By LESLEY GREGORY
Robin writes: People often say to me, “I love your blog, but why do you only write about investing?”
The simple answer is that I’m a big believer in Warren Buffett’s mantra, “Know your circle of competence, and stick within it.” I’m a general news reporter by background. Seven years ago, I knew next to nothing about investing or the asset management industry. Despite focusing on it almost exclusively in the intervening period, I still have much to learn.
That said, I do take the point that investing is only part of a much bigger picture. From now on, therefore, we’re going to be tackling a wide range of other money-related issues with the help of suitable experts in the field.
I’m delighted to welcome LESLEY GREGORY to our writing team. Lesley is a highly experienced consumer and personal finance journalist, who has written for major publications in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Lesley is going to be writing a regular, fortnightly column called Money Matters. In this, her first piece for TEBI, she offers some tips on a subject we often overlook in the excitement of booking a holiday — travel insurance.
Illness, transport strikes and even natural disasters are just some of the ways a holiday can be ruined. But the disruption can be far less expensive – and not nearly as stressful – if you take sufficient care when organising travel insurance.
Even the pain of relatively minor holiday mishaps like lost luggage, stolen cameras or cancelled flights can be ameliorated when you have appropriate cover.
However, if your coverage is inadequate you face the double blow of a ruined holiday and the wasted expense of a dud insurance policy.
Insurance nightmares usually result from leaving the arrangements until the last moment – let’s face it, it’s not the most exciting part of planning a trip. But if insurance is an afterthought, arranged with just the click on a button on a website, you may not really understand the policy and what it covers.
Here are the ten things you can do to ensure you protect yourself effectively:
1. Price isn’t everything — A cheap policy isn’t good for you if it’s so riddled with limits and exclusions and excesses that it’s impossible to claim on.
2. Watch the excess — This is your share of the loss — the amount you’re prepared to cover yourself when you make a claim. A higher excess will get you a lower premium, but make sure it’s not so high that you’ll never get anything back.
3. Read the policy — Take the time to study the fine print. A £5000 allowance for lost luggage may sound OK. But what if it comes with a cap of £500 on any one item?
4. Declare existing medical conditions — An existing condition, asthma for instance, could invalidate your policy. Better to declare it and wear the added cost if necessary.
5. Theft cover — Valuables judged by the insurer as left “unattended” usually aren’t covered. Understand their definition of unattended, as it might not be the same as yours.
6. Don’t double up — Rental car firms offer insurance, with a fee to waive the excess. But check whether you already have cover via the credit card you’ll pay with.
7. Credit card check — Check the conditions for travel insurance that come with your card, though. You may have to pay for the whole trip on the card to activate the cover.
8. Check what isn’t covered — Epidemics or acts of terrorism generally aren’t covered. High-adrenalin activities like skiing often aren’t included and will cost you extra.
9. Cancellation fine print — If you cancel your trip because you have a better offer, or you ignore travel warnings, or the travel provider goes bust, you may not get anything back.
LESLEY GREGORY is a vastly experienced consumer and personal finance journalist. She writes regularly for TEBI on areas that aren’t directly related to investing. Here are some other recent articles of hers that you may have missed: