Planning a family holiday: Travel insurance

With so many people taking to the skies for foreign holidays these days, insurance companies have upped their game and now provide a whole range of travel insurance products tailored to meet the specific needs of travellers. Among these is family or group insurance.

When considering one of these packages, take a look at what providers term as family, as their definitions can differ from company to company. The biggest differences tend to be in the number of children, or the age of children that can be insured.

Your family need not travel together all the time either. Anyone who is signed up tot the family or group policy can enjoy insurance cover wherever they travel to, whether they do so with the family in tow or not.

Further benefits include free child cover. You will find that most policy providers will offer completely free cover to children under the age of two, while others will provide free cover to all children.

Single parent families are now catered for also. Most insurers offer some sort of single parent family reduced rate so that single parent families do not miss out on the reduced insurance costs offered to other families.

It is worth noting that any child who wishes to travel must do so in the company of a named adult. This is particularly pertinent for older teenagers who may wish to travel alone or with friends. Should they choose to travel alone then they will be required to purchase their own separate cover.

If you are hoping to add an elderly parent or grandparent to your family or group policy, you may find that your premium will be much higher as a result. In fact, you may find some insurers who are unwilling to add anyone in their sixties or older to a family policy due to the increased health risk.

Families looking for insurance for a single holiday can take out single trip insurance, while those who plan to travel broad several times in a year could save more money by choosing to take out an annual family insurance policy.

by Micke Jack

Some useful tips for Travel Insurance Buyer

The most common types of features available for travel insurances are:

1. Trip cancellation

2. Accident/Sickness Medical expenses

3. Baggage/Personal Loss or Delay

4. Medical Evacuation / Emergency Transportation

5. Trip Delay

Here are some tips which will help you to make your decision about purchasing the travel insurance.

1. Don't think that taking travel insurance is not worth: Never consider the process of buying the travel insurance as an extra headache before your travel. You may well have the holidays without any problems, but there is always a possibility of some unexpected issues that may leave you with unnecessary stress and an empty wallet.

2. Consider if there are more than one trip you may plan in the same year: Before buying a single trip insurance, consider whether you'll be travelling frequently and therefore better off with annual cover. The annual insurance policies can be very reasonably priced and are often better value for money if you intend to travel twice or more during the year.

3. Consider which kind of travel you are planning: Most insurance companies offer different plans for different type of travelers. If you are going for a holiday with family, the insurance will be cheaper than for a travel for winter sports holidays which require more accident cover.

4. Compare quotes from different companies: Go online and try to get as many as possible online quotes from different companies, compare them to get the best rate.

5. Don't go for it in the last minute: Never try to purchase the travel insurance in a hurry. Take time to research and analyze, then only you will get a great deal.

Always do your research carefully, and read over the policy so that you can be sure you're covered for all your needs. Always purchase the travel insurance policy from a reputed insurance company with good track records.

by Radhika

Will My Private Health Insurance Cover Me Against Swine Flu?

Swine influenza is a respiratory disease in pigs. The original virus spread to humans and has since been passed from person to person, with a number of reported cases now in the UK. There is no evidence that the disease has been found in pigs in the UK. The fact that the disease has now spread to humans in a number of different countries means that it is now in danger of becoming a pandemic flu outbreak. The word 'pandemic' refers to the fact that the virus is widespread, rather than the level of threat to humans.

Cold and flu viruses are spread by coughing and sneezing, and therefore the Government has released guidelines on preventing the spread of the wine flu virus by disposing of tissues hygienically and covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing. The UK's plan for dealing with the virus has been identified as one of the best by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and there is a large stockpile of antiviral drugs including 'Tamiflu' and Relenza' which help to reduce the symptoms of swine flu.

Is this covered by my private health insurance policy?

According to the largest health providers, a case of swine flu would officially be covered under a private medical insurance policy, because it is a new, rather than a pre-existing medical condition. However, and this is a big however, many private hospitals would be reluctant to admit you with early symptoms of swine flu because of the duty of care they have to other resident patients. Because Accident and Emergency facilities fall under the remit of the NHS, private hospitals are primarily set up for planned treatment, with little or no resources to deal with accidents or emergencies.

