Travel Insurance Help

Travel Insurance can be a confusing topic, mainly because there is a wide range of policies available all of which differ. The FAQ below aims to help you answer questions about Columbus Direct’s Travel Insurance Policies.

  • General

    • What is an 'excess' and how much is it on your policies? What is an 'excess' and how much is it on your policies?

      The excess or deductible is the amount that you (the insured) will be responsible for paying as part of a claim.

      Here is a list of applicable excess on our Columbus International policies:

      • The excess on Medical Expenses is 150 €
      • The excess on Cancellation & Curtailment is 75 €
      • The excess on Baggage Cover is 75 €
      • The excess on Cash & Documents Cover is 75 €
      • The excess on Abandonment is 75 €
      • The excess on Personal Liability Cover is 250 €
      • The excess on Business Cover is 75 €
      • The excess on Ski Cover is 75 €
      • No excess on travel delay and delayed baggage claims.

      Both our cover limits and excess amounts apply per person, and the excess applies per incident. If you make a claim under more than one section of the insurance, the excess will apply to each claim.

    • My daughter wants to go on a back-packing holiday around Australia for 4 months - will she be covered under my annual travel policy? My daughter wants to go on a back-packing holiday around Australia for 4 months - will she be covered under my annual travel policy?

      No, sorry. Extended or long stay trips must be insured under a separate policy. The maximum duration under an Annual Multi Trip policy for any one trip is 31 days or 60 days (depending on your policy type) - usually sufficient for normal holiday commitments. For more information on travel insurance for long trips, see our backpacker travel insurance page.

    • What if I wish to cancel my policy? What if I wish to cancel my policy?

      All our policies come with a 14-day cooling-off period during which you can request a full refund of your insurance premium as long as your trip hasn't started and you haven't made a claim. You'll need to send us an email to confirm that you wish to cancel your policy.

    • If my car breaks down on holiday am I covered? If my car breaks down on holiday am I covered?

      No, our policies don't cover car breakdown. You should buy car breakdown insurance with a reputable company, particularly if you are motoring abroad.

    • Can I cover my 19 year old son on my annual policy? Can I cover my 19 year old son on my annual policy?

      The maximum age limit for dependent children on your policy is 18. However, can include your son on a family policy up to the age of 22, provided he is still in full time education. Otherwise, you may wish to insure him on his own policy – either just for this next trip, or on an annual basis.

    • If I were to injure someone playing golf, does my policy cover me? If I were to injure someone playing golf, does my policy cover me?

      No - not unless it states on your certificate that your policy includes additional cover whilst playing golf.

    • What is Insurance Tax? What is Insurance Tax?

      Insurance Tax at the rate set in your country of residence, is a tax which we have to collect for the Government.

    • How will I receive my policy documents? How will I receive my policy documents?

      Your policy schedule will be emailed to you. This will include a copy of your insurance certificate, important policy notes and a copy of the full policy wording. It’s important that you review all of these documents carefully and a good idea to keep a print-out of these with you when you travel.

    • What happens about my renewal if I have an annual policy? What happens about my renewal if I have an annual policy?

      We will notify you 30 days before your policy is due to expire, and invite you to renew your policy. Alternatively, you can return to our website and renew your policy online.

    • What can I do to make sure that nobody sees the financial information I input into the site? What can I do to make sure that nobody sees the financial information I input into the site?

      All the personal information you transmit across the internet while purchasing a policy on our site is encrypted, meaning it is secure against possible interception. 

    • Do I need to take my policy with me when travelling? Do I need to take my policy with me when travelling?

      Yes. This documentation provides you with information and emergency telephone numbers you may need in the event of making a claim while travelling. It will also provide details of any supporting documentation that may be required in the event of a claim (i.e. loss reports, receipts etc.)

    • We've got an annual policy and we go on holiday in our country of residence quite a lot - is this covered? We've got an annual policy and we go on holiday in our country of residence quite a lot - is this covered?

      Your policy includes cover for trips taken within your country of residence where you lodge, or plan to lodge, for at least two nights in pre-booked accommodation. However, this cover is not available on our single-trip policies.

    • How do I view the e-mailed version of my policy? How do I view the e-mailed version of my policy?

      You will need a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the attachments. To download the latest version, visit the link at the end of your policy confirmation e-mail.

    • Are there any conditions that we should know about? Are there any conditions that we should know about?

