Theft and loss of possessions
The chances are that the cover provided (typically around £500) will not cover you for all your losses should your suitcase go missing. With more people taking gadgets away with them, the amount you need cover for soon increases.
You do need to make sure that you have adequate cover for lost cases as the airlines will only pay out the minimum set by an international agreement (the Montreal Convention gives a maximum of 1,000 Special Drawing Rights, which is around $1,500).
If you declare how much the case is worth at check-in, you should be given the option to pay a surcharge and this payment will then reflect your declared value). But it’s probably easier to claim on your insurance.
If your luggage is lost by the airline, remember to get a Property Irregularity Report before you leave the baggage reclaim hall.
With E-Tickets, the loss of your flight ticket is less important than it used to be. All you need is the reservation number and your passport. If you are issued the old fashioned multi-layer paper tickets, then you need your insurance to cover the cost of replacements.
Check with your airline on their policy on replacing tickets to see how much cover you need.
It is expensive to replace a lost passport, so look for cover of at least £250 per claim. This should cover incident costs such as getting to the embassy to arrange a replacement passport.
As with lost (other than the airline losing your case) or theft claims in the UK, you will need a crime number from the local police. This must be done within 24 hours of the incident or noticing that the items are missing. Your actions leading up to loss or theft may mean that the insurers will not pay out.
For specialist equipment, you may have to pay an extra premium. If you can’t fit the valuables (including camera equipment and laptop) into the room safe, use the hotel’s main safe. A locked suitcase in your room is not taking enough precautions. As with all insurance policies there will be an adjustment for wear and tear.
The amount of cash that you’re covered for is also important. Will it be enough?
It’s not just cover for you should you be in an accident, you must also be covered in case you cause the accident. This is called Personal Liability Cover, which should protect you in any claim for damages (including legal fees) against you.
This is where the numbers can get really large, such as £2 million.
If you need to sue somebody, or if your family need to sue because of your death, then you need cover for legal expenses. It’s difficult to know how much cover you need for this, but you will probably be covered for around £20,000.
Car accidents may not be covered and you will need separate cover if you hire a car.
Disasters and terrorism
The UK summer break coincides with possibly disruptive weather in other locations around the world.
For example, from 1st June until 30th November it’s the Atlantic Hurricane Season, so if you head to the Caribbean during this period there is a slim chance that your holiday may be disrupted.
The good news is that if you’ve booked a package holiday and you’re caught up in a natural disaster, the tour operator will have to bring you home and if this applies, to compensate you for any remaining days that you missed. In some cases they may offer to switch you to an alternative destination. This may mean a surcharge if the new holiday is of a higher value.
Your travel insurance should cover you for medical costs, or loss of possessions. If you’ve put your own trip together you may find that a basic policy will not compensate you for loss of any remaining days.
Terrorism and war is different. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues advice about travelling to other countries. If the FCO advises against travel to a particular country, then you will find it to be more of a challenge to get insured.
If the FCO only advises against travel to a particular part of a country, it gets more complicated. You must avoid these blacklisted areas to be covered.
However, even if your destination does not appear of an advisory list, your insurance still may not cover you in the event of a terrorist attack.