Travel gives you the opportunity to experience new cultures, photograph exotic sights or simply relax with family or friends in a setting far from the stresses of ordinary life. Travel insurance protects these valuable experiences by offering the financial support you need to cover unexpected cancellations or delays, emergency medical needs, loss or theft of belongings or the loss of a passport. Whether you're on holiday or on a business trip, you'll find a comprehensive policy that suits your needs by consulting a knowledgeable insurance provider.

If you book a trip through a travel agency, your agent may offer you travel insurance as part of a package deal. Agents can be quite persistent about offering their own policies; however, you are not obligated to purchase holiday cover through your agent. Take the time to compare benefits, specialist features and costs of different insurance policies to find the option that best suits your needs. Comparing quotes from multiple travel insurance providers is one of the most effective ways to get the cost down.

Selecting a Policy

Once you begin to explore your options, you'll soon realise that policies are nearly as varied and diverse as travel itself. You may choose a single trip policy for a one off holiday, a multi trip scheme that covers you for one year or more, a policy for individual travellers, for families, students or holidaymakers over 65. When you contact an experienced insurance provider, you can narrow down your choices quite quickly to find the cover that's most appropriate for your trip and your lifestyle.

Business travel insurance covers professionals who are travelling for work purposes. An employer may purchase insurance for business travel on an employee's behalf, and insurance is required if an employee is travelling abroad. A business policy can cover delays, reservation cancellations, business equipment, product samples, luggage and company cash or credit cards. Business policies also cover emergency medical costs or the cost of travelling back to the UK if an employee is too ill to continue the trip and requires further treatment.

Personal travel insurance insures individuals, couples and families who are travelling on holiday or for family reasons. One policy may insure all of the members of your party, and if you and your spouse or family travel often, you may decide to invest in an annual multi trip plan. Multi trip policies insure your travels over a certain period, typically between 12 and 18 months. However, if you go on holiday infrequently and don't foresee any trips in the months ahead, a single trip plan is a better deal.

Travelling is a favourite pastime among pensioners; however, some travel insurance policies do not insure adults over 65. Luckily, specialist coverage for adults over 65 is available through select insurers. At the opposite end of the spectrum, policies are available for students who are travelling on a tight budget. Specialist coverage is also available for ski trips, adventure holidays, volunteer travels and many other types of travel that may not be completely covered under a conventional contract.

Coverage and Exclusions

Most travel insurance policies cover the costs of emergency medical treatment, cancellations or postponements and the cost of transport back home in the event of an illness or injury. Loss of personal belongings or identification, loss of cash, emergency repatriation costs, damages caused by hijacking or other criminal activities and loss or damage to equipment are covered. Most policies offer personal liability protection, which insures you against legal costs and damages if you are sued by a third party.

Coverage can be tailored to suit your needs or extended to include high value items. If you intend to carry expensive cameras or sports equipment, you may purchase additional protection for these valuable items. You may also have the option to insure your personal belongings, such as clothing, watches or jewellery, under your home and contents insurance.

Most providers impose exclusions, which are set out in your policy booklet. You may not be covered for pre-existing medical conditions, illegal activities or holidays in certain countries that are considered to present a high risk to travellers. Losses due to war, terrorism, radiation and other political incidents generally are not covered. If you intend to participate in high risk sports, such as rock climbing, skiing or sky diving, check with your travel insurance provider about specialist options for these potentially dangerous activities.

Whilst insuring a personal trip is not compulsory, travel insurance can give you the financial protection you need to relax and thoroughly enjoy your journey. Rather than taking risks with your health, your valuable belongings, your money and identification and your costly reservations, invest in a comprehensive policy that's customised to suit your excursion. Compare online quotes from several of the leading insurers to find the protection that you and your party require.

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