Travel insurance

Why Buy Travel Insurance?

One thing 2020 has shown us is the vital importance of making sure you have good travel insurance. Not only in case anything goes awry during your time away, but also to cover any unforeseen eventualities that might arise between booking and travel – such as the dreaded Covid-19 – it’s crucial to take out your travel insurance at the time you book your holiday. Putting off arranging your travel insurance until just before your trip, or risking travelling without any insurance could be costly mistakes.

If you take several holidays or business trips abroad within a year, it may be worthwhile exploring annual insurance options, rather than relying on a number of separate single-trip policies. Not only could this save time and hassle, but it could save money too.

Cover to look out for:

  • Medical expenses – including private hospital stays, private medical treatment, and in an extreme emergency – getting you back home (medical repatriation) – while a good European travel policy will give £1 million worth of cover, for travel to the USA you need £2 million medical insurance
  • Cancellation and curtailment – in case you need to cancel your holiday entirely, or to return home early – look for £2000 minimum cover
  • Missed departure or delays – due to unforeseen circumstances such as a car breakdown or accident en route to the airport – aim for at least £500 cover
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage – ideally over £1500 cover
  • Valuables and currency – whatever you need for valuables cover, plus maybe £500 for money equivalents (such as pre-paid tickets) and £300 for cash
  • Personal liability cover – in case you accidentally injure a third party, or damage property – a good policy will offer £2 million cover
  • Scheduled airline failure – in case your airline goes out of business – £1500 plus
  • Loss of passport – towards the additional expenses involved in replacing a lost or stolen passport – perhaps £250

Packaged bank accounts

When – thanks to a birthday – the cost of our annual policy suddenly leapt up, we were very glad to learn about the benefits of packaged bank accounts which include travel insurance within the monthly account fee. If you fit the income criteria and can make use of the perks these accounts offer, they can offer fantastic value.

But which to choose? We searched trusted information sources online for an unbiased assessment and advice. MoneySavingExpert.com recommends checking out the Co-op Everyday Extra account (£15 per month) for couples and older travellers as it provides worldwide family travel insurance up to age 80, plus smartphone insurance and RAC breakdown cover. They also suggest considering the Halifax Ultimate Reward account (£17 per month) for worldwide family travel insurance (including winter sports), smartphone insurance, home emergency cover and AA breakdown cover. Which.co.uk highlights the First Direct First Directory account (£15 per month) offering a similar package.

Nationwide FlexPlus

Another account to consider is the Nationwide FlexPlus account (£13 per month) chosen by both MoneySavingExpert and Which as their best buy.

Why?

Like the others, it offers comprehensive worldwide family travel cover (including winter sports), plus smartphone insurance, along with UK and European breakdown cover – this time with Britannia Rescue. MSE calculates the value of the total package as £500 for an annual fee of £156. Also as it can be a joint account, a couple can both benefit. And flexible additional cover can be added if you need it… For example if you are over 70, have existing medical conditions, want to add hazardous activities, or to make trips over their standard 31 days.

At the time of writing Nationwide has (hopefully temporarily) closed their Recommend-a-Friend scheme where anyone opening a FlexPlus account using a referral from an existing customer earns each party a £100 bonus. If you are considering opening an account for the insurance package, do check first whether this has been reinstated and get in touch if you would like to know our referral code.

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