Surge in long-haul travel insurance as Brits get taste for adventurous hols

Surge in long-haul travel insurance as Brits get taste for adventurous hols

British holidaymakers are getting more adventurous in their travelling habits – almost one in four travel insurance policies sold by swiftcover.com are for long-haul destinations, compared with one in five just five years ago, the company has revealed.

The shift in holidaying habits is reinforced by research from swiftcover.com that found exotic destinations feature heavily on the UK’s dream holiday list.

swiftcover.com’s research found:

  * 23% of people would choose a tropical island for their dream holiday
  * 14% say their dream holiday would be a world cruise
  * 14% would chose to explore ancient ruins like Peru’s Machu Picchu for a holiday of a lifetime
  * 14% would take their dream holiday in somewhere off-the-beaten-track like India or China
  * 10% say an African safari would be their dream destination

But whilst luxury might be a favourite choice, many Brits say they would like to do something more adventurous.

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When it comes to more extreme activities, swiftcover.com found:

  * 23% of people would go white-water rafting
  * 17% would like to drive a fast car around a race track
  * 16% would make a parachute jump
  * 6% say they would go rock climbing

But it seems for many people their dream holiday is still out of reach for the time being. Whilst 39% of people plan to save and work harder to raise the cash to pay for their holiday of a lifetime, 2% say they will use a loan or credit cards to fund their trip, whilst 4% plan to marry a rich man or woman!

Roman Bryl, Travel Underwriting Manager for swiftcover.com, says: “It’s no surprise to see that luxury tops the list of dream destinations for us Brits, but it’s interesting to note that people are becoming more adventurous in their tastes. Whilst travelling to somewhere exotic like India or Machu Picchu may be a holiday of a lifetime, it is certainly within reach for many UK holidaymakers.

“If people are venturing farther afield they do need to make sure they have the right travel insurance that covers them for more exotic destinations beyond Europe and provides adequate cover for things like medical emergencies, which can be very expensive. Backpackers should consider insurance such as swiftcover.com’s Gap policy, which is specially designed for their needs.”

With recent travel hassles such as ash clouds and airline strikes, travel insurance is more important than ever, but many travelers are confused about what they are actually covered for. To help, swiftcover.com has identified the top travel insurance myths, along with the reality behind each one.

Myth 1: I don’t have to tell my insurer about any medical conditions.

Reality: If you don’t tell your insurer about a pre-existing medical condition, then you won’t be covered for any claim arising from or related to the condition. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot travel if you have a condition such as asthma or diabetes, but you must check with your insurer first.

Myth 2: I should claim on my travel insurance first if my holiday is cancelled before I leave.

Reality: You should contact your airline, holiday company or travel agent first, as it is their responsibility to refund you or make alternative arrangements. If after contacting your holiday company, you still need to make a claim, then you should contact your travel insurance provider.

Myth 3: I’m not covered for delays caused by the volcanic ash cloud or industrial action.

Reality: Travelers insured with swiftcover.com are covered for delays caused by ash clouds and industrial action, as long as they could not reasonably have been expected to know about the disruption before they bought their insurance. If you’re unsure about whether you’re covered, always check with your insurer.

Myth 4: If my possessions are insured then I don’t need to worry about keeping them safe.

Reality: Insurers require that you take reasonable care of your possessions and do not leave them unattended – if you don’t look after your possessions and they get stolen, you might not be covered. Check with your insurer to find out what precautions you need to take.

Myth 5: My credit card travel insurance will cover me for everything.

Reality: Free insurance with most credit cards offers much lower levels of protection compared with dedicated travel insurance, particularly when it comes to vital issues such as medical expenses. Some policies offered by credit card companies just consist of accident cover, meaning that if you fall ill (rather than suffer an accident) on your holiday, you won’t be entitled to any assistance – potentially leaving you tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Myth 6: I will be covered if I hurt myself during a sporting activity.

Reality: Insurance provided by companies such as swiftcover.com covers policy holders for a huge range of sports (the full list of activities covered as standard on a swiftcover.com travel insurance can be found here). However, some sports, particularly winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, require extra cover, which is available from swiftcover.com.

Myth 7: If I’m travelling in the EU, I will automatically be covered by the local health service.

Reality: You are entitled to free or reduced-cost healthcare in EU countries, but only if you have a European Health Insurance Card. An EHIC Card is available free of charge from www.ehic.org.uk and entitles you to access healthcare in EU countries. Using your EHIC card is likely to save you money compared to claiming for healthcare on your insurance policy because if you recover your costs through the card you won’t have any excess to pay.

For hints, tips and more information on travel insurance, visit www.swiftcover.com/travelinsurance/

Research carried out amongst 1,110 people in May and June 2010