Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chilled to the broken bone: why take the plunge without winter sports cover?

If you're planning to hit the slopes in the coming weeks, then there's another form of cover you'll need apart from the sun block, ski goggles and bobble hat.

More than three million Britons are looking to take to the piste this season, but price-comparison service estimates that over a quarter of them will not be insured properly, either because they have not read the small print and are unaware that their travel policy does not cover skiing, or because they do not feel insurance is worthwhile.

"This means they are not covered for injury to themselves or others and are therefore taking a huge financial risk," warns Peter Gerrard, spokesman for Moneysupermarket.

Insurer More Th>* has found that the five most common injuries are torn ligaments, fractured tibia, sprained wrists, back injuries and dislocated shoulders.

"It's estimated that one in seven of us will seek medical attention while away skiing," says Mike Gyde, marketing director of insurer "Given that these medical bills can run into thousands of pounds, it's vital to arrange appropriate cover."

In Europe, for example, a helicopter mountain rescue service costs 1,500, while repatriation back to the UK will leave you footing a bill of around 4,000, says price-comparison service Insurancewide. com. Head for the US and these expenses climb still higher, with repatriation costing up to 35,000.

Many people believe that a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will provide them with full medical cover, but this is not the case. While the EHIC which replaced the old E111 entitles you to free or cut-price basic medical treatment on the same terms as all nationals in EU states, the cover is limited. It will not, for example, stretch to costly extras such as an air ambulance, personal liability, trip cancellation or loss of baggage, and should not be seen as a substitute for winter sports insurance.

If you already have travel cover, don't assume that it is fit for the slopes. "Many policies do not include winter sports as standard," says Mr Gyde at Extrasure-online. "Ski cover is generally sold as a bolt-on to standard annual travel insurance or single-trip policies."

As a guide, comparison service recommends you take out insurance that will pay out 2m for medical expenses, 1m for personal liability, cancellation cover of at least the value of your holiday, 1,500 for your baggage and 250 for lost cash.

Ski insurance does not have to be costly: Money- supermarket says you can buy a policy for a one-week trip to France, for a family of four, for as little as 29.90 through Flexicover Direct, and a worldwide one-week policy from just 61.36.

You can also save money by taking out travel insurance with added winter sports cover. For a family of four, an annual multi-trip European policy would cost from 46.50 with Flexicover Direct, while an annual multi-trip worldwide policy would cost from 57.90 with the same provider.

You may be tempted to consider a dedicated ski insurer, but Mr Gerrard at Moneysupermarket says that they may not offer the best value. "Specialists such as Ski Cover may claim to provide the best deal for ski insurance," he explains, "but our research shows that its policy is 11.10 more expensive than the cheapest quote for a family of four on a single-trip basis."

Make sure you scrutinise the small print on a policy before purchasing, because ski insurance can be full of exclusions. "Even if you find a policy that claims to cover winter sports, you need to check carefully that you are covered for all the activities you may wish to participate in," says Debra Williams at

Many insurance policies will not, for example, provide cover if you decide to try more extreme winter sports such as heli-skiing, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, ice-lake diving and mountain climbing.

Further, many insurers have specific terms and conditions when it comes to heading "off piste".

Some policies insure only experienced participants, who must be under the supervision of a qualified instructor. They may also insist that policyholders stay within a certain number of metres from a run or authorised skiing area.

Last year was one of the warmest winters on record, which meant little or no snowfall for some of continental Europe's top ski resorts. As a result, many skiers and snowboarders who faced grassy slopes tried to claim for piste closure, but not all had their claims met.

Make sure you check for compensation limits: some policies specify that all pistes have to be shut for at least 12 hours if not 24 hours before a customer can claim.

Also be wary of indulging in a glass or two of vino on the slopes. "Virtually every travel insurance policy has a clause stating that if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an incident, any claim may be rendered invalid," says Mr Gerrard.

"While there will be plenty of people taking advantage of the aprs-ski on offer, it is extremely important to be sensible about alcohol consumption, particularly when returning to the slopes the following morning."

