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Don't scrimp on travel cover for half term holidays

15th October 2012 Print

With half term fast approaching, and many families planning a getaway, MoneySupermarket urges Brits to plan ahead and ensure they have adequate travel insurance in place, not only for themselves but also for their baggage.

Bob Atkinson, holiday insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "There are hundreds of policy options available to travellers; however, the differences between cover levels provided can be vast and there is a danger of being underinsured if you choose the wrong one. You should always check that the policy you want offers adequate cover for instances such as cancellation, medical expenses and baggage. Excess levels are also important as sometimes the more basic the policy means more excess charges in the event of a claim, this in turn could make a claim less worthwhile."

The comparison site also analysed price differences between single trip and annual multi-trip family insurance policies. The analysis found it can be more cost effective to opt for an annual premium if you and your family plan to travel abroad more than once a year, especially to long haul destinations. For example, a family can cover themselves for one week in Florida for £31.29, but worldwide annual multi-trip cover for the same family is available for under £50.This includes winter sports cover and meets the MoneySupermarket minimum recommended levels of cover. Single trip cover for Europe is slightly cheaper; cover for one week in Spain costs £10.29. However, if you have plans to travel to Europe more than a couple of times over a year then a multi-trip policy would be more cost effective. Annual European multi-trip insurance with Virgin Money costs just £26 more and also matches the recommended levels of cover.

Bob Atkinson, continued: "A half term getaway can be the perfect tonic to combat the British Autumn, especially if this summer's Jubilee celebrations and Olympics kept travellers glued to their seats at home. There's no need to fork out huge sums for the right levels of insurance though; great holiday planning can surface some great savings. As our analysis shows, it pays to think carefully about levels of cover regardless of where you intend to travel. For just a few pounds more you can gain a more comprehensive policy that will adequately cover your whole family should any mishaps arise.

"Ensuring that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is also essential when travelling within the EU. This will entitle you to state healthcare at a reduced cost, or in some instances for free. Each member of your family will need to own a card in order to be covered however this should be used alongside your insurance policy, not as a replacement."

When it comes to buying travel insurance to cover personal belongings, recent MoneySupermarket research showed the typical value of travelers luggage is £1,440 per person - or a staggering £32 billion for the nation's holidaymakers travelling abroad. The research found people rarely travel with the correct level of insurance for their possessions. Among the holidaymakers with travel insurance who knew what they were covered for, only one in five (19 per cent) had the right level for their belongings; a third (30 per cent) were underinsured - leaving themselves at risk - and half (51 per cent) were over insured.  This compares to 35 per cent of those surveyed who assumed that they would be over insured.

Bob Atkinson said: "It seems there is no such thing as travelling light; as a nation we are wheeling around a staggering £32 billion worth of possessions for just one week away! Travelers should take out cover as soon as they have booked a trip; it's not just possessions you need the right level of cover for, but cancellation and medical expenses too. Scour the small print of the insurance policy before you buy, and remember the cheapest policy might not the best value for you."

MoneySupermarket recommends at least the following level of cover:

£2m for medical expenses
£1m personal liability
£3,000 cancellation - or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday
£1,500 baggage
£250 for cash
Policy excesses under £100
Cover for scheduled airline failure and end supplier failure as desirable
Delay cover (e.g. £20/hour for first 12 hours).