Save money on your travel insurance

Caroline Cassidy

With the internet to hand, many of us are prepared to search high and low for the best deals on flights, package holidays and hotels.

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travel insurance

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How many take as much time getting the best deal on their travel insurance though? If you are planning a trip abroad, here's what you need, what to look out for and a few ideas on where you can save money and still be safe.

Annual or single trip insurance?
You might assume that annual cover offers a saving, much like bulk buying in the supermarket. However, this isn't always the case and, depending on how frequently you travel and where to, a single trip can work out cheaper (in some cases, it costs just a few pounds).

If you make several trips abroad each year, then annual cover will most likely prove the cheapest option. For those travelling less frequently it is worth checking the cost of single-trip insurance. However, be careful if you are flying to the USA, where medical treatment is expensive, as buying specifically for this country can seriously bump up a one-off cost.

If in doubt, visit where there is a handy tool that should help you to decide.

What cover do I really need?
Whenever you travel, you'll want to be covered for medical expenses, personal liability, lost luggage and cash. Cancellation cover is also an option but if you have managed to find a very cheap flight, it might not be worth the extra fee. Should you decide it is worth the money, be sure to book it as soon as you book your holiday otherwise you may not be covered.

Ensuring that potential medical expenses are covered is, of course, essential, particularly if you are travelling to a country where facilities are not of a high standard (make sure your policy includes repatriation costs if that is the case).

However, you don't need to go mad - £2 million worth of cover is usually more than enough to cover you should the worst happen.

When it comes to baggage cover, it's important to read the small print. Many insurers have single-item limits and there may be exclusions as well as an excess to pay so check your policy thoroughly.

If you are travelling within the EU or to Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, pick up a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It's free for adults and kids (each party will need their own) and make sure you take it with you.

The EHIC will cover you for medical care in state-run hospitals but should not be considered an alternative to travel insurance.

Where can I find the cheapest deals?
Once you've decided what cover you need for your trip, online comparison sites are an excellent place to start.

However, do check for specialist insurance policies as these may offer a better alternative. Options for over-65s, family insurance, winter or dangerous sports cover, gap-year travel and those with pre-existing medical conditions mean some of the best deals come from specialist policies that will ensure you are cover is tailor-made.

It's also worth checking your bank account or credit card details as many (admittedly the more expensive ones) offer free travel insurance as part of their monthly fee so you may already be covered.

Travel insurance may be yet another expense, but it's always worth paying for - better safe than sorry, as they say.