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Expert advice for buying travel insurance

Andrea Clayton, head of insurance at Holiday Extras, offers expert advice for holidaymakers looking to book travel insurance for their next holiday. From family policies to exclusions, Andrea provides a comprehensive overview of the dos and don'ts of booking travel insurance.

Great value cover from Holiday Extras

From annual multi-trip cover to single trip policies, winter sports cover to protection for weddings overseas, booking travel insurance with Holiday Extras is a quick and hassle-free process. Why not follow Andrea's advice and book great value cover perfect for your needs with Holiday Extras?

Check the levels of cover

When booking travel insurance, it is essential to check three main areas of cover: cancellation cover, medical expenses, and baggage and personal belongings.

Cancellation cover
Advertised on a per person basis, this should always be equal to the total cost of your entire holiday, including all ancillary expenses such as car hire. Cancelling your holiday can prove stressful enough, so insuring yourself against losing the money you have paid is a must.

Medical expenses
Medical cover will almost always be offered as a figure somewhere in the millions. However, it is unlikely that you will need more than £1 million per person. Any more and you will be paying for cover you simply don't need.

Baggage and personal belongings
Always ensure that you know the replacement value of the items you take on holiday. Items classed as valuables will always have a limit. That's why if you are taking items over this limit you should check your home contents policy. Often it may can prove most cost-effective to add them here.

Always check exclusions

It will come as a surprise to many that some policies do not automatically offer cancellation cover or medical expenses. In fact, the only legal requirement for a travel insurance policy is that there is some form of cover for personal belongings.

It is important to carefully check the wording on travel insurance offered free with bank accounts and credit cards. If you don't have a copy of wording, you won't know how to claim or who to call in an emergency. Therefore, make sure you know the 24-hour contact number.

Sporting activities

If you plan to take part in sporting activities while on holiday, check your policy wording clearly for the activities your are pursuing, since all policies follow different criteria.

Pandemic exclusion

With swine flu particularly topical, it is also worth noting that many travel policies have a pandemic exclusion. Always make sure you have cover if you need to cancel due to any such break out.

Don't be fooled by cheap prices

Prices vary considerably, but many low cost policies will not cover travellers aged over 50 or those with pre-existing medical conditions. Look out also for special offers such as children travel free - some such policies even cover travellers up to the age of 18.

If you travel more than twice a year, favour long-haul destinations or participate in winter sports, an annual policy will represent the best value for money.

Certain family cover policies enable everyone to travel independently, providing the utmost flexibility for family holidays, weekend breaks and school trips.