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"The most common reason holidays get
cancelled is people being too unwell to travel. This is usually
covered by travel insurance, provided at the time the insurance was
purchased you are not expecting to have to cancel because of a
known medical condition deteriorating or a new condition being
diagnosed," says travel insurance expert, Beth Macer from
"Cancellation cover is designed to cover unforeseen events. Many
insurers do not cover if investigations are pending for an
undiagnosed condition, as they cannot assess the risk of a
condition without a diagnosis. As with all insurance, it's really
important to read the key facts for the policy before purchasing,
to make sure you know exactly what you can and can't claim
Cancellation cover is designed to pay back the cost of anything
paid for in advance such as flights or accommodation.
Many people mistakenly think they do not
need travel insurance within Europe, as they believe an E-HIC will
cover all eventualities; however this is unfortunately, not the
The European Health Insurance Card will cover you for necessary
medical treatment such as treatment due to illness or injury,
within the European economic area, including Switzerland. You will
be entitled to the same treatment as a resident of the country you
are visiting, however this will not always be free. The card
entitles you to treatment from state healthcare providers at a
The E-HIC card should not be used as an alternative to travel
insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare costs
such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, it will not cover you for
repatriation should you need to be flown home, and you will not be
covered for baggage or cancellation, therefore it is important you
have both an E-HIC and a valid travel insurance policy.
Most insurance providers now insist upon travellers having an
E-HIC in conjunction with their insurance policy, and will waive
the excess on the policy if you have one.
A lot of people have the misconception
that once they hit 60, their travel insurance premium will sky
rocket, however many are surprised to find that this isn't actually
By shopping around many will find that there are companies out
there who don't rate on age until you get to 70 or over.
Unfortunately, sometimes people of a certain age go to specific
companies with names they recognise and they are then charged an
extra premium by said companies for the name, because people
recognise it, however I think people need to take the time to shop
around because there are certainly better deals to be had out
there, by less well-known companies, who can certainly offer just
as competitive polices.
The 2 main things to take into account when you are an older
traveller, are that some companies increase the excesses on their
policies (usually once you are over age 65), so make sure you are
aware of what the excess will be before you purchase. Secondly,
make sure you have declared to the insurer any pre-existing medical
conditions that you may have. A lot of people over the age of 60
are usually put on certain medications by their GP - such as blood
pressure or cholesterol tablets, or may have been treated in the
past for specific conditions, so it is important to make sure these
conditions are declared to the insurers to ensure that a policy is
valid and covers any eventuality.
"Some insurance companies
will pay the cost of advertising a reward for the return of your
lost or stolen pet and the cost of the reward itself up to a
certain amount if your pet is found or recovered", says pet and
travel insurance expert, Beth Macer from payingtoomuch.com.
"Other companies will cover the cost of looking after
your pet if you have to go into hospital for emergency medical
treatment, and some policies will also cover the cost of your
holiday if you have to cancel it because your pet needs emergency
surgery close to departure."
Most people assume that when purchasing pet insurance, they are
just insuring against accidents and medical treatment for their
pet, however it really is worth shopping around and looking at the
additional cover included under some policies, as you may get some
benefits you wouldn't expect. This is why it's really important to
read through the policy benefits and key features before you
purchase, to ensure you are aware of exactly what you are paying
and covered for!
For further detail or comment on pet insurance in general
Beth Macer, pet and travel insurance expert,
"I think it's really important to make
sure people have adequate cover in place for any trip, purely
because of the cost involved if something does go wrong", says
Travel Insurance Expert Beth Macer from payingtoomuch.com.
A lot of people don't understand exactly how costly medical
treatment can be if they are not properly covered. A comprehensive
policy for medical expenses, covers not only the cost of the actual
treatment abroad, but also the cost of transportation to hospital -
be it in an ambulance or by airlift (helicopter) - in the event of
an emergency, it covers additional accommodation and travelling
expenses should you have to stay abroad longer than your booked
trip, and it also covers re-patriation should you need to be flown
People don't seem to be aware of how much it can cost if they
are not covered, for example if you need to be flown home in an air
ambulance from somewhere like Spain, the cost of the air ambulance
alone can be £12-£16,000 - not including any treatment needed on
The cost of just getting an ambulance out to you again (by road)
even before any treatment has been given can be between £500-£1000
- and a lot of places won't send one out or treat you if you cannot
prove that you have the means of paying for the treatment - so it's
really important to make sure you have a valid policy in place to
cover these eventualities, as a lot of people don't have easy
access to the sums of money needed if they are not covered by
For more information just call our travel team on 01243 784000
or quote online at
Travel insurance for certain parts of
Europe will be more expensive than for other parts. It is mainly
because the cost of medical treatment in certain countries is more
expensive and insurance companies add extra premiums to their
policies to cover this.
