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Advice and tips on driving in France, for day trippers and visitors to Calais, France – needing information on travel and breakdown insurance.

Travel Insurance for France and Europe travellers

Advice and information from Possibly the most comprehensive listing of web links for insurance companies.

Let's face it, buying travel insurance is difficult, and the inadequacy of a policy usually only becomes apparent when you claim for something. We advise you to draw up a list of things you are concerned about or are likely to do and check the small print (Terms and Conditions). Cheap policies have many drawbacks, but with careful selection good value policies can be found.

Although insurance companies are still very much lagging behind the times and not offering insurance that suits today's traveller (most people make their own independent arrangments nowadays – DIY), more and more companies are seeking to provide policies that customers want. Revised products should now offer flexibility of choice, high levels of cover and a good price.

Even if you have made your own independent arrangements, the hotel and car hire company you have booked with, are within their rights to insist on payment, even if your flight or ferry is cancelled or unable to leave on time. If you have booked as part of a package you will covered. If you are concerned about the knock effects of DIY travel, we suggest you use an AITO registered tour operator to book your holiday. The advantage of a tour operator is that they are there for you should things go wrong.

Most of us discover the extremely limited nature of travel insurance when we make what we would consider to be a reasonable claim. However, the public view of what travel insurance is for, differs from that of the travel insurance companies. In general, travel insurance will cover you for a specific range of pre stated risks, and to clarify matters for you, list the exclusions. Unexpected delays, which may see another events affected are not covered.

So if for example, you were flying back from France, had your flight delayed three to five days because of a strike / volcanic cloud / snow, and your long planned and paid for weekend away could not be taken, all you would get for your claim, would be a small amount of compensation per day of the delayed return. If your trip to the airport was delayed / cancelled because of an accident for example, you would not be covered.

A widespread belief that travel insurance would pay for alternative ways of getting back is misplaced. We have yet to come across a policy that offers this level of cover. The main difference it seems, between a good and bad travel insurance company, is how strictly they interpret their stated cover. Volcanic cloud claims, were only paid out by a small number of companies, some of which interpreted this event as a weather disruption. However new policies may well not even allow for this.

My own families experience back this up. My wife was delayed five days in January 2010 because of snow disruption in England and in France. Whilst she was put up in a hotel without any problem by Easyjet, she only got back five days later by opting to fly home via Geneva. She had to make her own way there and could not claim for this. She did get a small amount for the days of delay. In April she was unable to join me in France at all, due to the volcanic cloud and got nothing other than a refund from the airline. Following on from the advice of my broker we took out a policy with Tokyo Marine. Not only was the policy cheaper than our old one, the benefits were better. Tokyo Marine is one of the companies that took an enlightend view about volcanic dust.

However this month, due to a strike in France, my wife's flight was cancelled (Thursday) and she was offered a flight back on the Monday. Travel insurance policies do not cover alternative travel arrangements, neither would they cover the losses involved in a planned weekend away (paid for some months ago). She finally opted for a refund from Easyjet and got back to London via SNCF / Eurostar at a cost of 205 euro (always looks at the local website, eurostar wanted £248). She cannot claim this extra cost. However, with other commitments including visitors expected at home this weekend, she had no option other than to pay extra to get home.

Many of you will share my disbelief that the insurance industry cannot come up with a policy that allows people to get back home within a day or two. For me and my wife, the reasons are entirely professional. We would pay extra and know of many people who would as well.

January 2010 disruptions – Many people have been dismayed to discover that "premium" or business" policies do not actually allow for travellers with flight cancellations to book with other travel companies. Limited compensation is sometimes offered. It is crucial for travellers to think through the circumstances in which they may have to make a claim and check the Terms and Conditions before they buy.

Make sure your policy covers the following at least; luggage, health insurance – especially if you're going to be doing any "dangerous" sports such as skiing, repatriation charges- these can be expensive!

Keep your policies with you – not in your luggage.

Credit card and Bank insurance. Worth checking to see if you have it (it often comes free). However do check the scope of the policy, it may well not be adequate for your needs, or have a high excess. Check age limits, if they cover skiing or any activity you may be considering, the scope of the cover (just Europe or worldwide?) and whether it becomes valid only if you have booked the travel part of the journey yourself.