      These frequently asked questions are to assist you. You should read the policy documentation carefully to make sure it suits your requirements. The policy wording is available here.

      As with all insurance policies there are conditions which you agree to in purchasing the policy. Misrepresenting any material facts (e.g. by failing to declare pre-existing medical conditions) when entering into an insurance contract may invalidate your cover. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch with our customer care team.

  • Baggage

    • My hotel room has been broken into and I hadn't put my valuables in the hotel safe - am I covered? My hotel room has been broken into and I hadn't put my valuables in the hotel safe - am I covered?

      You will be covered provided your belongings have been kept in a secure locked hotel room, or locked holiday residence. You will need to notify the police within 24 hours of the discovery of the incident, and ensure you have a written police report from them.

  • Selecting the right cover

    • Are Business trips covered? Are Business trips covered?

      The policy will allow you to travel for business purposes. For specific business cover including business equipment cover (for laptops etc.) as well as cover for a replacement colleague's travel expenses, you need to select the Business Cover Extension.

    • We're going camping this year. So it is not a fully pre-booked holiday. Does our policy cover us? We're going camping this year. So it is not a fully pre-booked holiday. Does our policy cover us?

      Yes. Motoring, camping and self-catering holidays are included. If you were to miss a ferry or it was cancelled because of strike or bad weather you would be able to claim under your policy. Equally if your luggage were stolen or damaged there should be a valid claim and the other sections of your policy also apply. Camping equipment can be expensive so make sure you have enough insurance cover.

    • Doesn't the EHIC form provide medical insurance? Doesn't the EHIC form provide medical insurance?

      The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) may pay for certain costs related to emergency medical treatment, depending on which country you are in. However, this could still leave you considerably out-of-pocket, because hospital overnight costs, transportation and repatriation costs may not be covered by the EHIC. This is where a travel insurance policy can help out.

    • If I buy a family annual multi-trip policy, are we covered when travelling alone? If I buy a family annual multi-trip policy, are we covered when travelling alone?

      Provided all family members are named on the policy, adult travellers (aged 19 or older) are covered while travelling alone. Children (up to 18 years of age) are covered as long as they are accompanied by at least one parent. Children up to the age of 15 cannot be covered while travelling alone. Cover for school trips and children aged between 16 and 17 years travelling alone is subject to underwriter approval – please contact our customer service team to discuss.

    • What is the maximum length of time that I can be covered per trip under an Annual Multi-Trip policy? What is the maximum length of time that I can be covered per trip under an Annual Multi-Trip policy?

      The maximum trip length on our annual multi-trip policy is up to 60 days. A single trip policy can last up to 365 days.

    • My eldest son will turn 18 whilst we are away. Will that make a difference to the premium? My eldest son will turn 18 whilst we are away. Will that make a difference to the premium?

      No. You will not be charged any additional premium until you renew your policy.

    • I quite fancy having a go at some more hazardous sports while on holiday. Would I be covered if I had an accident? I quite fancy having a go at some more hazardous sports while on holiday. Would I be covered if I had an accident?

      You can purchase extra cover for certain activities with our Adventure Pack when you book your policy. However, some leisure sports and activities are included free. See our adventure travel insurance page or consult the policy wording for details.

    • Can I reduce the premium by taking less medical insurance cover? Can I reduce the premium by taking less medical insurance cover?

      No, it's not possible to reduce the medical limit on our policies.

      The medical limit we provide is high, and it may sound excessive, but a vast amount of experience tells us that it is better to have a high level of cover rather than to be left under-insured. No one can tell what treatment would be required and where it would be available when the unexpected happens abroad. Repatriation is covered under this section of your policy, which can be very expensive if it has to be by private plane. Similarly, even the most basic of medical treatment in the USA can run into thousands of euros.

    • The travel agent always tries to sell us holiday insurance. How do I handle this situation? The travel agent always tries to sell us holiday insurance. How do I handle this situation?

      Always have your travel insurance policy to hand when booking a holiday or trip. The travel agent is only doing their job in trying to sell you the policy of their affiliated insurer, and they have to make sure you have adequate insurance cover. Showing them our policy – which offers cover for the most common travel risks – should solve the problem. Many travel agencies insist on you signing to declare that you already have adequate insurance, and need to take note of your policy number – so having it to hand could save you some time.

    • With my household insurance, medical insurance, credit card insurance and the EU's EHIC insurance, why should I buy additional travel insurance? With my household insurance, medical insurance, credit card insurance and the EU's EHIC insurance, why should I buy additional travel insurance?

