With each tour that I organise more and more travel insurance issues are highlighted. We are now in a ‘claim’ state and whilst we feel we can easily claim for an accident through the fault of another; we need to ensure our ‘own backs’ are covered when purchasing our holiday travel insurance. So I thought it would be helpful to just put out a few questions to ensure you have your ‘back covered’ .
Do you read your travel insurance policy? Or do you do a quick compare price and hey presto click the cheapest?
We are encouraged to do everything ‘On- line’ and simply ‘Compare’ to go with the best price. But do you look at the excess payment or what you are really covered for? Insurance is a big ‘What if’ game and we can pay a lot of money for fear and be fine so please don’t let this put you off enjoying a great holiday, but just have a read and check; as I said, that you are covered or aware of what you are covered for.
So here are a few Questions:-
Are you covered for the type of holiday you are on?
If you are on a walking/trekking holiday you will need to ensure you are covered for the height you will be walking and any risks. Always speak to an advisor at the end of the line. Many local companies in the areas you are visiting are trained and experienced but don’t have business insurance and rely on you to have sufficient insurance. Some walkers suggest a great option is to join the Austrian Alpine Club (www.aacuk.org.uk), but this is a basic policy that is limited to peaks below 6,000m and excludes arctic regions. You should also be aware that this cover specifically excludes expeditions, which for many will be the purpose of their trip. However, it is relatively simple and cheap to extend the cover to include expeditions and peaks above 6,000m provided that you are an Austrian Alpine Club member. Worth looking into but on Atlas Tours you won't be going higher than this anyway so don't worry. Also please respect any restrictions the Guides state or any signs on the walks as you need to abide by rules to be covered, Falling down a crater in a National Park in Lanzarote is not covered if you have wandered off the route or paths the Guides have asked you to stay on. Oh it is a hard life.
Are you covered if you are on a walking holiday and unable to walk? Yes this can happen. For example you book to do the Inca Trail or a mountain walking holiday but you twist your ankle prior to the tour. What would happen? They may simply say “Well you can still go and sit by the pool or wander the town/village”. So please check as it could be awfully boring.
Sickness and Accidents
Are you covered for sickness? At the moment the blue card will offer so much treatment in Europe but you will need to pay for medication and perhaps hospital treatment. This varies in different countries and while recently in Madeira when a guest took ill with a fever he was consulted and treated by a local doctor in a local hospital for free; however, it could be different in another area with a more serious illness or accident. Also, he had to pay for his prescription although it was only 5 Euros. Medical costs may be recovered from your travel insurance but check excess. Also you must declare any illnesses you have or it could be invalid. Please check if you are travelling out of Europe.
Days Lost on Holiday Whie Sick. Again check this as this poor guest lost three days of walking and there was no valid claim.
Fit to Fly. This is also an issue if your Doctor says you can’t fly – you therefore cannot go on the holiday and you need to check what you require in relation to cover and evidence.
I have travelled all over the world with British Airways, Ryan Air, Easy Jet, TAP Portugal, Jet2.com and Monarch and never had a cancellation BUT on our last trip to Madeira sadly one lady had her flight cancelled due to storms in Madeira. The flight was ATOL protected and she was put up in a hotel overnight and most airlines offer transport to and from the hotel plus a voucher for meals. However, always keep receipts for everything. A simple piece of paper signed and dated with the destination on by a taxi driver is usually sufficient if they can’t provide one. Keep meal receipts but don’t overspend on the allowance they offer or you won’t get it back from the airline but may from travel insurance. Here is a link to British Airways and what they offer. Copy and paste in Google address or click on link. Not all airlines offer the same but check yours prior to booking or departure.
If your flight is over 3 hours late reaching your destination and it is due to circumstances within the control of the airline you may receive EU Compensation and see the link below. You will not be able to claim due to weather. You may lose a day’s holiday so check with the Travel Insurance for this as it is rare the airline will compensate or pay for anything once you reach the destination airport. EU Compensation obviously pays for this if the delay is not the airline's fault and you can get up to 600 Euros. You don't need to use a Claim's Company as see link below how simple it is;
Sadly baggage does get lost or get broken. If lost you must report it at the airport where it was lost; for example it does not come off the carousel in Rome. They will give you a document to keep while they try to find it. If you need to leave the airport and the case is lost you can purchase essential items and check the airline for what that allows. However, you cannot claim for valuables, medication, laptops, phones, money, etc as you must keep that with you. If not allowed on the flight in certain countries then often you can give it to the airline team and collect it at the destination. Some countries are now very strict on tablets, phone cables and mobile phones due to higher security. See link below.
The most important thing with baggage is to remove any previous flight tags as cases are computer read and if you have a different destination still on then it could go there very easily. Got a small black case? So many people have so put a big pink sticker both sides so it is obviously your case. Keep your case with you at all times if taking on the plane.
Equipment Loss or Damage
Note that equipment loss or damage may not be covered by your house contents. Check if you book to take with you on the flight what you are covered for as you will always need a receipt. Also if the equipment is damaged on the tour, for example your bike, what is covered? An airport may blame the airline and so forth so be careful.
Another consideration is age. Many policies will not insure anyone over 64. One company, HCC Atlas Travel, a part of the eGlobal Health Insurers Agency (www.hccmis.com/atlastravel/?referid=22324&lan) can be adapted to your level of risk and is reasonably priced, but do check its suitability and compare it with other providers before you make your decision.
I hope this blog has helped not hindered you with your tour and if you want any assistance or advice I am happy to help. The Atlas Discovery Holiday Company Ltd is insured by Camberford Law Plc and we dealt with a professional broker to arrange business insurance to meet our needs. BUT all clients must offer a booking form at time of deposit with evidence of travel insurance.
Many thanks for reading and your feedback is welcome
Diane Always Here and Happy to Help