February 2007 – BIBA, the British Independent Insurers Association has just completed a survey with regard to travel insurance sold by travel agents. Makes interesting reading . . .

Although we all now benefit from free health care in other E.U. member states (European Health Insurance Card, the old E111), it is for basic cover only. It is always advisable to have your own personal or family insurance. The EHIC does not cover prescription charges for example, or emergency flights. Travelling without insurance will always cost you more in the long run. They do not remind you your card needs renewing – please check it at least two weeks before you travel.

Foreign Office warning – too few skiers have proper insurance. They note that most ski resorts only have private health facilities which are NOT covered by the European Health Insurance Card (old E111).

Insolvency is not always covered, we advise you to check the terms and conditions before buying your policy.

Protect my holiday insurance

Tips and Suggestions

European Health Insurance Card (old E111) for provides for free medical cover – but you must get it before you go. It does not pay for ambulances.

It may be cheaper to upgrade your home insurance. Home owners who have "all risks" contents policies may find they are covered for expensive items lost outside the home. Check with your home insurance company before buying this option on travel insurance.

Take out insurance immediately after you book (in case of cancellation due to illness or a death or curtailment).

Make sure your existing policy covers the full length of any forthcoming journeys.

If you travel more than once a year look into annual policies – buying a single trip policy twice is more expensive.

Don't drink. Most insurance companies refuse claims for a drunken incident or injury, or if there is any evidence of excessive drinking.

Existing conditions – Never leave anything to chance, declare everything.

Hazardous activities / sports – think about what you may do when on holiday and ensure your insurance covers it.

Expensive items – Jewellery, cameras, videos. Check if these are best covered under you household policy (ring them up) and if you need to declare them when buying travel insurance (named items).

Make a note of your insurance policy number and insurers telephone number.

Keep all receipts in a safe place.

Always report stolen items to the local Police immediately, you will be asked for a police report into the incident.

Always read carefully your policy terms and conditions before making a claim. Under the ABI Code of Practice, you are entitled to a full refund within 14 days of purchase if the terms and conditions do not suit your requirements.

Shop around – never accept insurance offered when buying a fare or holiday – its usually much more expensive.

Use a broker – if you do get trapped by an exclusion (even the best policies have them), your broker is obliged to argue for a better payout on your behalf.

If you are an independent traveller (i.e. you make your own arrangements – DIY) check if the policy covers you. Often they will only cover some aspects of a claim unless the holiday has been booked by a tour operator. For example if you arranged your holiday yourself, your flight may be covered if cancelled, but the hotels booked will not. Unfortunately few policies cover the "knock on" consequences of one cancellation. In the small print look for "indirect loss" clauses. Even better look for "independent traveller" policies. Normal travel insurance, especially that offered by airlines or ferry companies is very limited and should be avoided by independent travellers.

Remember – Travel insurance was originally designed for the package holiday market and terms and conditions have not adapted or changed enough to cope with modern practices, where people tend to book their flights or ferries, and hotels and tours separately. 10 years ago 90% of people booked trips abroad using a package holiday company. The growth of the internet has seen this proportion drop considerably as more people make their own arrangements.


Medical £2 million, (£5 if USA). Accidental Expense – £1,500. Legal expenses £25,000. Personal liability £2 million. Watch out for baggage cover and excesses, "hazardous" activities like bungy jumping and jet skiing (even horse riding). Make sure children (including those at university) are covered, as well as unaccompanied children. If you travel as part of your job make sure you are covered.

TIP – sort out your travel insurance before booking your holiday – it may not be covered otherwise (its cheaper too!).

Questions to ask when deciding which travel insurance to buy

Remember you are not have to buy from the travel agent where you booked your holiday. Always shop around before visiting your travel agent, as some agents will not sell you a holiday if you do not have travel insurance. There are lots of hidden costs with cheaper or "own brand" policies. Check our list and make sure that you are FULLY covered, before you make that claim.

24 hour hotline number. In an emergency is there a 24 hour contact number? Due to time zone differences, access to a 24hr claim line is more necessary than many think. Most insurers now offer one, just make sure you've always got the number written down somewhere close to hand in case of emergencies.

Accident Cover – does the policy cover rescue transport to the hospital and back home?

