Buyer's Guide: Top Tips On Buying Holiday Insurance

When you are going on a holiday, getting insurance should be on the top of your to-do list. Just like you wouldn't set off without your tickets or your passport, you shouldn't do it without holiday insurance. Many still ignore this simple rule and thus every year holidays are ruined because of accidents, illness or theft. One can avoid being left with huge bills to cover stolen gadgets, hospital expenses or emergency transportation home by simply opting for a holiday insurance cover.

Sure you can take your EHIC card with you, but that is no replacement to the holiday insurance policy. The EHIC card will guarantee access to state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland, but there are conditions and restrictions as to what can be provided and the EHIC does not cover for repatriation.

What's Covered?

* Delay: Should your flight be delayed with more than 12 hours, your holiday insurance will compensate you for the delay and cover you anything you have to purchase due to the delay. Remember to keep the receipts -- you will need them when making a claim!

* Cancellation and cutting short: If a member of the family falls ill and you have to cut your holiday short or if you lose your job and you have to cancel, in such cases the cancellation and curtailment option will be well needed. The recommended limit of the cover is, of course, the total cost of the holiday. Pay attention to the small print, though. A standard policy will only cover cancellation due to illness of a close member of the family and not of your best friend!

* Baggage and belongings: In case your personal possessions and baggage are lost, stolen and damage, your holiday insurance should have them covered. Again, pay attention to the small print -- some insurance companies put a limit on the cover of individual valuable possessions, such as smartphones and cameras.

* Medical cover: Check twice whether your holiday insurance policy covers medical expenses if you are taken ill or have an accident while on holiday. This should also include repatriation if you need to be flown back to the UK. The standard recommended medical cover is £2 million.

You may find some sports such as skiing are excluded from a standard policy or require extended cover.

What If I Have Pre-Existing Conditions?

A standard holiday insurance policy is unlikely to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Read carefully the small print! If you have a pre-existing medical condition, get one that will cover expenses incurred in relation to the pre-existing medical condition, although it may not be at the cheapest possible price.

Annual Or Single Trip?

Depending on how often you travel on a holiday, you may have to choose between a single trip policy and an annual multi trip holiday insurance. If you travel a lot, or as a general rule, if you travel on a holiday two or more times a year, then an annual holiday insurance policy may prove cheaper. What is more, if you are likely to make any last minute trips, you can leave any time without having to worry about insurance.

How To Get Holiday Insurance?

If you book a holiday through a tour operator, they may offer holiday insurance for free. This is a really good way to save money but only if that free holiday insurance policy meets your requirements. If not, you can always opt for a single travel holiday insurance. On the other side, if your tour operator doesn't offer the holiday insurance free, they will try to charge you separately and this is rarely the cheapest option!

Comparison websites, such as MoneySupermarket.com, are a great way to compare holiday insurance quotes and find the best policy at the best price for you. Just visit their website, enter your personal details and travel dates and you'll be presented with a list of quotes from a whole range of insurance companies. All you need to do then is choose that one that suits you best. The cheapest single trip covers start from as low as £2.22.

If you have a preferred holiday insurance company, you can purchase holiday insurance directly from them. Most insurance company websites offer an application that you can print out and send in to them. You can also contact them by phone to apply. Other companies, such as InsureAndGo.com and StaySure.co.uk, even let you buy holiday insurance online.