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Choosing Cheap Travel Insurance In 2024

With horror stories plastering the media, it can be difficult to make sure you’re getting the travel insurance you need at a decent price. You might think you’ve got a lovely cheap deal on your travel insurance, but when it comes down to it the cover just isn’t suitable.

The price of your policy is affected by a myriad of factors, like where you’re going, how old the travellers are, how long you’re away for, how many of you are travelling… and that’s without even touching on the impact a pre-existing medical condition might have. Most of the time these things are outside of your control, so we’ve put together a guide on purchasing travel insurance which is both cheap and cheerful, making sure you know how to cover yourself properly on a budget-friendly policy.

LEAD TIME

The phrase ‘lead time’ is basically the amount of time there is between when your policy becomes active, and when you go on holiday. On a single trip your cover starts immediately after purchase, and with an annual multi-trip your policy begins on the day you decide. Either way, the longer the gap between the start date and travel date, the higher the risk of cancelling your holiday and the higher the risk of your policy being more expensive. 

Getting your travel insurance closer to the time you depart will probably make a noticeable difference on the price you pay, but you need to consider the fact that this also means you’re without cancellation cover. A lot of travel advice services will tell you to get travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday, so it’s up to you to balance the risk of not being covered with a cheaper policy.

SINGLE TRIP VS. ANNUAL MULTI-TRIP

Deciding between an Annual Multi-Trip policy and a Single Trip policy can be tricky. You have to weigh up how many times you’re travelling to see if it’s worth it, and it usually works out cheaper to take out an Annual if you’re going away three or four times within 12 months.

If you’re making the most of the geographical region you choose, the premium is more likely to be worth it. If you pick Worldwide cover and intend to travel all over - Indonesia, the USA, Brazil, Finland - then you’ll probably find that the AMT premium will work out more cost-effective than buying a Single Trip policy to each of those places. If instead your holidays are all France, Italy, and Spain, then the same will generally apply for a policy in Europe. 

The confusion comes in when you shake things up, like throwing in a three week family holiday to Florida when you usually spend the odd weekend at your villa in Portugal. Your Annual Multi-Trip premium will almost definitely increase when you upgrade your geographical cover from Europe to Worldwide, just to cover one holiday.

To save money, spend a bit of time doing some comparisons between Single Trips and Annual Multi-Trips. You might even find it works out cheaper to do both!

GO AS A GROUP (OR NOT)

A lot of the time, it’s much easier to stick all the travellers in your party on the same policy, but it might not be the most cost-effective. Different travellers will have a different impact on the price, due to things like age and medical conditions. For example, a 20-something without medical conditions is unlikely to up the policy premium much at all, but a 70-something with a complicated medical history and plenty of pre-existing medical conditions could do the opposite.

We know it’s time-consuming, but you really could get a much cheaper deal if you compare the cost of individual or couple policies against a group one.

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you’re not all on the same policy, if it comes to making a claim this might make things a bit complicated. That’s not to say you wouldn’t be able to make a claim or get a payout, but it does mean you need to think about who’s covered where and what the terms of their specific cover are.

CONSIDER YOUR AGE IN ADVANCE

We all know that the older you get, the more expensive travel insurance tends to get. You might even find that there are significant jumps in the price when you hit ages like 60, 65, 70, 75 etc. So if you find your regular insurer suddenly increases your premium, offers reduced cover, or simply can’t cover you, your age can definitely be a contributing factor.

However, these limits are usually imposed if you’re that age at the point of purchase, not if you turn that age while your policy is active. Buying a policy at 70, then turning 71 shortly after, might mean you can squeeze an extra bit of travel in - especially if you opt for an Annual Multi-Trip.

TO COMPARE OR NOT TO COMPARE? 

Quote comparison sites have really changed the game. It’s quick, it’s efficient, and it’s a good way of cutting your costs, giving you the option to get a policy from a provider you might never have heard of (but who still offer great cover).

However, we all know that some brands aren’t on comparison sites. In this kind of scenario, you might find you can reduce your costs even further by giving the providers a quick call - they might be able to match a lower premium, offer a discount to keep your business, or even give you alternative policy options which work out even cheaper than going online. You’ll also be able to check that everything is tip-top and above board when it comes to your quote - we all make mistakes, so make sure you’ve not made one which gives you the wrong quote price.

PICK PROPERLY

It’s tempting to go for a higher level of cover at your expense, just to know you’re fully covered. You might even chuck on additional cover for sports and activities you have no intention of doing. The logic here of course is that the more you pay, the more you expect to be covered for.

But this isn’t always the way! Some insurers only increase the claim amounts under certain sections of the policy (like cancellation or baggage) if you go for the higher option, leaving the other claim amounts on the policy the same as if you’d gone for the budget option. 

So take a second to read the Policy Wording (or at least glance at the table of benefits), and consider whether you really need £10,000 cancellation per person when your holiday only cost £700. And if you’re planning on a trip filled with adventure, double-check which activities are included as standard, and which will charge you an additional premium. You’ll probably find you don’t need to add any at all.

COST VS. COVERAGE 

The aim of the game is obviously to get the cheapest travel insurance you can, and most of the time you’ll get what you’re after at a decent price. Be wary of the small print though, as it can hide a lot of exclusions and limitations which might only come to light if you end up making a claim. Budget policies have their drawbacks, and you could end up being caught out with low medical cover, little to no compensation for lost items, or hefty excesses.

Let’s be honest, it’s boring and it takes ages, but the best way to avoid this is to do your research and read up on the policy you want to purchase ahead of time. Check the restrictions, read the reviews, and see how easy the claims process is. Choosing the best insurer for your holiday isn't about picking the cheapest travel insurance policy or the most expensive; it's about finding a policy that actually fits your needs. Look for a balance between cost and coverage, so you can make sure your policy provides real peace of mind. 

28th May 2024