How to reduce the cost of travel insurance

Yikes! They want how much? Insurance is often the sting you didn’t anticipate when budgeting for your travels. The rising costs of medical expenses abroad, as well as unfavourable exchange rates, mean that that that cost is set to skyrocket for many of us. But don’t chance it and travel without cover, take a look at my tips and tricks for making sure you don’t end up paying more for insurance than flights.

Shop Around

When searching for travel insurance, it’s important to do your research. Compare the types of policies you can get for your money and the level of cover insurers are willing to give you. This way, you have a sensible idea of the market and are in an excellent position for judging the relative values of a policy and how well your quote reflects that.


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Don’t forget, a quote isn’t always final. A number of brokers have funds in reserve they can offer to lower the cost of a policy in order to make a sale. Knowing the value of competitors means you can be firm when negotiating a price.

Consider Every Eventuality

It stands to reason that you can reduce the cost of your insurance by reducing the level of cover your purchase. If you are going down this route, you need to think realistically about what you do need and plan for even the most unlikely of situations. If the total cost of your valuables exceeds that stated in your policy, you will end up paying over the odds to compensate for the shortfall in your level of cover.


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Be Honest

You must disclose any pre-existing medical conditions when applying for travel insurance. Not to do so might invalidate your policy or leave you exposed without cover for certain circumstances. Being honest with insurers about the current state of your health might push up the cost of your policy now, but it could potentially save you thousands later.

Think Location

Some holiday destinations are more expensive than others. This is a result of the relative risks you face in them and the average cost of medical treatments their hospitals and services charge. If you can not get a quote within a price range, you consider acceptable for a certain destination; it is important to consider why. Is this location riskier than you initially thought? Local crime statistics, population and economy, will all have a bearing on the risks the insurer calculates.

Consider alternative locations where valuables are less at risk and the cost of medical treatments more accessible. In some cases, staying a few miles away from your intended destination will represent a dramatic saving for you.

Consider What You Want To Do

Higher risk holidays include those where you are more likely to get hurt. Insurers describe these as breaks that contain certain adventure activities. Horse riding, swimming with dolphins and quad biking all fall squarely on that list.

If you are going to undertake anything adventurous, you need to tell your insurer. Not disclosing your plans could result in a policy that doesn’t cover you should you become injured during the course of one of these activities. Again, it is a case of paying a premium now, knowing the potential saving later could be hundreds.

The Length of Your Stay

How long you intend to visit a location will also have a bearing on your the total cost of your policy. The longer you are away from home, the higher the risk of you claiming and the more insurers will charge you. This is especially true for higher risk policies, like travel insurance for over 65 year-olds and adventure holidays.

If you are struggling to get the cost of your quotes down, consider shortening the length of your stay. Splitting it between one location and another could also lower the risk. If you are spending an extended period in a country, say three to six months, consider alternative cover.  Purchasing a standard health insurance policy from a local provider will reduce the amount of cover you require from your travel insurance policy. This could represent a significant saving since it places you at a lower risk of claiming on the policy, thereby reducing its price.


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Think Long Term

If you are going to be traveling for a longer period of time or making multiple trips in one year, buying an annual policy could save you money. It will also reduce the leg work since you won’t need to shop around for the best deal before every trip.

You must bear in mind the limits of your policy; many will cover you for a set period of days abroad over the course of a year. Make sure you are comfortably within these limits with one or two days extra to spare. That way, should you be delayed by cancelled travel arrangements or stolen passports, you have the peace of mind of knowing you are still covered should you need to claim.

Other Sources of Cover

There are now a number of other options for getting insured that could significantly reduce the cost of your cover.

Consider whether you already receive protection as a perk of an existing service. Current accounts often come with travel insurance included. Scour the fine print and see what you are already protected against. You can then invest in a traditional policy that only covers the shortfalls of your existing cover. This reduces your chance of making a claim and could potentially lower the cost of your dedicated travel insurance policy.


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The timing of your stay is another consideration. Crime rates at peak destinations during traditional holiday seasons are higher than the off season. The majority of gap year students have fewer commitments in the form of work restrictions and school holidays. Capitalise on this fact and time your trip to coincide with less busy periods. This, again, reduces the likelihood of you needing to make a claim on your policy.

Similarly, any seasonal attractions that take place in your destination will affect the cost of insurance for those months. For example, every August thousands of people visit Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival. The cost of insurance for this location at this time increases because people are at a higher risk of losing valuables in the large crowds. Oktoberfest in Germany has a similar effect on the cost of cover.

Do your research. Large festive gatherings, local festivals and concerts all combine to increase the risk of you making a claim. If you are not planning your trip specifically to see these events, consider altering your dates of travel slightly so that you miss them. This could save you money on your insurance, and dramatically improve your holiday!

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