Travel Insurance

Driving abroad? Make sure you have the right level of cover

Continuing this week’s theme of travel insurance and being prepared, some new research highlights a major misunderstanding when it comes to driving abroad.

Apparently one third of British motorists assume that if they have a fully comprehensive policy here in the UK this means that they have a fully comprehensive policy when they take their car overseas. Not so. Particularly if you are insured with Churchill, esure, Direct Line or the RAC.

What many UK motorists don’t realise is that many car insurance policies automatically downgrade to the bare legal minimum cover when the car leaves UK soil. It’s Ok if you know the risks but many of us fail to read the small print of our policies and face massive bills when the worst happens.

So, what to do? Well firstly, read the small print. If you’re not provided with fully comprehensive cover, call your provider and see if you can upgrade and add international cover to your policy. If not – take a look at alternatives, if you travel abroad frequently make sure you mention this to your broker when you come to renew the policy. In the long term a few extra pounds on your premium can end up saving thousands.

Know Before You Go says Foreign Office

New research from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) shows that one third of Brits don’t bother with travel insurance when going overseas to visit friends or family.

With over 12 million of us leaving the UK to visit people this year, the results suggest that more than 4 million will turn up with a gift for their host but no insurance cover for themselves.

The survey suggests that this reluctance to take out insurance is mainly driven by cost, 77% of those interviewed said that they’d travel uninsured in order to cut their bills. False economy? It certainly could be.

The FCO points to a case in which a UK man visiting his mother in Canada suffered a heart attack and had to pay more than C$40,000 (£25,000) in medical bills as his insurance had lapsed during the prolonged trip.

Jeremy Browne, minister for consular affairs, said: “With over five million Britons living abroad, people are increasingly making the most of opportunities to visit their loved ones across the world. However, it’s important to understand that staying in someone’s home does not make you exempt from encountering serious problems. Take the same steps before you go as you would for any other holiday, such as taking out travel insurance and doing some pre-trip research, to ensure you are prepared if something does go wrong.