You should arrange your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip, even if only the deposit has been paid. The cancellation cover only becomes effective on the start date of the policy, so waiting until the day of travel means that you have no cancellation cover beforehand.

You should carry an up to date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if travelling in the European Economic Area (EEA), comprising other EU countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and UK, and this will provide necessary emergency medical treatment available in the relevant country. This cover is equivalent to the treatment available for residents of that country under reciprocal agreements, but does not include private health care, ongoing treatment, mountain rescue, repatriation or lost/stolen property.

The average cost of medical treatment in Europe over and above that provided by the EHIC card is in excess of €1,500 and further afield your own costs will be substantially higher as the EHIC card is not operative outside Europe. The means that if you do not have travel insurance to cover any medical emergency and subsequent treatment, you will potentially be left with a large bill on your credit card when you return home.

Typically, the cost of a two week trip for a family of four in Europe is in excess of €2,000 and you can obtain a travel insurance policy for the same family trip from as little as €57 so ask yourself whether it is worth taking the gamble.

If you need uninsured medical treatment the total charges could be much more than the cost of your holiday, and potentially be the difference between being able to pay for a holiday next year or returning home with a large credit card bill to satisfy. Taking premiums into context, you can insure your trip for less than 3% of the cost of your holiday, or an even smaller percentage of medical costs!

It is a relatively simple process to ensure that you have the correct travel insurance in place and you should discuss your travel plans with your Ibex specialist to verify that you have the level of insurance cover required for your needs and the activities you have planned.

It is essential that you answer questions about your medical history fully and honestly, otherwise you may not be covered if you need to make a claim. But don't gamble with the cover and assume that all policies are alike. Some insurers will accept certain medical conditions at an additional cost, some will automatically exclude any and all pre-existing conditions and others will accept any conditions that have had no change in treatment for a fixed period before the commencement of your policy at no extra cost, so the choice of insurer can be as important as arranging a travel policy in the first place.

However, you need to accept that travel insurance policies will not usually cover accidents that occur when the traveller has not taken reasonable care, has excessive levels of alcohol in their bloodstream, or is under the influence of recreational drugs.

Finally, bear in mind these true anecdotes: A 75-year-old lady travelled from Portugal to stay overnight at her daughter’s home in UK before the trip of a lifetime to Australia. On the day of the flight to Australia, the lady was getting ready to leave for the airport when she tripped on the stairs and broke her kneecap. The travel insurance premium for that trip was €153 but her Ibex travel policy reimbursed the cost of the trip, paid for private medical treatment including physiotherapy, a stay in a private hospital for 4 days, taxis to the hospital from her daughter’s home for checks and physiotherapy, a taxi to the airport plus the cost her flight to return to Portugal. After deduction of her €70 excess the total cost paid by the insurer was in excess of €7,000.

A couple in their late 60's booked a three-week holiday to an expensive hotel in Italy but the lady had a stroke two days before travel. That couple always arranged their travel insurance the day before travelling so they had no cancellation cover and could no longer arrange it because of the medical condition suffered. That cost them over €5,000 because they felt that they should not pay the premium months earlier and let the insurers have the benefit of their €140 premium.

If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to call into one of our offices in Almancil or Tavira to get the most suitable policy to meet your needs or call us on 800 860 708 / 289 399 774 for Almancil or 281 325 842 for Tavira. Or if you prefer, send an e-mail to