We all know getting travel insurance is essential before you go abroad (ideally buy it as soon as you’ve booked your holiday or flights).
Fingers crossed you won’t need to use it, but if something does go amiss, as so many travellers have experienced in recent weeks, don’t just assume you can sort it when you
Back in February, my wife headed to Rome to watch Italy vs England in the Six Nations. And though she boarded the flight, for some reason her luggage didn’t.
I was at home when I found that her bag had been left back in Manchester,
so I quickly got on the phone to Coverwise (part of Axa), the travel insurance provider. I knew they would want some evidence to process the claim and I wanted to find out exactly what was needed.
After a bit of effort, I got the details and passed on to my wife which forms were needed from baggage claim and a reminder to get the receipts for the essentials she would have to buy until (or if) the suitcase turned up.
Sadly, even then it doesn’t always go smoothly. When the claim was put forward there were issues. First Coverwise said we didn’t have the right form (we did, but it was in Italian). Eventually they accepted it, so I’m glad we knew to get it. Without this form we’d have had no chance.
But that wasn’t the end of it. The insurers said we also needed evidence the airline hadn’t already covered some or all of the claim. It seems in the policy documents this comes under ‘Any other relevant information relating to your claim under this section that we may ask you for’.
After four months of trying, the airline, Enter Air, who are based in Poland, eventually confirmed this and Coverwise has put forward the claim for processing (not necessarily payment). Hopefully that’s enough to get the money back.
So, even though for us it turned into a saga, I’d recommend having a copy of the terms with you when you travel, and also calling your provider to confirm what evidence you need to provide.
Andy’s Best Buys: Spend abroad for free and earn cashback
Using your debit or credit card abroad will usually come with a hefty mark-up of charges, but there are a handful that are fee-free. Even better, some will give you extra cashback on top.
My top pick is the Chase Bank debit card which will earn you 1% on purchases at home and abroad for 12 months. However, right now there’s a three to five week wait to get the account open, so it makes sense to start your application now (it’s app-only) to have it ready by the school holidays.
If you need something sooner, then there are some credit cards to consider. The Barclaycard Rewards card will earn you 0.25% back for every £1 you spend and you won’t get charged interest on overseas cash withdrawals.
Or the Halifax Clarity credit card comes with a £20 cashback bonus when you spend within 90 days (you must apply before June 29). As with any credit card, make sure you clear the balance every month to avoid interest charges.
You could also consider a Curve card and link an existing cashback, reward Visa or Mastercard to it to spend fee-free this summer and earn the underlying points (e.g. the BA Avios card). Sadly it doesn’t work with American Express.
One to avoid: Santander has launched a one per cent cashback offer overseas on any of its credit cards if you use it to spend £500 abroad by September 18. However, the ‘Everyday’ Santander cards will charge you a 2.95% fee on each transaction in a foreign currency, while the ‘all-in-one’ charges £3 a month, wiping out your extra earnings.
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