Updated: May 29
Our package holidays always include travel insurance, but if you just want to book a flight and set up the rest of your holiday independently, it is very important that you take care of this issue.
In life, some kinds of insurance are mandatory. If you run a business, you need professional indemnity insurance. Drivers need car insurance. But travel insurance is not mandatory.
That fact can tempt some independent holidaymakers to save cash by doing without it. This can be a very tempting thing to do, especially if you are planning to travel on a limited budget.
However, travelling uninsured is like a lot of things in life; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
The perils of uninsured travel
If you do travel without insurance, it means a whole range of problems and calamities will not be covered for. Examples include:
Flight delays and cancellations. This means any extra costs incurred will not be covered and you will have to find them yourself
No cover for loss or theft of items
No medical cover
These are just a few of the items included in travel insurance policies. The key point to note is that in trying to save yourself money, you could suddenly find yourself facing a big bill you will struggle to pay.
In some cases this can be inconvenient, but in the instance of medical cover it can be a matter of life and death. While there are countries with reciprocal public health arrangements with the UK and a high standard of care, most countries will not have this. In some places, including the US, they will want to see the colour of your money before they treat you, with massive potential bills.
In short, going to some countries without insurance could cost you your life.
Check your travel insurance fits
A less obvious problem, but one you should be aware of, is taking out inadequate travel insurance. You should always check your policy covers you for the trip you are making.
This is important because some people will have ongoing travel insurance policies that they may have used for one past trip and stick with, even though it may not be appropriate for the next trip. Some policies come with a packaged bank account, which can be very handy but by their very nature are standard policies that don’t always cover everything.
Among the things you should check for are:
Policies that only cover a trip of a certain duration
Policies that do not cover certain activities, such as winter sports or dangerous sports
Health exclusions based on pre-existing conditions: If you have one of these it is wise to seek a specially tailored policy.
In some cases, you may need specialist insurance. For example, we run package tours to Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp. If you undertook trips like this or anywhere else independently, you should take out a mountain insurance package that covers high-altitude activity. This is normally excluded from typical travel insurance policies, so it is best to approach a specialist provider like the British Mountaineering Council for this.
How we can help
At Global Travel, we are happy to help you make your choice of travel insurance. We can advise you on whether your package fits the trip you are planning, as well as helping you understand what sort of exclusions (such as pre-existing health conditions) apply to you.
Of course, most trips proceed without any major hitches and are a memorable event. But being insured does mean that if the holiday takes a turn for the worse, the situation will not be anywhere near as bad as it might have been.