It can be very expensive to get medical treatment in some countries. Some hospitals won’t treat you unless they know that they will get paid. If you need to be flown home, the costs are literally sky high (sorry).

If you are uninsured, you may end up losing your home to pay for the bills, or even made bankrupt.

Always mention pre-existing conditions

It is vital that you mention any pre-existing condition to the insurance company before you buy the policy. You may find that you will not be covered for any treatment for that problem. Don’t worry, they will find out should you need to make a claim. You should also tell the insurers about any change in your health before you go away.

Remember that by taking the insurance you are allowing the insurance company to ask your GP for your medical history when you make a claim.

Different parts of the world have different premiums partly because of the local cost of medical treatment. You will need higher cover for a trip to America, for example. This includes some neighbouring countries as well as you may be evacuated to the States for treatment.

As well as knowing what medical treatment you will be entitled to, double check that you will be covered for an emergency flight home.


Cancellation or curtailment and flight delays

Holidays are one of the few things that you have to pay for up front. Also, most travel companies have firm cancelation procedures in place.

If you cancel far enough in advance, you may just lose your deposit. Leave it too late and you could lose the whole amount. So your insurance must cover you should you need to cancel your holiday.

Does the insurance just pay for one person who can’t make it, or can you claim for the whole trip if the others don’t want to go without you? Also, does the insurance actually cover the cost of the holiday?

You may experience problems if you don’t have cover from the day you book the trip. There may be a suspicion that you only bought the insurance at a later date because you knew that you would need to cancel. Also, should you be refused boarding at the airport for any reason, you will not be covered.

If your trip has to be curtailed and you have to come home early, check to see what cover is offered. It will probably be a percentage of the full cost based on the amount of time left. It should also cover you for additional expenses (such as buying another flight ticket if you are unable to rebook your existing ticket).

Your insurers may pay you an amount of money (not a high amount, but this should be excess free) if your flight is delayed for incidental expenses incurred while you wait in the airport. This is in addition to the compensation that your airline should give you. You should keep all your receipts, and this cover may not include connection flights, just the original departure and return. Also, these payments do not kick in as quickly as the airline compensation – typically only after a 10 hour delay.

If you decide that the delay is so great that it has ruined the holiday, you may be able to cancel and claim the holiday cost back. This is not on all policies, and the conditions set by the insurance company do not cover all eventualities.