to be very important to arrange cover whenever you travel – the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, for example, says quite unequivocally that travel insurance is “essential”.
Why might it be described as essential?
- although travel insurance typically safeguards you against a number of risks and perils you face before and during your journey, probably the most significant is the protection it offers in medical emergencies – if you are injured or contract an illness whilst abroad;
- it is one thing to rely upon the freely provided National Health Service whilst you are at home, but it is quite a different matter if you need to pay invariably very high medical bills whilst abroad, or for repatriation to the UK for specialist treatment or convalescence;
- that is why specialist travel insurance providers – such as Bengo Travel, among others – put cover for medical emergencies at the very heart of the policies they arrange.
But I have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- if you are travelling within the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland, an EHIC may help you get the publicly provided treatment and care you need;
- you might bear in mind, however, that not all of the services provided by the NHS may be offered by the public health services in other countries – and you may also need to make a contribution towards the costs of those services that are provided;
- as the government website warns, therefore, an EHIC does not replace the need for travel insurance.
Does my travel insurance cover me for any country in which I choose to travel?
- the parts of the world and regions covered by your travel insurance may vary from insurer to insurer and from one policy to another – it is common, for instance, for insurers to distinguish between travel within Europe from travel to other parts of the world;
- it is also important to remember that your insurance may no longer be valid if there have been clear and unambiguous official warnings about travelling to certain parts of the world;
- with the incidence of terrorism and civil unrest, the Foreign and Commonwealth regularly updates its travel advice, including warnings about places in which travel should not be entertained.
What else might be covered by my travel insurance?
- once again, the details of any cover may vary from insurer to insurer, but commonly include;
- indemnity for any injury or property damage which you might cause to someone else;
- damage, loss of theft of your own belongings – usually including your baggage, money and passport;
- your need to cancel or cut short your travel for reasons beyond your control; and
- travel connections or delays that are beyond your control.