Travel insurance is essential for any overseas trip. At Free Spirit, we believe taking out travel insurance should be as integral a part of preparing for a holiday as booking a flight or packing your suitcase.
Yet, some people still go abroad without a travel insurance policy in place, which, as well as potentially putting their health at risk, can turn out to be a costly decision. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) reports that in 2016, UK travel insurance providers paid out an enormous £369m for 480,000 claims to travelers who needed help while overseas – money that would have had to come out of their own pockets if they hadn’t been insured.
To help explain exactly why travel insurance is so important, we’ve answered some of your most commonly asked questions below:
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is designed to cover you financially for the kind of eventualities that can occur before or during a trip overseas, such as holiday cancellation, emergency medical care costs from an accident or illness, and loss of personal belongings. A policy may cover just one person, or several people traveling together.
Travel insurance policies are specifically designed to cover many types of trips, including:
Single trip policies – for individual trips that cover the chosen destination(s), the timeframe booked and any planned activities.
Annual Multi-trip policies – for a number of trips within an agreed geographical area over a year.
What is medical travel insurance?
Medical travel insurance, also known as specialist travel insurance, is a type of travel insurance tailored specially to people who have pre-existing health conditions and/or disabilities.
Many standard travel insurance providers will not cover people who have long-term medical conditions or disabilities, or people over a certain age, whereas medical travel insurance providers like us specialize in covering those of any age with almost any existing condition or disability.
Medical travel insurance enables people who may otherwise struggle to secure the cover to enjoy quality time away knowing they are covered for the often very high costs of overseas emergency healthcare and other eventualities, should they need it.
Do you need travel insurance?
The short answer to this is yes! Advice from many organizations, including ABTA and ABI, recommend that every traveller should be adequately covered with travel insurance. This is even more important if you have an existing medical condition or disability, as you may be more likely to need access to emergency healthcare while you are away.
Without travel insurance, you wouldn’t be able to claim if you needed emergency treatment during your trip or if you had to cancel your holiday as a result of your health. A Free Spirit specialist travel insurance policy will cover your medical condition and/or disability (subject to medical screening) so that you have full protection both before and during your trip. As with all policies, terms and conditions will apply so you will need to read the policy wording.
Why take out travel insurance?
Since most trips overseas are only a week or two, it can be tempting not to take out travel insurance in the hope that nothing will go wrong. Sadly though, unexpected events like falling ill, being involved in an accident, or being unable to return home as planned, can interrupt a holiday all too often.
For example, if you become too ill to take your holiday as planned, our travel insurance with cancellation cover can mean you don’t lose all the money you’ve spent on flights and accommodation. Overseas medical and emergency healthcare is often extremely expensive, but travel insurance can protect you from these costs if you need care, say, due to your existing condition or in the event of an accident.
What does medical travel insurance cover?
At Free Spirit, we aim to offer medical travel insurance for people of any age who have almost any existing condition or disability. The ten most common health conditions we cover include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and arthritis, but we also cover heart conditions, brain, and cerebral conditions, mental health conditions, rare conditions, people who have had organ transplants and people with disabilities, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and motor neurone disease.
Our medical travel insurance also provides many other essential aspects of cover for a trip abroad, such as cancellation cover, repatriation costs, hospital stay costs, delays or interruptions to your journey and loss, theft or damage to your passport, medications, medical aids, baggage, personal money and travel documents. Take a look at the full policy terms and conditions for the complete list of what’s covered.
What isn’t covered by travel insurance for medical conditions?
The full extent of your travel insurance from Free Spirit will depend on the level of cover you opt for – ‘Super’ or ‘Super Duper’. Each includes certain cover benefits with differing amounts of cover, although there are a couple of features that are only available with ‘Super Duper’ cover.
For example, only ‘Super Duper’ cover insures you in the event that your airline reneges on their agreement with you due to financial failure, or your trip is disrupted as a result of natural disaster or being advised not to travel to your destination by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Do you still need travel insurance if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
Yes. The EHIC is valid within the European Economic Area (EEA) – European Union (EU) countries plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein – and grants you either free or reduced-cost state-provided medical treatment in these countries. However, it doesn’t apply to private hospital care or treatment, and it does not cover repatriation costs to get you home again, so medical travel insurance is a must. You can apply for a EHIC online.