Accommodation – what costs are included?

Activities – Always check that the activities you may be planning in are covered. or disclose beforehand anything specific you may have planned.

Age – check if there are any age limitations.

Airline failure – Is it covered? This is well worth checking as far too few policies actually provide cover for an airline that goes bankrupt for example.

Alcohol – if you were drunk when an accident took place this may well invalidate any claim you make.

Annual Insurance – what is the maximum trip duration/ How many day trips can you make?

Assistance services – what is included?

Baggage – check the limit, both for individual items and in total. You may well be travelling to a wedding or family events with expensive clothes. £1,500 cover for a lost suitcase, or £250 per item may well not be enough. Household contents policies often provide cover for expensive items, so do check yours before buying your policy.

Samsonite suitcases

Bail. Does the policy include a bail bond? Whilst a kiss and a cuddle on a beach may be considered reasonable at home, it could land you in prison in Dubai for example.

Bankruptcy. Insure against your airline or operator going bust. This is a common exclusion for most travel insurance policies (AXA, M and S Money, the Post Office, Protect my Holiday and MRL Insurance may pay out and provide replacement flights if you get stranded – January 2009). One company provides dedicated insurance remarkably cheaply, which we regard as a necessary addition to your normal travel insurance policy.

Big mistakes – It's wrong to make assumptions about travel insurance, such as assuming you have cover for all emergency situations. The cost of a policy is reduced considerably when exclusions, restrictions and excesses are taken into account. In general, the cheaper the policy the more the exclusions, limits and conditions.

Cancellation / Curtailment – Limits (Does it cover the full cost of your trip?) and possibilities. For example does it only cover cancellations by the airline? There are many other reasons why you may wish to cancel your holiday. Will it cover the cost of the holiday cancelled or a portion of it? The death or illness of a close family member is often covered, but Grandparents are not always included. If you have not informed them of any illnesses suffered by anyone considered a close family member your claim may be invalidated.

Car hire – Is it included and can you take the car back to the United Kingdom?

Car or driver – does the insurance cover the car or the driver? If you are sharing the driving you may find the car option cheaper.

Cash – avoid carrying large amounts as most policies have very low payout levels. Consider a travel currency card, as they cost nothing to use, and if lost or stolen can be stopped easily. They are also easy to top up.

Children – at what age do your children need separate cover? (the cut off point is often 16). How many are covered? (often it's only two). If they do not live with you are they covered? (many policies do not cover your own children if they do not live with you).

Claims Charter – does the company have one?

Close family – your definition is most certainly not the same as that defined by an insurance company. Check before you buy.

Competitions – if you enter one and have an accident are you covered? (many policies DO NO cover competitions).

Competitive – many travel agents bump up their prices horrendously – make a point of asking if their charges are comparable with other specialist insurance companies.

Cover – cheaper policies usually, but not always offer a lower level of cover, with more exclusions, higher excesses and more restrictions (such as not covering daytrips or limiting ski holiday cover).

Credit and debit cards – Travel insurance does not offer an immediate payout although you may be able to claim a small amount when you return. Many credit cards come with, or for a small fee offer, special insurance to cover loss, theft or identity theft.

Daytrips – are they covered? This is a common exclusion.

Delays and flight / ferry cancellations. Most companies pay out if the delay is longer than 12 hours (to cover the cost of accommodation), but do check the terms and conditions, especially if any delay will affect your holiday adversely.

Delays and alternative travel arrangements. Few insurance policies actually allow you to book with another company which catches many travellers out. Furthermore the compensation offered is actually quite basic generally. If getting back even with another operator is important check the T and C's first (Endsleigh seem to be the most generous).

Disclosure – always disclose everything about your health and those who are covered by the policy. This includes close family, as if you have not disclosed something suffered by anyone considered a close family member, your claim may be invalidated. This applies to claims that are unrelated to your health. Remember companies keep their costs down by limiting payouts.

Documents – Lost passports are generally covered under "baggage". If you will be carrying other important documents it is essential to buy extra cover for them as they are unlikely to be covered under a standard policy.

Don't take anything for granted. A large number of claims are turned down because of exclusions, conditions, excesses or minimum levels of protection.

Door to door. Is the cover from door to door, or airport / port to airport / port only?