She didn't break a leg ... just an ankle and a knee

Louise Doyle, 39, from Chester, knows all too well the importance of winter sports cover, having made several claims in the past few years alone.

Last year, she twisted her knee and ankle after falling over while skiing in Les Carroz, France. After having her leg X-rayed by a doctor at the resort, she had to spend the rest of her holiday on crutches.

She then made a claim with her insurer, Direct Line.

A few years prior to that, Louise broke her ankle while on the slopes in Mribel, France, and had to be flown home.

Once again, she made a claim with Direct Line for the cost of treatment and repatriation.

"I'm a really keen skier, but there's just no way I'd consider going without cover," says Louise, an events producer. "I'm off skiing again this season and have just renewed my policy."

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The lowdown on travel insurance

Before you book your holiday, check out this essential advice from the Association of British Travel Agents on which travel insurance to get, what questions to ask your insurer and getting the right policy for your needs.

ABTA travel agents are trained to sell travel insurance. They are often the best people to sell it to you, because they already know exactly what you are planning to do on your trip and can assess what insurance policy is right for you and your family.

If you buy travel insurance when you book your holiday, it means that if you fall ill or have an accident and have to cancel your trip as a result, your travel insurance will cover you.

Mike Monk, Head of ABTA's Financial Services says:

"Of course people will shop around for travel insurance, but ideally you want cover from the moment you buy your holiday. The longer you delay, the longer you are not covered."

"On the whole, annual multi-trip insurance policies are cost effective if you are planning to do more than three trips a year, but they usually have a limited number of days you can travel for. So they are not what you want if you are doing a round the world trip lasting a few months."

"There are lots of factors - not just the price - you should consider when buying travel insurance. But whether you get a one-off travel insurance 'product', or an annual multi-trip policy, the most important things to look out for are whether the terms and conditions are what you want and whether the policy adequately covers you for what you will be doing."

It's important that the person selling travel insurance asks about pre-existing medical conditions and it's important for you to declare any conditions you suffer from.

Travel insurance should cover:

* Curtailing a holiday due to illness or accident, if your money or luggage is stolen

* For your family to fly out to be with you if there is a serious incident

* Costs - particularly medical treatment costs, which can easily run into thousands of pounds

Market surveys show that many people don't take insurance. People believe that their credit card accident cover, home insurance, or private health cover is sufficient. However, it is unlikely that these will give adequate cover.

If you make several trips each year, consider taking out annual multi-trip insurance to save time, money and effort.

Shop around. The cost of travel insurance varies widely, so shop around to find a good price and the right product, rather than opting to travel without cover. Bear in mind that a cheaper policy may have less cover. Use our Know Before You Go Current Partners page to find links to insurers.

Know what your policy covers and check that the cover is adequate. If in doubt ask your insurer.

Your policy should cover you for the following:

* The whole time that you are away

* Any activities and sports you might do. Some activities, such as skiing, jet skiing, are excluded from many policies. Many insurers will extend cover, if requested, otherwise shop around for a specialist policy.

* Medical and health cover. This is very important. It should be for a minimum of £1 million for Europe and £2 million world-wide. It must include cover for emergency medical treatment, hospitalisation and repatriation.

* Personal liability - for injury or damage to others and their property.

* Cancellation - if you have to cancel or abandon your trip. Cancellation cover should start as soon as you book your trip.

* 24 hour emergency service and assistance if things go wrong. The assistance company will help you to sort everything out.

* Possessions cover, including money and documents to specified limits.

Your policy may also cover:

* Personal accident - money paid on death or permanent disability.

* Legal expenses - to help you pursue compensation for damages following personal injury.

Read your policy to check for conditions and exclusions. If you are in any doubt, contact your insurer to find out exactly what cover you have.

* Most policies will not cover drink-related incidents.

* Most policies do not cover drug-related incidents.

* You must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover you.

* Declare anything that you think might affect the cover.

* Be honest - tell your insurer about current or past medical conditions. This should include the condition of those to be insured and others, such as close relatives, whose state of health may prevent you from travelling or may cause you to curtail your trip. If you don't declare you may invalidate your policy.

