By James Fisher
If you’re reading this then it can only mean one thing – you’ll soon be on your way to an epic bodyboarding holiday! High-five! Once the immediate excitement of blue skies, warm seas and golden beaches has worn off, there’s a few boring (but necessary) holiday admin tasks to take care of.
If you’ve got this far into the planning stage of your trip then hopefully you’ve already read our guide on how to book the best flights for your holiday. The team at Bodyboard Holidays has put together this in-depth ‘How To’ blog to help even the most reluctant traveller feel confident when booking holiday flights. If you haven’t stumbled across it yet we definitely recommend giving it a read!
On top of finding the best flights, another part of bodyboarding abroad is buying the most effective and appropriate insurance for your trip. Often this can feel like more of an optional added expense rather than a necessary purchase. In an ideal world we’d like 100% of our holiday to run 100% smoothly. In reality this doesn’t always happen and it’s definitely worth having a back-up option or a safety net in place just in case.
Holiday frustrations could appear in the form of lost baggage, misplaced credit cards, accidental injury and, worst of all, damaged bodyboard equipment! In this article we will discuss why it’s always better to purchase travel insurance before jetting off.
Do I really need travel insurance?
In a word – yes. We won’t drag it out any longer than it needs to be. What it comes down to is essentially weighing up your money against your worst case scenario. Here at Bodyboard Holidays we always like to look on the bright side, but we’ve travelled enough of the world to know that some things aren’t worth leaving to chance.
The main reasons for purchasing travel insurance are:
- You want to cover yourself (any injuries or accidents you may suffer while on holiday)
- You want to cover your personal belongings (any misplaced bags or broken bodyboards)
- You want to cover any holiday cancellations (natural disasters like floods or global pandemics that could affect holiday travel)
If, like us, you’re based in the UK, it’s difficult to imagine a world where you have to pay for emergency medical treatment. However, in other countries where healthcare is not freely available, it’s always worth having that peace of mind. Hopefully it’s not something you’ll ever experience, but serious hospital visits can end up costing thousands of pounds in some countries. A cost that you will be responsible for if you don’t have the appropriate insurance to cover it.
LOST OR DAMAGED BELONGINGS
We’ve all been there. Nervously waiting at the airport carousel hoping for a glimpse of our brightly-coloured suitcase to appear from beyond the inner workings of baggage control. Is that it? No.. What about that one? Nope… Until finally, roughly 12 hours later (maybe a slight exaggeration) there it is.
9 times out of 10 everything’s fine and you’re on your merry way to the hotel. But sometimes, just sometimes, things can go wrong. Suitcases can be left behind, handbags can be misplaced, passports can go missing and bank cards can disappear off-grid. When you factor in expensive equipment like laptops, bodyboards and phones, you’re going to wish you’d spent that little bit extra to cover you for accidental loss or damage.
With the average price of single-trip travel insurance in Europe at around £10 to £15, we firmly believe that it’s well worth adding on as soon as you’ve booked your flights. Then you can truly relax and enjoy your holiday!
Although not as common as the previous two reasons, holiday cancellations do happen and they can be highly frustrating. Especially if you’ve been looking forward to an epic bodyboarding trip for quite some time.
Not only could your time away be cancelled, you could also run the risk of losing any deposits or up-front fees that you’ve paid for so far. Possibly even the cost of the whole holiday – it’s definitely not worth the risk! Make sure your insurance covers you for cancellation so you can reclaim your hard earned cash and put it towards something else in the future.
In the wake of the biggest global pandemic since WW2, we now have an extra reason to book travel insurance before jetting off on our bodyboard holidays. Many companies have adapted their policies to suit the situation but the rules and regulations can still leave many people confused.
Generally, if the airline you booked with has cancelled your flights, they should refund your money. The start of the pandemic saw millions of flights being cancelled as the world slowly closed down and it proved to be a fairly laborious task to get any money back. Thankfully, as many countries came to terms with the effects of coronavirus, things are moving slightly quicker.
The best thing you can do is know your rights when it comes to Covid related cancellations. Ask your airline operator what kind of refund they offer and speak to your insurance providers to see what coronavirus cover they have in place. You can find all the latest information on MSE’s Coronavirus Travel Rights page.
Top rated travel insurance
Recommending a particular insurance provider to you is somewhat of a legal minefield. We definitely won’t be doing that. What we can do, however, is point out the best things to look for when deciding which cover is right for you.