Duplication – avoid paying for the same cover twice. Check your home contents policies. Check insurance that comes automatically with credit cards. If you are not going to the USA or skiing, ask if this cover can be excluded or find a policy that is more specific to your needs.

Equipment – does it replace any stolen items with new ones or offer a financial award based on its age? Is a receipt needed before a claim is paid? (in general yes)

Europe or Worldwide? If you are only travelling to Europe there is no need for worldwide cover. Make sure you are not paying for something you do not need.

Excesses – check levels as well as specific excesses applying. Are they per claim or for each part of a claim?

Exclusions – check what they are. Think about what you may do on holiday and check if these activities are covered.

Extreme Sports – what is their definition of an "extreme sport"? How many times is cover provided per trip / per annum?

Flights – If you have to claim for a cancelled flight, do you have to have checked in to be able to make a claim?

Getting home – does the policy cover this, and are all your party covered?

Grandparents – Considered close family members by most people, their deaths or illnesses are not always covered by insurance companies under their cancellation clauses though.

Ill driver – if the only driver is ill, does the insurance cover a chauffeur?

Incidentals. For example, you find yourself strnded without a phone or computer charger, can you claim for one you had to purchase?

Inconvenience cover – if you are hospitalised do you get any inconvenience money? (useful for taxi fares etc.)

Individual items – How many are covered? How many do you have that will need covering? Must expensive items be declared in advance of travel and noted on the claim?

Industrial action – Flights or ferry cancellations as a result of Industrial action or terrorist activity are generally not covered.

Lap tops and other electronic goods. Home owners who have "all risks" contents policies may find they are covered for expensive items lost outside the home. Check with your home insurance company before buying this option on travel insurance.

Legal expenses – Are you covered? £25,000 recommended, but many only offer £10,000. Does it include a bail bond? Does it included cover if you want to take your holiday company to Court for misrepresentation?

Liability Cover (against the risk that you injure someone who sues you) – what is the level of cover? How much does extra cover cost?

Limits – what are the limits for car hire, overnight accommodation, overall costs, cost of transportation, legal expenses etc.

Limits 2 – how many days can you spend skiing/ in one country / at a time etc.?

Local – Does the policy cover travel within the United Kingdom? Annual policies tend to offer this more than one off policies.

Loyalty card, bonus points, vouchers. If you book a holiday redeeming points or vouchers earned through a shop scheme, check if your travel insurance covers you. In general they do not. World First promises to cover holidays paid for and booked using loyalty-scheme points, including Airmiles, Tesco Clubcard, Nectar points and vouchers, if they have to be cancelled due to illness or redundancy. You will be paid the cash equivalent of the holiday.

Luggage lost or delayed – if your luggage is delayed does the policy cover the cost of replacements? For how much? How long must you wait before claiming for delayed luggage, and how much will you get? This is an important consideration if you are attending a wedding or important business event.

Medical Expenses Cover – £5 million is recommended, but many only offer £1 million. Don't pay for ridiculously high levels of cover though.

Minimum level of cover. Are they sufficient? Are you comfortable with them.

Missed departure – how much cover? Can you re-book? If you do re-book, can it be with another airline or travel operator?

Money and Documents – does the insurance cover these as well?

No Claims bonus – does the policy include protection of your no claims bonus?

Older drivers – are there any restrictions or indeed rebates for older drivers?

Over cover – paying for more than you will reasonably need is unnecessary. If you only untend to travel to Europe for example, make sure you are not paying for cover in America for example.

Partners – Does the policy include partners? (if named). What is the position with regard to same sex partners?

Period – for how long are you covered whilst on the European mainland, how many trips?

Personal accident and liability – How much?

Physiotherapy – is there cover for this when you get home? How much?

Pre-existing medical conditions. Do not assume your declaration of any means you have cover. Check to see if you can get cover by paying extra. Cheaper online policies tend not to offer travellers this option.

Reasonable care – insurance companies assume you will take "reasonable care' of your possessions. Leave a bag or equipment unattended, even in a locked car, and your claim may be denied. Look after your goods as if they are uninsured.

