Forget travel agents, you’re a self-made (wo)man! If you’re booking travel insurance, but don’t quite know what any of it means, take a tip from the pros on how to tailor your travel cover.

Step 1: Know where you’re going

Travel cover varies by region and by traveller. When filling out your online quote form, choose the destination where you will spend the majority of your trip, and don’t select worldwide unless you are truly travelling the globe. Destination greatly affects the price of your policy because the relative risk and cost of a claim at your destination figure into the cost of your policy.

Step 2: Understand your medical history

If you have an existing medical condition, travel cover is not always out of reach. Simply understand whether your pre-existing medical condition falls outside of the medical conditions your travel insurance provider automatically covers. Unless you are fit as a fiddle, it’s a good idea to take a look at the product disclosure statement to know what your travel policy covers and what it doesn’t. People are often surprised to find what is and is not automatically included.

If your existing medical condition falls outside the automatically-covered conditions, many companies are still able to cover you for an additional cost, subject to a short medical assessment.

Step 3: Evaluate excess

Excess is what you pay out of pocket before an insurance provider will chip in to cover your claim. In general, as you increase your excess, the cost of your policy decreases. Do a simple cost-benefit analysis of risks and rewards associated with travel cover and your personal history. Excess is a little tricky to figure out, so find a math-minded friend and get to computing if you want to find your optimal excess.

Step 4: Cover cancellation

Cancellation cover does exactly what it sounds like: it protects you from losing your non-refundable costs. If you put down non-refundable deposits, then cancellation cover may be for you. Look in to every ticket you buy; if the costs are refundable in the event of an emergency, then you do not need cancellation cover.

Step 5: Protect your valuables

Bringing an expensive camera or computer to a dicey location (or just packing it in a checked bag)? While you may see that luggage cover comes standard with some policies, look at the product disclosure statement for your policy to see if it covers high-value items. More often than not, you will need to increase luggage item limits to protect these.

Step 6: Don’t go jumping out of any planes…without cover

Whether you’re looking to participate in extreme sports abroad or trying to rent a moped in a strange land, you will want to look into specialised coverage. Identify the activities you are looking to do on holiday and then specifically find them in the product disclosure statement. If they do not appear, up your coverage levels.

When looking to tailor your travel cover, all it really comes down to is reading. Much like you would with any other legal document, read your travel policy in its entirety to ensure you understand what you are purchasing. If a company does not provide clear product disclosure statements (it should look like the Cover-More PDS), head for the hills. A company with unclear rules prior to purchase is sure to just as opaque when it comes time to make a claim.

Shop around and compare travel insurance for the best peace of mind. If you have any questions regarding Cover-More policies, please feel free to contact us day or night for a quick resolution.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Highways England; cropped from original