It’s worth bearing the following points in mind:
- Make sure the insurance policy is specific to your needs. In this particular instance, a bodyboarding holiday. Choosing a provider that includes bodyboarding or surfing in its activities section is a logical approach to your decision.
Different levels of cover will include different activities so it’s always good to check the small print. Generally surfing will be included on all basic policies as it’s classed as a relatively low risk sport.
- Be aware of the excess and pay out limits. Travel insurance is similar to car or home insurance in that you’re liable for an excess payment to get the ball rolling. This is deducted from any pay out the insurance company makes.
Medical bills will typically cover you up to a few million pounds. But how much cover you need for baggage, cancellation and loss of cash etc will need to suit you as an individual. Also make sure you’re aware of and happy with the cost of excess.
- Weigh up different levels of cover. Instead of a one off policy, it may work out cheaper to buy an annual policy if you know you’ll be going away again before the year is out. This can provide peace of mind whilst saving you time and money before your next holiday. Get single-trip quotes for each holiday and compare them against the price of the whole year.
- Check which countries are covered. If you decide to buy an annual multi-trip policy, you need to be aware that not all countries are covered equally. Different parts of the world are grouped together depending on how far you’re likely to travel. These are typically split into three categories: Europe, Worldwide (excluding USA, Canada and the Caribbean), and Worldwide without exclusions.
- Think about natural disaster cover. This seems excessive but if the last few years have taught us anything (thanks Covid), it’s that this is a very real decision to include in your cover. Some insurers will be cheeky and avoid paying out if it’s deemed a natural disaster. Not all of them though, so it’s important to check the small print.
As well as Covid-19, recent years have seen tsunamis, volcanoes and earthquakes leading to holidays being cancelled. Unfortunately this has left some people unable to claim back the cost of their holiday.
- Check with your bank first. If your current account involves a monthly fee, it’s likely that you’re entitled to lots of extra benefits. These could include phone insurance, breakdown cover and, most importantly, travel insurance. Check with your bank to see if you could save money on your travel cover.
This may all seem like a lot to think about but we promise you it will save more headaches than it causes. Most insurers cover most things as standard. It’s just good practice to double check the facts before you buy. Martin Lewis has an excellent section on his website regarding all things travel insurance.
The Money Saving Expert website will only list insurers who meet certain minimum requirements, allowing you to filter out any companies worth avoiding.
Holiday in your own country
Bodyboard Holidays offers various UK weekend trips and retreats that might mean you don’t have to leave the country at all. In terms of medical insurance, that’s great. If you’re travelling from the USA we just ask to see a copy of your private health insurance.
If you already live in the UK or Ireland then you will be entitled to NHS or HSE medical care. However, we definitely still recommend buying travel insurance to cover any other potential accidents that could leave you out of pocket. Just to recap, these could be things such as holiday cancellations, lost luggage, damaged personal equipment and stolen belongings etc.
While we’re on the subject of travel insurance, it would be remiss of me to leave out my own personal experience with this trending topic. Back in 2019, I had the awesome opportunity of backpacking around South-East Asia. Like most people, I bounced back and forth deciding if the extra cost of travel insurance was going to be worth it. This seemingly unnecessary cost could keep me travelling for another couple of weeks at least!
Fast-forward a few months in and I found myself on the bed of a medical centre in Thailand having been involved in a scooter crash. I needed surgery, stitches and prescription medication. All of which came at a hefty cost.
Long story short, my leg got better and, thanks to my last-minute decision to purchase travel insurance, I was able to claim back the cost of my medical bills. The point is that you can be as careful as you wish (and I promise you I was being careful!) but sometimes the actions of others could force your hand.
Travel insurance online
Travel insurance will ultimately come down to your personal preference and depend on how much cover you think you need. We can’t tell you who to buy your insurance from, and we wouldn’t want to either, but we can point you in the right direction of the best reviewed travel insurance companies out there.
The top 5 according to Bought By Many are as follows. Check out their website for the full list.
With so much scope for an enjoyable and relaxing bodyboard holiday, you needn’t let the headaches of travel insurance affect your pre-trip excitement. Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought and helped you consider what’s important when looking for the best travel insurance for your holiday.
If there’s anything we can do to help, get in touch via our online chat or give us a call and one of our friendly team members will be happy to speak to you.