Regular service – are there any discounts for regularly serviced cars? (car and breakdown insurance)

Renewals – its a common ploy for companies to offer a cheap first year premium and then steadily bump up the cost on renewal. Make a date in your diary to shop around close to your renewal time and compare prices. Avoid signing direct debits, as your circumstances may well change (getting insurance with a new credit card or bank account for example). Watch out for changed terms and conditions at renewal time.

Repatriation – are all passengers included? Is medical repatriation included?

Responsibility – reckless or irresponsible behaviour may invalidate your claim in the eyes of an insurance company. Remember, police reports can allude to your contribution to an event.

Roadside repairs – are they included?

Scheduled airline failure cover and 3rd party insolvency cover – Insurance from an airline or travel company often only covers their airline, not others, which you may have had to use in case of rescheduling for example. Check if this is the case. Insurance for independent travellers

Protect my holiday – Protect my Holiday. This company offers insolvency cover.

Separate bookings or a package? More and more people travel independently, making their own arrangements. Travel insurance has not moved with the times however. Your cancelled flight may be re booked for free by the airline, but your hotel bookings will probably not be covered. Flights or ferry cancellations as a result of Industrial action or terrorist activity are generally not covered., is the leading financial protection website for travellers and meets the gap in cover offered by the vast majority of travel insurance policies. Independent rating agency Defacto found recently found that 77% of travel insurance products do not provide financial protection leaving millions of travellers exposed to airline, and other end supplier, insolvency during this continued period of economic uncertainty. Although the CAA arrange the effective ATOL protection, it only applies to bookings where a flight plus another part of the trip are booked with the same operator (where applicable ATOL protection is clearly stated on the booking confirmation). This leaves huge groups of travellers unprotected against bankruptcy and insolvency such as: Independent travellers, travellers using other modes of transport other than aeroplanes, people staying with relatives and business trips.

Single or multi trip policy? The general rule is that if you travel more than once, get an annual policy.

Spare parts – is the cost covered by the insurance? Does the insurance cover include getting them to you?

Sporting activities. What's normal to you may be defined as "hazardous" by an insurance company. Be specific, ask if what you may do is covered.

Skiing – For winter sports holidays, check that the policy covers off-piste skiing, snowboarding, ski pack and ski equipment.

Terrorism – Flights or ferry cancellations as a result of terrorist activity are generally not covered.

The car – is the cost of getting it home covered in full? Are there any restrictions?

Travelling alone – if it is a family policy can the named individuals travel alone?

United Kingdom. If you are holidaying in the United Kingdom your possessions may well be covered by your home insurance policy. Get an add on with Flexicover.

Unsafe countries. If the country you are visiting is deemed unsafe on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Travel Advice By Country web page, you are not covered by insurers as standard. Check before you go.

Valuable Items – these are often excluded from cover as the insurer assumes you would not take a valuable item of jewellery or camera to a beach. Check.

Volcanic Ash – Few policies now cover volcanic ash, but if this concerns you, check the small print or phone and ask. It may be possible to pay a bit more for specific types of cover.

What? What are you doing there? If you fail to declare any specific activities you may be engaging in (especially something considered hazardous by an insurance company) before you travel, your claim will be denied. Think and disclose.

Making a claim

Report the loss immediately

Airport Lost Luggage – report the loss before you leave the baggage hall. Ask for and fill in a Property Irregularity Report (PIR).

Keep your baggage check.

Get a letter from the airline confirming your loss.

Check your household contents policy – you may have a better chance of claiming on this.

Before you claim check the position regarding loss of no claims bonuses.

If you baggage is stolen (as opposed to lost in transit) report the loss to the local Police Station.

Argue your claim – insurance companies are "notorious for trying it on".

Companies offering travel insurance

Recommended by Holiday Which? Atlas Direct – 0800 013 1213, Bradford and Bingley Building Society – 01707 275 371, Churchill – Churchill, Options – 0870 848 0870, World Cover Direct – 01892 833 338.

– AA Travel. Tel: 0161 495 8945.

Benefits of AA Travel insurance; Kids go free! Children aged 0-17 are insured free of charge on single trip travel insurance policies bought online when travelling with an insured parent or guardian living at the same address / Emergency medical assistance available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year / Medical expenses up to £10,000,000 / Cancellation cover up to £5,000 / Discount Travel Insurance for couples and families / Special rates for single-parent families / Insurance cover for business travel included / Financial failure holiday protection included.

the AA travel insurance

– American Express / Going Places ski. Tel: 0800 028 7573.