Therefore, you should make an appointment with your GP in the first instance, or to Accident and Emergency if your case is severe. If you then feel that you would prefer to be looked after privately, you should contact your insurer and request that a consultant takes on your case. If this consultant, having examined you, feels that you need to be admitted to hospital, this can be arranged through the insurer. It is definitely worth double-checking with your insurer however, as if you contracted the illness from travelling to a country to which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had advised 'only essential travel' this may invalidate your claim.

Access to Swine Flu medication

According to the NHS, "Arrangements are being put in place with local healthcare services for antivirals to be made available to those who need them". You cannot easily get Tamiflu and Relenza on a private prescription, but an NHS prescription will come from the stockpile that the government has made available on a regional basis. Therefore it is much better (and cheaper) to use NHS resources. Under no circumstances should you attempt to source the drugs online, because you will have no guarantee of the authenticity of the medication or that it has been stored in the correct conditions.

How do I recognise the symptoms of swine flu?

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of ordinary seasonal flu. However, due to the fact that this is a new virus and therefore that the general population has little or no immunity, the symptoms may be more serious and cause more complications if treatment is not sought quickly. Symptoms include a cough, sudden fever, aching mucles, a sore throat, diarrhoea and sneezing. Most flu sufferers can be cared for effectively at home. However, if your symptoms worsen, contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or make an appointment with your local GP. Please note that unless a pandemic has been announced, it may also be that you have seasonal flu.

Katie Jenkins

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Travel Insurance and Swine Flu - Important Frequently Asked Questions

Whether its Swine Flu (H1N1) or any other outbreak of infectious disease, you may or may not be covered by your travel insurance policy. It all depends on the circumstances and the fine print on your travel document. Here are some of the frequently asked questions that travelers are asking about swine flue.

Am I covered if I catch swine flu on holiday?

Yes - if you have a normal medical travel insurance policy and you get ill any doctors visits, hospital stays, medication, and costs associated with changes to travel plans will be covered. Swine flu is just another disease and your policy will cover you. Fortunately for most healthy adults a hospital stay is unlikely.

Am I covered if I get swine flu before I go on vacation?

Yes you should be - most comprehensive travel insurance policies will cover your for costs incurred when you have to delay or cancel your trip because of either your illness or that of a traveling companion. You may also be covered if a close family member gets ill - check the fine print.

I want to cancel my vacation to Mexico - and I covered?

Maybe is the answer to this one. If your government has advised against travel to a specific destination because of a pandemic, or other reason - then your travel insurance should cover you for loss of deposits etc. However, if you have decided you want to cancel just because you are nervous - and there is no government advisory against travel to your main holiday destination - then its unlikely that you are covered. In this case you will only be covered if you have a "cancel for any reason" clause in your policy.

Conversely - if you decide to continue a trip to a country that has an advisory against it then your travel insurance is probably at least partially void. For example if you travel to Mexico when there is an official advisory against travel to that country and you do contract H1N1 while there - its unlikely that your insurer will cover your medical costs - check before you leave. You may wish to either cancel your travel insurance (no use in paying for it if they are not covering you) or change insurance companies.

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The Impact of Swine flu on the Travel Industry

UK travel company DialAFlight reports that after a two week slump in sales of airline tickets to Mexico and Cancun levels are gradually picking up and getting closer to the normal seasonal average.

This can be attributed to two factors. Firstly, the World Health Organisation is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza H1N1 virus. Their focus is on minimising Swine flu's spread, with rapid identification and proper treatment, rather than trying to prevent its spread by imposing travel restrictions, which would only disrupt travel and commerce.

Secondly, as a consequence of the tourist trade coming to a virtual standstill, the prices of flights and accommodation in Mexico, and especially Cancun, have come right down. Restaurants and bars are trying to woo tourists back by offering two-for-one deals on food and drink and hotels have slashed their prices after seeing occupancy rates drop 40% by the seasonal average.

In recent days the Mayor of Mexico City has spoken to say that the outbreak seems to be stabilising and life is beginning to return to normal after a citywide shutdown that lasted 5 days. The Mayor said how important it was for Mexico not to be ostracised by the rest of the world and now that levels seem to be stabilising business and tourism should be able to return to normal in the country.

