Buying travel insurance is an extremely important part of planning your holiday because without it, you could risk getting in thousands of dollars of debt. You can never guarantee a problem-free holiday as illness can strike at any time and accidents can happen anywhere in the world and are actually more common when people are on holiday as they are unfamiliar with their surroundings.

Without doubt, the growth of the internet has ensured that insurance prices are kept low because competition is so stiff. This, along with the relative ease of booking insurance online, saves time and money so there is no excuse for not buying it.

Before you take out a policy, there are a few things to bear in mind and also a number of things which will need to be done.

  • Preparation is extremely important as you need to know where to look, what cover you need, how much money you have budgeted for insurance and whether you will be going on more than one holiday a year.
  • If you are a student, there are many insurance brokers specifically aimed at students, offering the best prices.
  • Always compare the quotes you receive before choosing a policy. Make sure each policy offers the cover you require and then you can make an informed decision.

Never risk it and assume that you’ll be okay without insurance. The only time you won’t need to buy any travel insurance is if you are sufficiently covered with another valid policy such as home insurance or life insurance. Without travel insurance, you could face medical fees of up to US$20,000 for a minor operation.

Make sure that the cover includes the following:

  • At least US$7 million medical cover
  • At least US$5,000 cancellation cover
  • At least US$2,000 cover for loss or theft of personal belongings
  • Financial compensation for delayed flights
  • Personal liability cover up to US$20 million

It is of the utmost importance to declare all pre-existing illnesses. If you try to hide the fact you are suffering from an illness and this is discovered, your entire premium will be void and you will not be able to make a claim. Also, make sure you pay for extra cover if you are going skiing or taking part in any extreme activity such as bungee-jumping or mountain climbing.

Choosing which company to get insured with can be very confusing. There are many agents offering good deals for all ages and all kinds of trips. If you are on a gap year, some of the best companies include:

  • Club Direct:
  • Columbus Direct:
  • Global Rescue:
  • STA Trave:
  • Student Universe:
  • World Nomads:

If you are going on an annual holiday and only need short-term cover, the following companies offer some of the cheaper premiums:

  • Access America:
  • American Express:
  • Atlas Direct:
  • Insure My trip:

As long as you have carried out the appropriate research and can make an informed decision, you are bound to find the cheapest and best insurance cover for you and your family. Comparing individual quotes is one of the best ways to do this.