– Aviva (was Norwich Union Direct). Tel: 0800 096 4715.

Annual policies.

Single trip policy.

AVIVA single travel insurance

– Club Direct. Tel: 0800 083 2466.

– Columbus Direct. Tel: 020 7375 0011.

– Direct2 Travel insurance.

– Endsleigh Insurance ski mountains. Tel: 0800 028 3571.

endsleigh travel insurance

Essential Travel airport parking – Essential Travel. Tel: 0845 803 5434. Quote discount code no '100238'.

– Flexicover. Tel: 0870 460 8932.

– Getcover.

getcover insurance

– Go Sure.

– Gotravel Insurance. Tel: 0808 178 5806.

What you get with a Go Travel Insurance policy; Kids Go Free! – children aged 0-17 are insured free of charge on single trip travel insurance policies bought online when travelling with an insured parent or guardian living at the same address, Medical Expenses Up to £10,000,000, Cancellation & Curtailment Up to £3,000, Personal Accident Max Benefit £25,000, Personal Effects & Baggage Up to £1,500, 24 Hour Emergency Medical Support, Variety of travel insurance.

– Holiday Extras. Tel: 0871 360 2750.

holiday extras

– IC Travel Insurance.

insurance choice

– Insure with Ease.

Benfits include; Cover for the whole family from just £15.99 for a week in Europe. (2 Adults and Children), Children under 18 are insured free of charge on single trip policie, Great discounts for couples and families on annual travel insurance, Free £40 Wine Voucher with every policy, Scheduled Airline Failure (insolvency) Cover included as standard.

July 2011 – News from Insurewithease

1. Natural Catastrophe Cover available – provides cover for volcanic ash! Our new upgrade for Natural Catastrophe cover is designed to enhance your policy to provide cover for cancellation, delay and additional expenses due to unexpected natural events, including volcanic ash and other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes. Natural Catastrophe cover can be added to any of our single trip or annual travel insurance policies.

2. Scheduled Airline Failure Cover – Now Included On All Policies. All travel insurance policies include Scheduled Airline Failure, as standard. This provides financial protection in the event that your airline or other holiday supplier becomes insolvent. It is designed to provide extra protection for holiday makers who book elements of their holiday, such as flights and accommodation separately, rather than a package from a bonded tour operator or travel agent.

3. Great Deals for Families – Kids go FREE! Children under 18 are insured free of charge on our single trip policies, plus we have some great discounts for families on annual travel insurance.

4. FREE £40 Virgin Wine Voucher with Every Policy. That's right, we give away a FREE £40 Virgin Wine voucher with every policy we sell online.

5. Getting the Right Cover – Silver, Gold and Platinum Policies Available. With our three levels of cover, customers can choose a policy which suits their budget and their policy. Ensuring that they are properly covered, but aren't paying for what they don't need. Platinum, our top level of cover includes cancellation cover up to £7,500 and unlimited medical expenses.

– More Th>n.

– Protect my Holiday. This company offers insolvency cover.

– Protect your bubble.

carhire insurance

– 1Stop Travel Insurance.

1stop travel insurance

– Thomson. Tel: 0871 231 4691. Destinations.

Other companies offering ski insurance

Age Concern. Tel: 0800 169 2700.

– ASDA Travel Insurance. Tel: 0845 300 7131.

Atlas Direct – 0800 013 1213.

Barclaycard. Tel: 0845 300 2678.

– Barclays Travel Insurance. Tel: 0800 015 4751.

Boots. Tel: 0845 840 2020.

Brunsdon. Tel: 01452 623 631 (Older people).

– Budget Travel Insurance. Tel: 0800 107 4503.

Cahoot. Tel: 0844 770 7777.

– Churchill. Tel: 0800 026 4050.

Colossus Annual Worldwide – 0870 444 3434

– Direct Line. Tel: 020 8680 2121 / 0845 246 8704

EasiSure Travel Insurance. Tel: 0800 018 1555

Esure. Tel: 0845 600 3949.

Europe Assistance. Tel: 01444 442 211.

