Insurance: Don’t Leave Home Without It!


Are your belongings covered?

Next, confirm how your luggage is covered, particularly for theft or damage. Are there individual item limits? What are they? Are electronic devices included? Is theft from inside a car excluded? What if your iPod falls in the Trevi Fountain? If anything is unclear, phone your provider – insurers are legally obliged to unravel the fine print in simple terms.

Important inclusions for your policy

The other essential heavyweight inclusions to investigate are:

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  • Cancellation. You can often nominate the amount of coverage in the event that something prevents you from travelling – this should equal the full cost of your trip and any extras, but the higher the amount, the more expensive the policy becomes.
  • Travel delay. Count on at least US$250 per day, and look for exclusions relating to strikes, natural disasters, war and terrorism. But don’t expect to be showered with cash for a couple of hours spent sweating on a grounded aircraft: you are unlikely to be covered for delays less than 24 hours if it’s the airline’s fault.
  • Airline and end supplier insolvency. If the people who took your money go bust, ensured you’re covered by US$10,000 and then some. This is a relatively new addition to some policies, so you might have to shop around for this one.
  • Personal liability. In case someone trips on your carelessly placed luggage, injures themselves and sues you for damages, you’ll need to be covered. Look for policies that offer somewhere up to US$2 million in cover. Remember you are up for compensation of medical bills and ongoing treatment, not to mention any medical bills.
  • Car rental. Travel insurance usually won’t cover the full cost if you’re in an accident in a rental car, even if it’s not your fault. It can help with the excess (the amount you’re liable to pay), but you will need to take out the compulsory insurances provided by the car rental company too. Look out for the excess and if you can reduce it (US$5,000), damage (US$50,000-plus) and liability (US$1 million) in the rental insurance and compare this with the limits and what’s covered under your travel insurance policy so you won’t be out of pocket. Something to keep in mind – the travel insurance cover for personal liability usually excludes motor vehicle usage, so make sure you’ve got the right cover with your car rental company for third party liability.

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