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When it comes to travel insurance, it seems like a lot of insurers are quick to use a lot of complicated terminology and jargon, which quite frankly, most people don’t really understand.

Unless you’re a travel insurance expert, chances are a lot of these words used will leave you feeling a bit stumped.

So, we’ve come to the rescue: to bust that hard to understand insurance jargon, so you know exactly what your policy covers and how your travel insurance works.

Annual Multi-Trip (also known as MT or AMT): A type of policy that covers an unlimited number of trips across a 12-month period. It allows you to go away for up to 31 days at a time, as often as you like!

Abandonment: If you’ve set off for your trip and are delayed by more than 12 hours, there’s cover in your policy for you to effectively ‘abandon’ your holiday, and put in a claim for any money you’ve lost to bookings, accommodation, pre-booked excursions and transport.

Baggage: Baggage cover is cover within your travel insurance policy if your baggage is delayed, lost, damaged or stolen. This includes any suitcase, holdall, trunk – basically anything you can hold your belongings in, as well as the contents inside of them.

Baggage cover can also be extended include sports equipment such as golf clubs, winter sports or scuba equipment and mobility support (wheelchair and crutches), but this can be dependent on your provider and the level of cover you’ve selected.

Cancellation Cover: Cancellation cover is part of your policy that means that if something happens and you need to cancel your trip, you can make a claim for any money you’ve lost to do with your booking/s.

The amount of cancellation cover that you have is dependent on the level of cover you choose, and what you can claim for. This information can be found in your policy wording.

Cancellation Cover start dates: For Single Trip policies cancellation cover begins from the state date which you can find on your policy schedule, and it ends when you depart for your trip.

 A Multi-Trip policy is a little bit different. The cancellation cover starts on the start date which you can find on your policy schedule or the date you booked your trip (whichever one you did first). It ends when you depart for your trip or when your policy cover ends (again that comes down to whichever date is earlier).

Claim: A claim is something that you would submit to your insurer which asks for money to cover the money that you have lost. It can either be approved or denied, depending on whether your policy wording states you are covered.

Curtailment: Curtailment is travel insurance jargon for cutting your trip short and returning home early. This differs to cancellation cover, which covers the total cost of your trip should anything happen before you leave home.

Your curtailment cover lets you claim back on the things you should have done or used whilst you were away but were unable too – this means you wouldn’t get an entire refund for the whole trip, just what you couldn’t use. This could include pre-paid accommodation, car hire or holiday excursions.

Sometimes policies cover reasonable travel expenses, which is just what you had for in order to get home. Or you may find that the travel insurer arranges that all for you so you do not have to pay out in the first place.

Make sure you check your policy wordings for the reasons covered for cutting your trip short.

Coronavirus Cover: This cover is specific to COVID-19, ensuring protection for both you and your trip. It comes as standard with your policy, and is available on all Single Trip and Multi-Trip policies.

With Alpha policies, COVID-19 cover includes enhanced protection if you need to cancel your trip because you or anyone named on the policy test positive for Coronavirus up to 14 days before you leave for your trip, protection if your airline goes into administration due to the pandemic and cover if you or anyone named on your policy are prevented entry at the airport on your inbound flight due to showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Emergency Medical Expenses: This provides cover for the costs of unexpected emergency medical treatment whilst your away as wells as transportation and repatriation back home if you are too unwell to carry on with your trip.

Not every hospital abroad works the same way as our hospitals here in the UK. A good travel insurance policy will include emergency medical expenses up to the sum of £10million, and whilst this may seem like a lot, often a night in a hospital on your holiday can cost upwards of £1,000.

Cover tends not to be provided if you are travelling for the specific purpose of receiving treatment or getting medical advice, but do check your policy wording for all the specifics.

European Cover: When you take out a policy, you’ll be asked where in the world you are travelling to. European cover is pretty self-explanatory – it offers cover when travelling to a European country. Make sure that if you are travelling outside of Europe, you do state this when taking out a policy otherwise all cover will be void.

The countries listed under Alpha’s European cover are:

Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azores, Balearic Islands, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greek Islands, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia west of the Ural mountains, San Marino, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales and Vatican City State

Excess: Your excess is the amount that you agree to pay should you need to submit a claim.

At Alpha, you are able to choose your excess, and pay anything from £0 to £175 in the event of a claim dependent on the policy you’ve selected. It is important to keep in mind that whilst the cost of your policy will be lower if you opt for a higher excess, it does mean you would have more money deducted off of your claim. Often the difference in premium price between different excess options can be quite small so do check this before you take a policy.

Exclusions: Exclusions are things your insurance will not cover. Usually, if it’s not mentioned in what you’re covered for, it’ll be excluded from your cover. Make sure you know what isn’t included before you buy, so there are no unpleasant surprises when you do make a claim.