Flexi Cover Direct – 0800 783 8338.

FM Green. Tel: 01993 701 300.

Fogg Travel Service. Tel: 01623 631 331.

Going Places – Tel:

– Halifax Tel: 0800 731 0180.

Hamilton Barr. Tel: 01483 255 666.

Help the Aged. Tel: 0800 413 180.

– Hiscox. Tel: 0845 330 9505.

– Insure and Go. Tel: 0844 888 2787.

James Hampden – 01530 416 369.

Journeywise Direct. Tel: 0870 876 69 69.

Liverpool Victoria – 0800 373 905.

Lloyds TSB.

Marcus Hearn. Tel: 020 7739 3444.

Matthew Gerard. Tel: 01483 730 900.

MRL. Tel: 0845 676 0689.

– Multitrip Travel Insurance. Tel: 0844 871 6181.

Nationwide. Tel: 0500 30 20 12.

NatWest. Tel: 0800 331 133.

Orbis. Tel: 01424 220 110 (Older people).

Portwood. Tel: 0870 0345 502 (Older people).

– Post Office.

Preferential. Tel: 0870 600 7766.

Primary Direct. Tel: 0870 4444 3434.

Retirement Insurance Advisory Service – for the over 50's. Tel: 0800 552 100.

Saga. Tel: 0800 056 5464.

sainsburys wine – Sainsbury's Bank. Tel: 0845 300 3190.

– Ski Club of Great Britain. Tel: 020 8410 2000.

Ski Insurance. Tel: 0870 755 6101.

Snowcard Insurance Services. Tel: 01327 262 805.

STA Travel.

– The Idol Travel Insurance. Tel: 01931 71 11 71.


– UIA, low cost insurance for Trade Union members.

World First Insurance – World First Insurance, claims to cover just about everything.

Worldwide Travel Insurance. Tel: 01892 833 338.

Zurich Insurance – Tel:

Insurance associations and Ombudsman – if it all goes wrong

– The Association of British Insurers. Tel: 020 7216 7416. The Association of British Insurers offers help and advice with insurance issues. Their website lists emergency numbers for many companies.

– Financial Ombudsman Service. Tel: 0845 080 1800 / 020 7964 1000.

– British Insurance and Investment Brokers' Association. Tel: 020 7623 9043.

Not sure what's included?

Independent research published today by the British Insurance Brokers Association has revealed that 72% of customers who recently bought travel insurance, from a travel agent or tour operator, had not been advised whether terrorism cover was included in their policy.

The survey, conducted by Populus, also found that 97% of consumers would wholeheartedly back proposals from the Government to protect them from agents who fail to explain the full details of their travel insurance policies.

The research follows the launch of a Government inquiry into the sale of travel insurance as part of a holiday package, which is exempt from regulatory controls.

The research also showed that:

– 45% of travel agents and tour operators failed to advise of the policy excess

– 56% failed to advise on how to make a complaint

– only 47% of customers read the small print when buying insurance from a travel agent or tour operator

– 42% of consumers who bought policies from travel agents and tour operators were advised about hazardous sports compared to 67% from insurance brokers and an average of the FSA regulated insurance market of 62%

– 44% of travel agents and tour operators explained how to go about making a claim, compared with 69% from insurance brokers and an average from the FSA regulated market of 62%

– 46% of travel agents/tour operators gave advice about policy limits in comparison with an average of 68% of regulated firms.

BIBA chief executive Eric Galbraith said: "Travel insurance is vital when we jet off on our holidays, and it is the role of the provider to ensure that consumers are both fully covered and understand the limits of their policies.

"BIBA brokers, and the rest of the regulated industry has been fulfilling this commitment for years, and the Government's proposals would ensure that travel agents and tour operators fall into line.

"BIBA fully supports the Government's work in this area, and will continue to campaign to ensure that all customers are treated fairly."

– Critical though this report is, its worth pointing out that at least some agents give advice, which is a lot more than you can get when booking via a web site.

Travel insurance for older people and those who have had illness

A new survey by Age Concern highlights a growing and alarming problem for older travellers.


