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What is worldwide travel insurance?

The world has become a much smaller place in recent times in terms of our travel habits – with ever more distant and exotic locations becoming possible holiday destinations.

From the awe-inspiring pyramids of Egypt, to the plains of the Serengeti, the beautiful landscapes of South America, the different cultures of the Far East and everywhere in-between, we have the whole world to choose from when planning our next memorable holiday.

While travelling further afield than the usual European holiday hotspots can lead to a much more memorable holiday, it is worth bearing in mind that further flung corners in the globe can present more risks – so it is always worth looking into worldwide travel insurance before you set off on the holiday of a life time.

bobBob’s tip:

“When it comes to choosing the right worldwide travel insurance policy for you, it pays to focus on the cover options as well as the price.”

Read more of Bob’s travel insurance tips

A worldwide travel insurance policy safeguards the policyholder against any unforeseen injury, illness, theft or travel disruptions during their globe-trotting endeavours and is of vital importance for those heading off on holiday overseas. It’s also an irreplaceable (and legally binding) policy to have in place if you are taking a gap year out and planning on discovering new frontiers for anything up to a year or more.

However – and worth bringing to your attention before we go any further – be aware that your worldwide travel insurance policy does actually extend beyond the predominantly mainland perimeters of the UK and Europe. As borderline patronising as this might sound, it’s imperative that would-be policyholders check the small print before signing on the dotted line and parting with their hard earned cash for an insurance policy which could easily end up being barely worth the paper it’s printed on in the event of you twisting your ankle while scaling the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu.

On a similar note, also ensure that terms and conditions determine whether or not your worldwide travel policy covers you for journeying through a country which you know for a fact is currently experiencing political or military unrest. If it doesn’t, don’t touch it.

Before any of this though, you must first decide on which type of worldwide travel insurance you’re after, which typically means choosing between the two main alternatives; single trip or multi-trip/annual policies. Although a single trip policy may well be valid for worldwide travel it is habitually governed by a predetermined time frame which the policyholder has to adhere to or risk not being covered.

This period is usually between 30 and 60 days, although some worldwide travel insurance providers do offer extended policies. Also don’t be fooled into thinking that if you’re planning a sojourn abroad which is scheduled to last 70 days then you’ll be insured up to 60 days and then take pot luck afterwards, as your policy would then be deemed invalid and any subsequent claims made on it would not be honoured by the insurer.

Therefore it makes more sense to opt for multi trip/annual travel insurance plans, which is often cheaper in the long run and doesn’t mean you have to start shopping around for single trip policies every time you get the travel itch during the space of any one 12 month period.

Do I need worldwide travel insurance?

Irrespective of whether you’re a city break-lover, exotic holiday-devotee, frequent-flyer family, adventure-seeking backpacker, 20-something island hopper or 70-plus seafarer, it’s fair to say that nobody making travel plans wants unexpected things to happen during their journeys/holiday, especially the sort that potentially cost us in our pockets or our health. Yet international travel is not, unfortunately without its risks.

This statement is backed up by no less of an authority on the subject, than the Association of British Insurers (ABI), who only last year recorded claims made against travel insurance policies by UK holidaymakers and business travellers said to be in excess of some 400,000.

 

So, on this basis alone it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and never more than if you’ve got a holiday of a lifetime or honeymoon on the horizon and wish to ensure you’re fully covered. Equally so if you’re setting out on an open-ended holiday, and are not putting a time limit on how this voyage (or flight) of discovery will take between finishing college and starting university. Having said that, dedicated backpackers travel insurance may be better for your needs, as there is now a raft of specialist ‘gap year’ insurance policies in existence.

Either way, if you harbour any ambitions of circumnavigating various parts of the globe – savouring the sunny delights of far-flung destinations or simply dipping in and out of somewhere only a few time zones away – then one form of worldwide travel insurance or another is key to your peace of mind.

There are a variety of reasons why worldwide travel insurance is a no-brainer to our minds, including making sure that every base from lost luggage and flight delays/cancellation to medical treatment and being kidnapped is suitably and generously covered. Although the last one is, admittedly a bit far-fetched. But risk IS the name of the worldwide travel game, and from the minute you throw your exploring dice you’re unavoidably gambling with your life. Or your baggage and itinerary at the very least.

In terms of what a typical worldwide travel insurance policy DOES effectively cover, then you’re historically looking at misplaced, damaged and stolen luggage, flight delays, cancellations and airline failure per se, activity/sports cover, medical treatment (including hospital expenses and any transportation costs) and general accident, liability and legal cover for the most part.

How much does worldwide travel insurance cost?

It all rather depends on which type of policy you plump for from the outset. And naturally, which worldwide travel insurance provider you elect to look after your financial interests while you’re on your jollies.

It’s not unusual to find worldwide travel cover plans costing less than £20 – although many such policies come with caveats relating to the age of the traveller and what country(ies) they plan to visit during their holiday.

As with most insurance policies, we would stress that just looking for the cheapest cover is not always the best approach. It is often much more important to find a policy that offers the best level of cover for your particular needs – as this could end up being a lot more economical should the worst happen and you have to make a claim.

What can I do to reduce the cost of worldwide travel insurance?

Thankfully there are many ways in which to bring down the cost of worldwide travel insurance premiums, yet always make sure you’re balancing quality and quantity with that competitive price, as scrimping on insurance cover could have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you.

Such perceived ‘cheaper’ polices may also come with certain exclusions, while you could end up having to fork out for higher excesses so as to facilitate the claim at a later date.

But anyway, providing you keep that at the forefront of your mind at all times then the following will serve as useful, bullet-point tips:

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