Ask Joan: Travel insurance

Always checkwhat is covered in a policy before buying

Trying to figure out the cost and value of travel insurance is like trying to work out the probability of winning the Lotto if there were 22, 42 or 62 numbers in the draw.

Firstly you should never travel without insurance.

Some people feel that travelling in Europe is fine if you have the European Health Insurance Card, (ehic.ie) card. You will receive hospital treatment free in the case of an emergency.

What about all the other things that can go wrong? They include losing your bags, missing a flight, a stolen passport, someone getting sick before you travel or while abroad.

It seems like everyone is trying to sell us travel insurance, from the airlines to travel agents, banks and credit unions. They are not in the insurance business and are marking up a product already available in the market.

On a normal trip, whether it is for holidays or business, you should look at what exactly is covered in a policy before buying.

If you are going to travel more than a couple of times, then an annual policy will be better value. If you are going skiing you will need to add winter sports – some sports are excluded in travel policies.

If you are going to be away more than 31 days on a single trip or 90 days in a year, you will probably need a different policy.

If you or someone you are travelling with has an existing medical condition it must be reported at the time of purchase – you may need to talk to the medical screening service. And if you are over a certain age, travel insurance is costly.

Do not skimp on travel insurance, think about what you need before you commit to a policy and always buy insurance at the same time or before your travel begins.

You can check out policies of the main travel insurance providers on comparetravelinsuranceireland.com

See Ask Joan online at irishtimes.com/life-and-style/travel