These places are referred to as 'toxic' countries, and within
Europe include Spain and the Canaries, Turkey, Cyprus, Switzerland
So, if you travelled to France for a week last year, and this
year go to Spain for the same time, this should explain the
difference in the premium you will see.
Most people have known that travel insurance for the USA is much
more expensive than for Europe. However, what most people didn't
know is that certain insurers also increase premiums to cover what
they refer to as 'toxic' countries within each region, for example
Figures released by the AA have revealed a drop in
average car insurance premiums, with the trend expected to
continue over the course of this year.
Over the first three months of 2013, a typical
premium quoted for a yearly comprehensive car insurance policy
stood at £746.75, representing a quarterly fall of 1.4%. Over the
past year, car insurance premiums have dropped by 4.1%.
According to the insurer, drivers have faced massive
increases to their insurance premiums over the past three
Premiums are anticipated to drop even further going
forward as the initial points of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and
Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) take effect.
Principals under the reform include a £4,000 increase
to the limit for personal injury claims cases in small claims
courts where legal costs can't be recovered, as well as a ban on
the payment and receipt of referral fees for claims that
include a personal injury.
The AA welcomed the reform and said it hopes it will
prompt further crackdowns to curb the number of whip-lash injury
claims. The insurer believes around 70% of motor incidents
result in an injury claim, even in the event of no injury
being suffered, totaling about 570,000 claims each year at a cost
of £2 billion.
Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: "Car
insurance has not been far from the headlines for all the
wrong reasons as insurers struggled to balance premiums against
"Sharp hikes in personal injury claims, fraud and
uninsured drivers, to say nothing of last year's gender directive
and changing regulations, have all helped to pile on the pounds,"
Consumers can get online quotes for the income their
pension will provide for them in retirement, taking into account
their health and lifestyle.
Fully online service, free of charge to use, but help is available
to guide through medical screens if required.
Single or joint annuities available.
Enhanced annuities can increase retirement income by up to 160+ per cent
Every quote is fully underwritten covering over 3100 medical
Annuities quoted are payable monthly in advance as opposed to in
Annuity rates are monitored from initial quote to retirement
Annuities available from pension pots of £1,000 (minimum is usually
£5,000) - average is £28,000
Help available to complete application paperwork and ensure medical
disclosures are accurate and as complete as possible for those
wishing to proceed.
+ see notes to editors
www.payingtoomuch.com, the independent
comparison website, has launched a fully online, personalised,
consumer annuity quote calculator for retirement incomes
(annuities), which factors in an individual's health and lifestyle
(like smoking and being overweight), taking into consideration over
3100 medical conditions. The service shows individuals approaching
retirement the best annuity income they could receive from a panel
of different insurance companies which could increase their
retirement income by up to 160+
payingtoomuch aims to underwrite every individual as
experience shows many people believe they are perfectly fit and
healthy, but from an underwriting point of view they may qualify
for a better quote based on conditions that are well under control
such as high blood pressure. Also, the customer's postcode
and marital status can play a part too, increasing the retirement
income for otherwise-healthy people.
To access the quotes, an individual must know the
value of their pension (or savings) pot available to purchase an
annuity which can be as low as £1,000, their planned retirement
date, whether they want a single or joint (with partner*) annuity.
They will need to provide details about their medical conditions
and answer a couple of basic lifestyle questions. Those with
medical conditions or who smoke could receive higher retirement
annuities as their life expectancy is lower, so it is important to
The payingtoomuch annuity journey asks about height,
weight, smoking status and alcohol consumption, and for individuals
to consider whether they have suffered from any of the major
medical conditions, before offering the customer an annuity result
of any kind.
Multiple personalised quotes are produced showing the
best retirement incomes for a level paying annuity, an annuity
linking income payments to the RPI, and an income with a guaranteed
payment period after death. These quotes are guaranteed# for a limited period of time and
once a customer proceeds to the application stage the payingtoomuch
team deals with all the paperwork to make the process as simple as
possible for them.
payingtoomuch offer a non-advised service and cap
their commissions at 2.25% (lower at 1.35% where there are no
medical conditions) with an absolute monetary limit of
£1,600. This compares to a maximum commission charge of 3.5%
charged by some firms.
