The following are covered by most travel insurance providers:
* Cancellation or delay of your trip
* Medical emergencies (including emergency transport home)
* Loss or theft of personal possessions
* Legal costs associated with injuries or accidents
* Personal liability in the event that you injure someone
* Personal accident cover if you are injured
* 24 hour emergency assistance (so you can call at any time if you are in trouble)
What is not covered by travel insurance?
* War, both declared and undeclared (though some policies cover for terrorist attacks)
* Interruption to your trip due to business or contractual commitments
* Mental or nervous disorders
* Self-inflicted injuries
What should your travel insurance cover?
Probably the most important coverage you need is for medical expenses. Countries in the European Economic Area - which includes EC countries as well as Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland - provide reciprocal health services. You need to take a completed E111 form (available at the Post Office) with you when you travel, though this does not provide repatriation coverage. Some other countries have different forms of reciprocal health services, but you will need to check with the DoH before travelling to establish what medical services you will be entitled to under the agreement. If in doubt, take out insurance to be safe. All policies will have clauses dealing with pre-existing medical conditions and some will not cover any illness related to them. Winter sports cover is usually available at extra cost, as is cover for specialised activities such as scuba diving. Itís important to ensure your policy covers the full length of your trip - an annual policy may not cover individual trips of more than 31 days. If youíre buying a single-trip policy, or travel frequently on small or local airlines, be sure that your insurance provides adequate cover in case of delays, cancellations and lost baggage. Even having to pay the cost of staying in a hotel an extra night can be expensive; paying for entirely new flights after a delay and missed connection can be prohibitive.
USA by Rail highly recommends Insure & Go as its best buy travel insurance, both for comprehensive cover and great value.