Travel to other destinations most affected by the virus, namely the United States and Canada, remains relatively unaffected, with flights continuing as usual to these destinations. What was initially thought of as a global pandemic that could rival the current economic crisis, in terms of its impact on travel and business, seems to be stabilising and recovering. Everyone needs to continue to be vigilant, but this needs to happen on a global scale and the rest of the world shouldn't exclude Mexico on the basis that it was the source of the virus.

by Karen Hart

The importance of travel insurance

Everyone loves a holiday, but not everyone loves planning them. From sorting out and exchanging your travel money, to booking your holiday insurance, there is a lot to consider when you plan a trip abroad.

However, this is no reason to skip this step altogether. Although you are not legally required to purchase travel insurance before you go on holiday, it is strongly advised, because if you do not, then you will personally be liable for any costs incurred when something does go wrong.

Without insurance you run the risk of having your holiday cut short, as you may need to use all of your available cash for treatment or a plane ticket home. Should you need all of your money for treatment, then you could well be left without a penny.

The cost of holiday insurance has dropped dramatically over the years as more of us choose to travel abroad for holidays each year. And you can save more by looking at what is available on the market rather than just opting for the standard insurance package offered conveniently to you by your holiday company.

You might be able to find a great deal using an internet comparison website, which provides quotes from countless different insurers using a single set of data at the click of a mouse. None of these are completely comprehensive, however, as some insurance providers choose not to pay commission to these sites in order to be able to offer lower premiums, so it might pay to try a few providers that are not listed on the site as well.

A basic travel insurance plan should cover you in the event of cancellations and delays, illness or injury, the loss or theft of your possessions, and personal and third party accident liability.

Those who are travelling on a holiday that may increase the risks to their health, such as an extreme sports or skiing holiday, may need to add extra cover to their chosen travel policy, or seek out a specialist insurer instead to obtain full cover.

One last tip is to take photocopies of all of your travel insurance documents and carry a copy with you at all times during your holiday. This way, if you ever need to get in touch with your insurer during an emergency, you will have all of the relevant information with you.

by Neon Glory

Insuring your Holiday against Swine Flu

Wherever you travel in the world, there are certain risks and considerations that you take into account without even realising it, such as acceptable women's dress in Muslim countries; vaccinations prior to travelling to countries with Malaria risk; even making sure you carry the correct currency and learn foreign phrases in a local dialect.

The risks involved in disregarding such matters are obvious, yet there are many more involved in international travel that you cannot prepare for, such as viral outbreaks. When, in 2009, an outbreak of Swine Flu, Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, was announced in Mexico, the U.N. World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Unites States' Centre for Disease Control (CDC) warned that the situation, if uncontrolled, could escalate to a pandemic. The outbreak currently sits at Level Five, just below the required Level Six to indicate a pandemic.

Although widespread international panic ensued and untold numbers of holidaymakers were disrupted, whether they were visiting or had visited Mexico or not, potentially millions were undeniably saved because the threat was taken seriously, with travellers screened at airports and placed in quarantine if they were suspected to be carrying the virus.

Such unforeseen circumstances challenged international air travel to its limits, forcing countries to work together to ensure a pandemic did not occur as people returned unchecked to their home countries before a diagnosis was made global, in April 2009. In total, over 5,000 cases were announced in Mexico alone, with 97 deaths. By June, the virus was said to have reached over 66 countries worldwide.

Because of such unavoidable risks, it's vital that when you travel you are fully covered by the appropriate travel insurance that ensures you can receive medical attention whenever it's required. Failing to carry valid and appropriate travel insurance could result in delayed treatment and high medical bills.

If you're planning to travel to global destinations, then you could benefit from worldwide travel insurance, which can cover long stays, short breaks, single trips, or even multiple trips throughout the year to anywhere in the world and would enable you to seek medical assistance in the country you visit.

You could also benefit from taking particular precautions in learning how to prevent the spread of infection. Good respiratory and hand hygiene is best in the case of Swine Influenza. In the same way you would prevent the spread of human flu, you can apply precautions such as always using and disposing of a clean tissue once sneezing, and washing your hands after sneezing. Should you experience any flu-like symptoms drink plenty of fluids, rest and take paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin to ease any symptoms such as head or muscle ache. As with common flu, should symptoms persist for a prolonged period, or if new symptoms manifest, such as rash or aversion to bright lights, then you should consult your doctor.