- Ninety-two per cent of travel insurance policies impose upper age limits

- Thirty-six per cent increase in over 65s' travel in five years

- Many older travellers face frustrating insurance search

Age Concern Insurance Services offers travel cover tailored to suit the needs of older people with no upper age limit

An estimated 15 million people have booked their holidays in the last two months, but for many older people the uphill struggle to secure travel insurance has just begun.

Ninety-two per cent of travel insurance policies impose upper age limits, refusing to provide cover for older people. With over 65s now making 5.5 million trips abroad each year – a 36 per cent increase on five years ago – upper age limits present a stumbling block for a growing number of older travellers.

Antony Osborne from Age Concern Insurance Services said: "Many people over the age of 65 are well aware of the frustrations involved in securing travel insurance, particularly when the vast majority of providers operate upper age limits. It's no surprise that many people are delighted to learn that we offer travel insurance tailored for the needs of older travellers, and for those looking for sufficient cover for their medical conditions."

With these obstacles making it more difficult for older people to get travel insurance, Age Concern is urging frustrated travellers who may be planning to go on holiday perhaps without any insurance at all, to make sure that they are properly covered.

Government research shows that up to one in seven travellers – of all ages – fail to take out adequate travel insurance. This is particularly concerning considering the recent trend towards visiting more exotic destinations – where it is even more important to ensure travellers have adequate insurance in place.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that over 65s' travel to Turkey has almost doubled in five years with 83,000 trips made in 2005 – up from 48,000 in 2001. Egypt saw 8,000 visits from the over 65s in 2001, but this figure is now five times as high with 42,000 visits in 2005.

Age Concern Travel Insurance policies have been tailored for older people, therefore no upper age limit applies. ACIS will endeavour to offer travel cover for most pre-existing medical conditions. The policy operates in conjunction with a medical screening line, charged at a local rate, which enables older people to get the right cover before they take out a policy.

Age Concern Travel Insurance policies cover for short European breaks starts from just £6.96, with annual multi-trip policies available from £50 per adult.

Profits generated by Age Concern Insurance Services go directly to Age Concern, raising additional funds for invaluable support services such as day centres, home visits and transportation as well as helping the charity campaign for the well-being and rights of older people.

All Age Concern travel insurance is arranged by individuals who are trained to meet the requirements of the FSA's regulatory framework. Customers buying Age Concern travel insurance also enjoy the protection of the Financial Ombudsman Scheme.

Recommended by BIBA

Brunsdon. Tel: 01452 623 631 (Older people).

Orbis. Tel: 01424 220 110.

Portwood. Tel: 0870 0345 502.

Other companies offering older person insurance

50Plus Insurance.

– Club Direct. Tel: 0800 083 2466.

– Diabetic Travel insurance.

– Insure Cancer (Medi Travelcover Ltd.).

– JS Insurance (66 to 79 years insurance). insurance

– Staysure. Tel: 0844 277 0844. "Low cost comprehensive travel insurance for over 50's covering over 250 pre-existing illnesses for no extra cost up to age 80. We also have policies covering up to 85 years! With the best value for money, simple online quote and instant purchase facility – can you afford not to?"

Home insurance companies for extended stays away

Check that your home insurance covers you for extended time away. Most policies state your home must not be unoccupied for more than 30 days. Some elements of cover such as water or malicious damage may not be covered. Many policies state your home should be checked every seven days whilst you are away. If you need to extend the cover, consider a sperate policy as these are often cheaper than simply extending your own existing one.

These companies offer seperate unoccupied home insurance policies;

– British Insurance.

– Endsleigh Insurance. Tel: 0800 028 3571.

endsleigh travel insurance

– Towergate Insurance.

Insurance for the independent traveller

It is advisable to insure against your airline or operator going bust. Scheduled airline failure cover and 3rd party insolvency cover is a common exclusion in many travel insurance policies.

Insurance from an airline or travel company often only covers their airline, not others, which you may have had to use in case of rescheduling for example. Check if this is the case.

Axa, M and S Money, the Post Office and MRL Insurance all pay out and provide replacement flights if you get stranded (January 2009).

One company provides dedicated insurance remarkably cheaply (from £5 per person per holiday), which we regard as a necessary addition to your normal travel insurance policy.

Useful Outside links

Protect my holiday – Protect my Holiday. This company offers insolvency cover.

The Travel Insurance Guide, a comprehensive guide with useful advice.

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