Extension: An extension is an optional extra that you can add onto your policy so your insurance covers everything you need for your trip. This might be cover that not everyone needs, so can be included after you’ve selected the level of cover you’d like.

Examples include specific activity packs, gadget cover, and specialist winter sports cover – the list goes on.

FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office): This is the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), also known as the Foreign Office (FO). They are there to ensure people are only travelling to destinations that are safe. Most insurers work alongside them and so do not cover destinations that are deemed unsafe to visit.

Force Majeure: A bit of an odd word, and probably not one you would have heard before, but it means ‘act of God.’ This could be any event that happens outside of your control, including natural disasters, weather and civil unrest, which disrupts your trip.

Gadgets: There can be a bit of uncertainty about what is classed as a gadget in travel insurance as it can be different depending on which provider you purchase your policy.

At Alpha, we include the following as gadgets: Mobile/ Smart Phones, Laptops, Tablets, Digital Cameras, MP3 Players, CD/DVD Players, Games Consoles, Video Cameras, Camera Lenses, Bluetooth Headsets, Satellite Navigation Devices, PDAs, E-Readers, Head/Ear Phones, Portable Health Monitoring Devices, Wearable Technology.

Insurer: Okay, so this is where things get a bit more complicated! For most of us, the insurer is the provider we purchase from.

In reality, the insurer is the company or organisation which ‘underwrites’ the risk, and provides you with financial reimbursement in the case of the unexpected happening. Information about Alpha Travel Insurance's insurers can be found here: https://www.alphatravelinsurance.co.uk/our-insurer/.

Legal Costs: Legal cover is included in your policy for any fees, costs and expenses that are required due to legal action you incur as a result of something that happened on your trip. It also includes costs that you’re expected to pay by either a court or arbitrator (excluding damage, fines and penalties). Keep in mind your travel insurance provider has to agree to these fees, they won’t just automatically be paid so you’ll need to contact your insurance provider before agreeing to anything.

Policy: A formal, legally-binding contract between you and your insurer which includes the terms of cover (such as how much you can claim for, and what situations you can claim under).

Policyholder: When you purchase a policy in your name you become a policyholder.

Personal Possession Cover: This cover includes anything that you decide to take away with you, besides from your valuables, electrical items and gadgets. This could include cover on shoes, clothes or luggage should it be lost or stolen. 

Pre-Existing Medical Condition: Travel insurance when you have a medical condition can be a bit different. A pre-existing medical condition is a medical condition that you were diagnosed with or being treated for before your policy started.

When you’re asked about medical conditions it can be a bit confusing as to what you do and do not need to declare. Make sure you let your insurer know of any serious or re-occurring medical condition which has been diagnosed, looked into or treated in any way, at any time before you have travelled, even if the condition is now stable. If you are ever unsure it is best to call the customer service team to check.

Renewal Date: If you have taken out a Multi-Trip policy it will last 12 months. After those 12 months pass, you will be prompted to renew your policy and take out a new Multi-Trip your cover will then end unless you renew your policy by the renewal date.

Single Trip Policy: This type of policy provides cover for one trip. Cover starts when you purchase your policy, and ends when you return home.

Terrorism: Terrorism cover might be included in your policy, and can come in useful when your trip or planned travel has been affected by an act of terrorism.

As defined by our policies, terrorism is a violent act or threat by a person or group of people, whether acting alone or in connection with an organisation or government, committed for political, religious, ideological or similar purposes intended to influence a government or to scare the public. An ‘action’ can be defined by violence, property damage, putting life in danger, creating a public health risk, or interrupting electronic systems or transport services.

Underwriter: An underwriter is someone who analyses the risk or likelihood of things happening to you, and then provides a cost to cover that risk. They work on behalf of the insurer to decide what risks to accept, and what the terms of the policy will be.

Valuables: Valuables cover includes rings, watches (not smartwatches), jewellery and any electrical items that do not fall under a gadget category that requires power either from the mains or through a battery, such as a hairdryer.

Winter Sports: Specific activities fall under wintersports. They include: skiing (on and off-piste), snowboarding, husky dog sledding, ice hockey, ice diving, ice skating, sledging/tobogganing, sleigh riding, snow mobile/ski-doos, snow parascending, snow tubing.

If you are looking to go skiing or snowboarding on holiday, it’s likely you’ll need a wintersports policy or a policy with a wintersports extension.

Worldwide Cover: Cover to visit anywhere in the world (unless advised against by FCDO)

Available Policies

You can choose from one of the following travel insurance policies to suit your travelling needs;

What are the benefits of an Alpha policy?

It’s very easy to just think all travel insurance is the same – they all cover a similar sort of thing, so you don’t really need to give it that much thought, right?

Actually, they’re all quite different, so it is important that you know exactly what it is that you’re buying and what you may have to pay later down the line.

Our policies have many benefits, some of which are:

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