      There is a certain amount of cover afforded by those policies but it is often not complete. You must ask yourself if the cover given by those policies is as wide as you need. With credit cards, you are typically just covered for personal accident. Many of those policies don't cover adequately for the medical treatment to cope with an accident or injury.

    • Why take out an annual policy? Why take out an annual policy?

      In many cases this can prove more convenient and cost-effective than purchasing single trip policies each time you travel, particularly if you intend to travel regularly during the year. However, the decision whether to take out a single trip or annual policy depends on your specific needs and situation.

  • Medical

    • I am currently under a course of treatment with my doctor. Will I be covered for this medical condition? I am currently under a course of treatment with my doctor. Will I be covered for this medical condition?

      We define a pre-existing medical condition as any medical or dental condition, illness, injury, defect or disease (other than common colds or flu), psychological condition or mental disorder:

      a) for which advice or treatment (including medication), or investigation has been received or prescribed in the 12 months prior to the issue of the policy (for Single Trip), or in the 12 months prior to booking YOUR TRIP (for Annual Multi‐Trip); and/or

      b) which is of a recurring or ongoing nature or any complication directly attributable to it; and/or  

      c) of which YOU are aware, or the symptoms of which YOU are aware, or could reasonably be expected to have been aware at the time of applying for this insurance.

      Our policies do not provide cover for your medical condition unless we have agreed to cover it via a written endorsement on the policy. If you have a medical condition and would like to find out if we can cover it, you need to contact our customer care team.

    • My doctor told me that it would be unwise to travel abroad. Does this invalidate my policy? My doctor told me that it would be unwise to travel abroad. Does this invalidate my policy?

      If you've been advised against travelling, you need to let us know immediately in order for us to be able to consider any cancellation costs you may incur. In any case, there will be no cover under any section of your policy if you decide to travel against medical advice.

    • If I fall ill or have an accident while abroad, how do I pay my medical bills? If I fall ill or have an accident while abroad, how do I pay my medical bills?

      Where possible, you need to contact the 24hr Emergency Helpline number before you incur any substantial medical expenses abroad. This number can be found under the important notes section of the insurance certificate (on the rear of the insurance certificate for policies sold before 22 March 2017) as well as in your policy documentation.

  • Cancellation

    • If I'm called up for jury service will I be able to claim for my lost/delayed holiday? If I'm called up for jury service will I be able to claim for my lost/delayed holiday?

      If your trip needs to be cancelled or postponed because you've unexpectedly been summoned for jury service, then this (along with certain other reasons) will be covered under the cancellation section of your policy.

  • Claims

    • At 3 a.m., in a different time zone, what would we do if we needed medical treatment and needed to claim? At 3 a.m., in a different time zone, what would we do if we needed medical treatment and needed to claim?

      We have arranged for professionals to be available 24 hours a day every day of the year if a customer needs emergency medical advice or treatment. Call them using the number stated on your policy.

    • We've heard of people losing their money. What would we do if this happened to us? We've heard of people losing their money. What would we do if this happened to us?

      Report the loss to a recognised authority (i.e. holiday rep, hotel management) who will be able to locate the police. The incident must be reported to the police within 24 hours of the loss or theft occurring, and a written report must be obtained from them.

    • If any of my group were to lose their passport, what happens? If any of my group were to lose their passport, what happens?

      Your policy provides an amount for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred abroad in obtaining a new document (you should check your policy for the amount of cover provided). If a passport goes missing, the incident must be reported to the police within 24 hours of the loss or theft occurring, and a written report must be obtained from them.

  • Travel Delay

    • What happens if the flight is delayed? What happens if the flight is delayed?

      Under the Travel Delay and Abandonment section of you policy, cover is provided if your departure is delayed for at least 6 hours due to strikes/industrial action, mechanical breakdown of the plane, train or boat, adverse weather conditions or traffic flow congestion. To claim, you will need to obtain written confirmation from the airline (or their agent) to show the length of delay, and the reason it occurred.

    • What happens if I miss my plane through no fault of my own? What happens if I miss my plane through no fault of my own?

      The policy includes cover for Missed Departure. So, if you arrive at your departure point too late to catch your flight or ferry as a result of the failure of public transport services, or if the car you are travelling in is involved in an accident or breaks down you may be eligible to submit a claim.