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Keep covered for your great (winter) escape

27th November 2012 Print

Brits jetting away to milder climes for an extended stay this winter need to ensure their travel and home insurance policies are fully valid, warns MoneySupermarket.

The comparison site urges travellers to ensure they have the best policy to suit their needs for an extended holiday, particularly older holidaymakers who are more likely to have a pre-existing medical condition. Between October and December last year, almost 40,000 people aged 65+ spent between one and three months in Spain, France or Portugal, seeking out the milder weather in these parts of Europe.

MoneySupermarket launched its pre-existing medical condition travel insurance channel in January 2012, enabling users to compare prices across a range of specialist insurers as premiums range significantly depending on the medical condition and the age of the individual. For example, cover for a couple aged 55 when the male has asthma starts from £57.45 for a two month trip to Spain, but for a more high risk condition such as angina cover for the same couple would be £98.79 for the same scenario. 

It is also important to check the small print of travel policies as they usually stipulate an upper age limit, and will vary depending on the provider. For example, Allianz offers cover for those up to 80 years old, whereas Explorer Travel Insurance has an age limit of 75. For older travellers, the cost of premiums increases considerably as perceived risk increases. For example, cover for a couple aged 75 when the male has Type 1 diabetes with MoneySupermarket's recommended levels of cover (see below), costs £210.68, and nearly doubles to £419.56 for a couple aged 85.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at MoneySupermarket said "Many Brits are escaping the cold weather for sunny days and warmer temperatures for an extended break this winter, but it's crucial to ensure you have the most suitable travel policy for your needs.

"Approximately one in five people need a travel insurance policy which covers them for a pre-existing medical condition, although many will travel on a standard travel insurance policy as they consider their condition too minor to disclose, such as mild asthma or high blood pressure. Being upfront with your insurance provider about a pre-existing medical condition is essential; not doing so could invalidate any cover you have in place."

Protect your home too

Analysis also shows it is vital to check the small print on your home insurance if you are intending to be away for over 30 days.  The maximum number of days away from home in succession varies depending on your home insurance provider, so homeowners will need to inform insurers of their plans and in some cases an additional premium may apply. For example, AXA, Churchill, The AA and Marks & Spencer have a limit of up to 30 days, whereas Direct Line, LV= and More Than allow you to spend up to 60 days away from your property.

Kevin Pratt concluded: "Don't forget the home you might be leaving behind for a few months!  To be on the stay on the safe side and give you peace of mind, it is advisable to inform your home insurance provider of your plans to ensure your policy remains valid for the full duration of your trip. As insurers all have different rules, so it is important you check the small print before heading off and if it is an annual extended trip it is certainly something to bear in mind when renewing a policy and opting for a policy with extended maximum limit of days away."

MoneySupermarket recommends at least the following level of travel insurance cover:

£2m for medical expenses
£1m personal liability
£3000 cancellation - or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday
£1500 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)

The pre-existing medical conditions travel insurance comparison service from moneysupermarket can be found at