* If travelling to Europe - make sure you fill in Form E111 .

Do you need travel insurance and an E111 when you go to an EU country? Yes, because, an E111 will only cover you for state-provided emergency treatment. State-provided treatment may not cover all of the things that you would expect to receive free of charge from the NHS and the costs of a family member staying with you while you have medical treatment will not be covered either.

When you travel:

* Make sure you take your policy and the 24 hour emergency phone number with you.

* Make sure you know what to do in the event of a problem.

* Some insurance companies insist that you call their assistance company as soon as possible after a problem arises.

* If anything does happen make sure you keep as much paperwork as possible - tickets, receipts, medical bills, police reports etc - to help prove that what you're claiming for actually happened.

* Book through an agent that's with ABTA or ATOL.

* You should always buy holiday insurance, but it is worth remembering that if you book a holiday with an ABTA or ATOL bonded company you are already reducing risks. ABTA tour operators send in their own health and safety experts to check the standards of hotels, kitchens and swimming pools that are used. Reps will be able to give you the contact details of local authorities, such as police, doctors.

* If a natural disaster, or terrorist attack occurs while you are on holiday in a country, then ABTA operators will evacuate you if necessary. While if you have booked a holiday in a country, like Bali for example, where Foreign Office advice changes to advise against travel, then ABTA tour operators have to amend the holiday without charge or give a full refund.

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American Airlines scoops top travel award

American Airlines has beaten four international carriers to be named Best International Airline 2007 by readers of a prestigious travel magazine.

The carrier saw off stiff competition from British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Lufthansa to pick up the Travel Weekly award.

Voters in the poll consisted of travellers, as well as industry figures such as travel agents and marketing executives, who make the up the magazine's readership.

Kurt Stache, vice president and general sales manager of American Airlines' US operations, said: "We appreciate the travel agency community and all the other Travel Weekly readers who recognised [our] achievements in international flying.

"These travel experts clearly recognise the great experience that American Airlines now offers the international traveller, including our new Business Class Cabins aboard our 767s, our great food and award-winning wine selections, and the expansion of our Flagship Suites in First Class on all our Boeing 777s."

Results of the poll's other winners can be found in the January 21st issue of the magazine.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Holiday Insurance - Cheap Holiday Insurance - Travel Insurance - Instant Holiday Insurance

Instant Holiday Insurance is one of the UK's largest independent travel insurance company selling cheap travel insurance products, holiday insurance, medical and general insurance services. Instant Holiday Insurance is a trading partnered with of Essential Travel Ltd, who are authorised & regulated by the Financial Services Authority No. 300175

Our Holiday Insurance Web combines great value with comprehensive cover. We cover you for lost or delayed luggage, lost cash, passport and other personal documents plus emergency treatment. We established to offer UK customers comprehensive holiday insurance at competitive low prices. The travel insurance policy will cover you for any medical expenses that you incur should you be involved in an accident or become ill and require hospitalisation. Apart from medical expenses the policy should also cover things like; legal expenses, cancellation & curtailment,loss of money, baggage, passport, etc. and personal liability. Probably the main thing to consider is to make sure you are covered for any activity that you intend to undertake so that you and your equipment are covered while participating,e.g. skiing, scuba diving etc. Travel insurance in an instance without any hassle and with totally safe online transaction from start to finish.

We have a range of products including single trip holiday insurance, long stay holiday insurance, annual multi trip holiday insurance, ski holiday insurance and more for individuals, couples and families for a matter of months and need adequate cover at resonable rates.

We have partnered with Essential Travel to offer you fantastic deals on Travel Insurance. Essential Travel has teamed up with AXA Insurance UK plc to help provide you complete peace of mind on your holiday. We also offer family insurance and World Wide Travel Insurance online for UK holiday makers. Single Trip travel insurance is perfect cover if you are off on one holiday or escaping on a short break. If you are planning to travel a few times this year then an annual policy offers you both convenience and value for money. Our service specialist was set up with one main aim to provide convenient high value cover at the lowest prices possible.

