With the credit crunch biting hard, many would-be overseas travellers are faced with cutting the holiday budget and staying close to home – a ‘staycation’ as it is now known. If you live in a country with socialised medicine, such as the UK, it may not seem important to take out travel insurance. After all, the National Health Service will take care of medical needs if an accident or illness should strike. Statistics have proven that a large percentage of car accidents occur within a few miles of home on familiar roads when we are functioning on ‘auto-pilot’ and not paying attention. The same phenomenon is likely to be true when taking a holiday in familiar surroundings.
Travel Insurance is not all about missed flights, airlines losing luggage, emergency medical treatment, and repatriation back to the UK. There are a host of other mishaps that are just as likely to occur close to home as they are during a week at a resort in Spain.
Theft is a growing problem throughout the world, and tourist spots everywhere are heavily targeted. You are more likely to carry expensive gadgets and valuables with you – like an iPod, iPhone and laptop during a staycation. Theft can occur from your hotel, vehicle, or rental car, or even from your beach bag while snoozing in a deck chair. The car might break down, preventing you from reaching your pre-booked hotel in time, or a family member might become sick and unable to travel. Hotels have cancellation policies, which could leave you out of pocket for the unused nights.
Most travellers are too busy or can’t be bothered to read the small print in their travel insurance policy. Consequently, many travellers do not realise that the Annual Multi-trip travel insurance policy they purchased for the holiday in Spain may also include cover for a staycation. Check the terms of your particular policy, because the cover often extends to your country of domicile (your home country) when accommodation has been pre-booked in advance for two or more nights. It would be a very welcome bonus if disaster should strike.
If you plan to take two or more holidays in a year, perhaps one at home in the UK and one abroad, always consider opting for the Annual Multi-trip policy. While it is important to take out travel insurance for a trip to Spain to soak up some sun, or add on winter sports cover for the winter ski trip, many Annual policies also include cover for a staycation or weekend away in the UK.
Suppose you plan a trip to London for your anniversary and splash out on a two-night stay at a swish boutique hotel and a West End show. If an unexpected illness or covered event should cause you to cancel or curtail the trip, your Annual travel insurance policy may kick in to cover many of the associated losses. An illness or accident is not just confined to you or your partner or travel companion, it may also apply to close family members or relatives back home. This would be invaluable if it should become necessary to cancel and return home immediately. Extra caution is needed at times when a global pandemic, such as the Swine Flu, is spreading throughout the world.
You may decide to take advantage of an advertised last minute holiday package to Turkey, or take the family for a week at a holiday camp in the UK. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that choosing the Annual Multi-trip policy will also provide cover if you decide later in the year to book a city break or impress your loved one with a weekend away in a romantic cottage. Accommodation in the UK is not cheap, especially during peak periods, so having to cancel or leave early could mean a significant financial loss.
Next time you book a holiday and have the choice of whether to take out a Single Trip travel insurance policy to cover that one holiday, or the Annual Multi-trip policy, consider paying a little extra for the Annual policy. That way, cover will already be in place if you find that you can afford a second holiday abroad later in the year, or decide to take off for a staycation or weekend break close to home.