You could also benefit from adhering to official advice on travel and considering whether your trip or holiday is necessary. If you do find yourself in an international location and you could be at risk of infection of any kind, pay attention to local health warnings and advice and, if in doubt, seek the opinion of a medical professional.

by Adam Singleton

Holiday insurance on a shoestring

If you are heading off on holiday but have a tight budget to stick to, this does not mean that you should forgo travel insurance. This is a very important aspect of any travel plan, as if you should fall ill or require medical treatment abroad, the costs can be high, and you may not be able to meet these costs yourself.

Most holiday insurance products include some form of insurance for your lost, stolen or damaged luggage. You can choose to opt out of this part of some policies when you are travelling with a minimal amount of luggage. So pack light, and it could save you cash.

Health insurance for your trip is always important, but insurance against the cost of your holiday in the event of cancellations could be made irrelevant if your holiday package was particularly cheap. Look at the excess required on making a cancellations claim. It could be that the excess payment is almost as much, or even more than, the cost of your flights, in which case this part of a travel insurance policy may not be worth your while.

It may surprise you to learn that some holidaymakers make the mistake of paying for too much travel insurance each year. Make sure you are not one of them by checking all of your current insurance, medical and credit card policies for any existing overseas cover that may be included. It may turn out that you have all the cover you need already.

Several insurers will offer you cover that includes a guarantee to refund the cost of your holiday and fly you home should you get into difficulties following the bankruptcy of either your airline or travel company. The recession has shut down several such companies over the past couple of years, but if you have booked your holiday through a company that is financially sound, then you may want to do without this extra cover cost.

If you are a UK citizen travelling to Europe, then you could save a little on medical cover by obtaining a free European Health Insurance Card. Although it does not cover you for all medical costs, and will only pay for state-provided medical treatment, it does mean that you are entitled to free or subsidised healthcare in every country in the European Economic Area.

Whenever you come to sign a policy, you need to double check that you are getting value for money. For example, when it comes to cancelling your trip, insurance providers can be very rigid in the reasons they deem acceptable for cancellation. So it is a good idea to check that your proposed insurer has an acceptable number of cancellation causes first.

If you are a frequent budget traveller then instead of going through the hassle and expense of having to arrange insurance every time you go abroad, change to a yearly insurance policy. This type of policy allows you a certain number of trips or a certain number of miles worth of travel each year for which you pay only once. This is usually far cheaper than taking out separate policies each time.

by Neon Glory

Finding the Cheapest Auto Insurance Company

There is not a singe vehicle coverage provider that can be deemed as the cheapest car insurance company for all. There are two reasons behind it: First, every insurer will offer each individual a different rate. Similarly, a policy which is not suitable for one person may be highly suitable for the other person. The second reason is that any plan offers the service of risk coverage. Now for one person even the minimum liability coverage may be sufficient but for the other even the minimum liability along with collision and comprehensive coverage may not be sufficient. This is because any plan is bought on the basis of risk perception of the individual, which varies from person to person. Therefore, in order to find a cheap policy, one needs to adopt various strategies to reduce the cost of coverage.

One of the most effective strategies to get the most affordable auto insurance policy is choosing and finding the lowest rate on the basis of comparison of all offers. In this case, the first step is to calculate the coverage needs. Based on the need, one should obtain a quote from multiple insurers and compare them on various parameters such as cost of coverage, extent of risk coverage, deductibles, discounts, territorial limits, surcharges etc. Based on this comparison, one can find and choose a cheaper policy.

However, while comparing quotations many people commit the mistake of comparing only on the basis of cost of coverage without realizing the fact that risk protection is more important than the price. This is because the main purpose of buying any plan is to reduce the potential risks and there is no use buying a policy which does not cover all the risk necessary. Therefore, one should be careful of not choosing a quotation which has low cost but also covers the least. Infact, one may choose a quote which might cost little higher but covers all their needs compared to a quote which is comparatively cheaper but does not do the same.

by Licensed agent

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