Travel Insurance - IndigoGuide Travel Advice

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When buying any kind of insurance, it is always well worth shopping around, because deals vary widely from company to company depending on the kind of cover you want and, indeed, who you are. This is especially true of travel insurance UK wide. It can be tempting to go with whatever policy your travel agent offers when you buy a holiday, but it usually makes more financial sense to shop around for a cheaper deal.

The price and quality of cover offered by direct insurers and brokers can be a lot better than add-on deals from travel agents, although benefits and conditions can also vary widely from insurer to insurer.

Travel Insurance and FSA regulations

FSA regulations were introduced in January 2005 which cover insurance brokers and aim to eliminate small print by obliging providers to explain their choice of policy and its benefits and exclusions in writing. It also entitles customers to the help of the Financial Ombudsman and Financial Services Compensation Scheme if the insurer goes out of business or there is a dispute. But the new rules don't cover secondary providers such as travel agents. This shouldn't make a difference to the quality of your cover with a reputable agent, but it does make it worth reading the policy carefully.

Basic Benefits of Travel Insurance

Whatever kind of travel insurance you decide to take out, there are a few basic benefits you should expect. These include medical cover worth up to £5 million (quite a few now offer up to £10 million); personal liability up to £1-£2 million; at least £3,000 worth of cover should you have to cancel your holiday or cut it short; cover for your possessions of up to £1,500, and £500 for lost or stolen cash. There should also be an emergency helpline. Please note that family rates and benefits will vary from individual rates.

For more information on what you should expect from your travel insurance, the Association of British Insurers and the Consumer Association are good ports of call. The industry is regulated by the Financial Ombudsman, which will deal with any irresolvable disputes.

Finally it's worth noting that it's illegal for travel agents - just as it is for mortgage providers - to insist that you take out insurance with them when you buy their main product. It has been that way since 1998. And yet it seems some customers still don't know that. It's an illustration, if ever there was one, of the importance of asking the right questions if you want the right answers.

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