You can easily get instant online holiday insurance quote where you can select your insurance package, date of travel, which could be for Europe or worldwide. Once package is selected,you can then enter your credit card details and get print off of your travel insurance policy and cover details immediately. Insurance certificate will reach to you either by email or by regular post.

Enjoy your holiday and be safe during holiday by getting insured with instant holiday insurance.

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Journey Resumption

Resumption of Journey

Regular travel insurance including trip interruption or travel emergency medical insurance will reimburse transportation cost traveling back to home country in case of medical emergency or family emergency. For example, a member of your immediate family, who is not travelling with you, is admitted to a hospital due to an emergency or dies after you leave home; or a natural disaster causes your principal residence to become uninhabitable after you leave home, most travel insurance will provide coverage on the transportation expenses to return home. If you would like to resume your trip, going back to the destination, you probably have to buy your own ticket.

Manulife offers a BounceBack benefit which will cover the expense traveling back to your destination if you purchase a single-trip plan (not applicable to Top-ups). If you have purchased the BounceBack Benefit with your Single-Trip Emergency Medical plan, Quick Trip plan or Single-Trip All-Inclusive plan and have to return home from your trip before your scheduled return date Manulife will reimburse your actual expenses up to $2,000 for your economy round trip transportation expenses to return home from your trip destination via the most cost-effective itinerary and, within your period of coverage, return you back to that trip destination. In the case of a death of an immediate family member, Manulife will pay the lesser amount of the cost of your economy round-trip transportation expenses to return home or the place of residence of the deceased. Expenses and benefits are subject to the policy’s maximums, exclusions and limitations
Exclusions & Limitations – What does the BounceBack Benefit not cover?

Manulife will not pay any benefits or expenses relating to:

1. A reason that, at the time you purchased the BounceBack Benefit, you could reasonably have expected would require you to return home prior to your scheduled return date.
2. A pre-existing condition of an immediate family member for which treatment was received in the three (3) months before the purchase of this insurance, resulting in hospitalization or death of the immediate family member while you are on your trip.
3. Your return back to your trip destination after the planned date of return indicated on your confirmation.
4. An act of war or act of terrorism. Limited coverage applies with respect to an act of terrorism.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cheap Travel Insurance An Expense To Be Considered When Arranging Your Holiday

Well you have decided that you want to book a holiday and after looking through many travel brochures and talking to all your friends you have decided on the destination of your choice.

One thing that you may not have thought about during all the excitement is one very important part of your holiday plans and that is travel insurance and as an extra expense that needs to be taken into account you are probably looking for cheap travel insurance.
You may be asked to take out your travel insurance by the travel agent you booked your holiday package with but it is also worth trying to arrange your travel insurance online.

Getting a travel insurance quote online is far easier than you may imagine and can be a convenient way to buy travel insurance whether you are looking for single trip travel insurance or multi trip travel insurance.
If you are only going to be travelling once per year then a single trip travel insurance policy would be more suitable as far as cost is involved however should you travel usually two to three times or more then it is well worth considering a multi trip travel insurance policy.

Multi trip travel insurance travel policies can also be known as annual travel insurance policies.
These multi trip travel insurance policies can save you considerable amounts of money in the long run.
When arranging your travel insurance policy be sure to establish what cover is provided and look for any items you may expect to be covered than are excluded or carry an excess.

Travel insurance policies can include excesses on certain sections of the policy and basically this means that in the event of a claim you are responsible for that first amount of the claim.
Although travel insurance policies can seem complicated when you look through a policy document it’s quite simple to request and inspect a brief summary of the main benefits provided and any exclusions that the policy may have.

Remember that like most things you are probably looking at a compromise between the cover your travel insurance policy provides and the premium that it carries.
Don’t assume that because an insurance company offers a policy at what appears to be a cheap premium it does not also offer good coverage and that this can also apply in reverse meaning that an expensive premium does not guarantee that the policy covers every aspect of insurance cover.

Taking a few minutes to arrange a proper travel insurance policy while at home can save you and your family a lot of anguish should any problem happen when you are actually at your holiday destination.

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