Ali Richards, payingtoomuch's Head of Annuitiessaid,
"Our experience from travel insurance shows that customers that
take (for example) a tablet for high blood pressure don't think
they're ill. Yet our research shows that for travel insurance
there's about a 30 per cent under-disclosure rate.
"Paying annuities monthly in advance makes them
fractionally lower on paper but it means there is no delay in the
first payment which is what most people want. By our
calculations an individual may need to claim the pension for up to
20 years before they become worse off than taking an annuity
payable monthly in arrears which may appear fractionally better but
obviously starts a month after the plan is set up."
For most individuals getting a quote this will be
their first port of call, and they may be weeks, if not months,
from retirement. Because annuity rates can change in the
period from quote stage to a customer's retirement date,
payingtoomuch re-calculates each quote between the initial quote
date and the stated retirement date and communicates changes by
email which includes charting of the annuity changes over that
time. This is done monthly, then weekly then daily in the
run-up to retirement and helps the individual manage their way into
If an individual wishes to proceed, payingtoomuch
will allocate a personal representative to handle the
administration and to ensure everything runs smoothly. This
will include assistance in completing the application paperwork and
ensuring the medical disclosures are as accurate and complete as
Ali Richards, continued, "Selecting a retirement
income is a very important decision that affects the rest of your
life. Once the annuity has started the benefits cannot be changed.
Yet surprisingly people are more reluctant to shop around than they
are for their insurances.
"Our new calculator makes annuity comparison much
simpler as it can all be done online from start to finish without
the need to speak to anyone, including consideration of medical
conditions. For someone who is fit and healthy, getting the quotes
could only take 2 minutes. For someone with medical conditions it
could take longer depending on the complexity of the details being
"Too many people lose out financially by significant
amounts when they retire, simply because they accept the annuity
offered by their current insurance company. They don't bother to
check if they can get a better deal elsewhere, which they usually
"Our personal representatives can also help guide
consumers though the medical question screens if needed, which can
potentially increase their annuity rate further. Our staff
are trained and experienced in gathering details about the various
conditions and medications which the insurers need to know
The average individual pension pot in the UK is
£28,000 providing few alternatives to purchasing an annuity.
John Pollock, CEO for Legal & General's
Protection and Annuities businessessaid, "As a leading annuity
provider and a very customer focused organisation, we understand
just how important it is that people are aware of all the annuity
options available to them. I was very impressed with the
transparency of payingtoomuch's user friendly annuity service.
Customers are able to easily check the annuity options and income
available for their personal circumstances, which is what people
need when making this life-time decision."
Philip Brown Head of Retirement Propositions at
LV=said, "I see this as a great opportunity to work with Mike Ward
who has a proven track record of designing consumer friendly online
journeys. This new service coincides with the launch of payingtoomuch.com's 'Find an Adviser' service
which enables those customers who do want advice, something that
LV= advocates when retirement decisions are being taken, to find a
qualified adviser close to their home to assist them.
Paul Yates, Product Development Director, Avelosaid
"The payingtoomuch annuity looks to be a class leading customer
journey, geared to delivering great client outcomes."
* 'partner' includes married or unmarried including
same sex couples, and financially dependent children.
+ a table of
medical conditions and possible annuity improvements is
# most providers
guarantee their quotes for a minimum of 14 days, but sometimes
certain medical conditions require further underwriting.
Where this is the case, the payingtoomuch team of Annuity
Specialists will liaise with the providers to ensure that the best
rates are secured for the customer.
"People assume that once they get to age 60 or 65,
the price they have to pay for their travel insurance will sky
rocket and they will need specialist insurance.
But most insurance companies don't actually start
adding an 'age rating' until over 70, and even then, if you are in
good health, the rating itself is usually much lower than
expected," says travel insurance expert, Beth Macer from payingtoomuch.com.
"The most important thing to bear in mind with travel
insurance for the over 70s, is that you may have to pay a slightly
higher excess on your policy. This is unfortunately the case with
most insurance companies, so always make sure you read the small
print before purchasing so you are aware of any costs you may have
Note: There are some insurance companies that won't
offer cover to people over 70, however payingtoomuch.com, can provide travel
insurance to people, regardless of age.
For more information just call our travel team on
Well with all this snow
aroundits easy to understand why many people may now be considering
a last minute break for some sunshine over Easter.
Anyway, It's not only last minute holidays that come
at reduced prices for travellers, but also 'last minute' travel
The closer you get to your departure date, usually,
the cheaper the premiums become, as there is less chance of you
having to claim on the cancellation element of the policy.
So if you're planning a last minute trip, then check out last
minute travel insurance - we can even cover you on the day you are
due to travel, as the documentation can be sent immediately via