Before setting off on holiday you would be well advised to take out the relevant travel insurance. When booking through a travel agent they would normally include this service or at least advise you of your options. If, however, you are booking your holiday independently (as is the growing trend with the proliferation of ‘budget’ airlines) then you may have to browse the market for the best deal available to you. This presents advantages and disadvantages to the would be holidaymaker. The main advantage is undoubtedly the scope for choice that ‘shopping around’ gives the consumer. However, there in also lies the problem. The vast array of different companies all vying for your business means you will find companies offering travel insurance at very very low prices (sometimes as little as a few pounds). This presents a dilemma of its own. Do you save money and take out a budget insurance package in the hope you will never need it anyway, or pay for piece of mind by opting for one of the bigger established companies? Saving money on insurance smacks of a false economy to me. You may only pay 5 for your insurance but when the time comes when something does go wrong (and it eventually will) and you suddenly realise your policy does not offer as comprehensive cover as you had thought, then saving that 15-20 at the outset will not seem like such a clever move.
Ultimately it pays to spend that little extra before you leave, even if all you are really buying is piece of mind.
Another angle which, from my own personal experience, is easily overlooked is extending your existing insurance whilst on holiday. This may become an issue if the duration of the holiday is unexpectedly lengthened. Illness, logistical reasons or just simply wanting to stay in the sun for a few more days can all lead to a vacation being extended. The ease with which flight/ferry/train bookings can be amended make this a viable option for the modern holiday-goer. This is where I was caught out. I felt like having a few more days holiday to enjoy relaxing in the sun, so I contacted the ferry company and amended my booking so I could travel 2 days later than planned and still get a ferry home. No problem. What I neglected to consider and ultimately forget to amend was my travel insurance. On the final day of driving through France I was involved in a car accident. Stressful, unpleasant but just one of those things. Or, so I thought. Upon going through my paperwork to find the relevant insurance documents I was absolutely gutted to find that my insurance policies (I had taken out all the necessary cover) had expired by a matter of a day or two. In the case of my international motor insurance it had expired a mere 12 hours prior to the accident!
Having been so relaxed by my holiday I had neglected to make sure I had the relevant travel insurance to return home, not only for the outward journey. This turned an unpleasant incident into a holiday ruining disaster. The moral of this story: taking out the correct travel insurance before embarking on your holiday is an intrinsic requirement for going on vacation but making sure you are covered for the return journey is just as important!
I will certainly never make the same mistake again and I hope, if you read this, neither will you.