A beach holiday is something we all dream of – a time of relaxation and carefree fun – just like the pictures in the holiday brochures.
See yourself there now… relaxing on a sun-kissed, white sand, tropical beach, sipping an icy drink through a straw, while palm fronds sway gently in the breeze… Later, as the sun sets, the hypnotic rhythm of a native steel band summons you along the shore, where the love of your life and more rum punches await…
Screech… Sorry, but a nasty jolt back to reality – and some words of caution. If you plan on activities like snorkeling, windsurfing or sailing think twice before ordering another cold cerveza – or cocktail with a funny name; you know the ones – they look like fruit juice, with a pretty umbrella. Those on Hen and Stag trips should pay particular attention because the majority of holidaymakers have no idea that travel insurance is unlikely to cover claims when intoxication is found to be a factor! Sorry to spoil the fantasy, but it’s a sobering fact from the real world… Remember that?
Travel insurance covers many aspects of a holiday, but does not provide an excuse to act irresponsibly. All policies have exclusions regarding ‘willful exposure to peril’ but who bothers to read the boring insurance jargon? Basically it means the insured is expected to do everything possible to prevent injury, illness, and damage or loss to property. In other words – to act as if there is no insurance!
Don’t jump at the cheapest quote on that online comparison site. Check the levels of cover – especially medical expenses and hospital benefit. In countries like the USA medical costs can be mind-boggling, so be especially careful if heading for places like Miami or Malibu. Emergency medical repatriation is another essential which may be missing from that cheap policy. It’s worth paying a bit more to make sure the cover is adequate.
Do you understand the meaning of ‘incidental’ basis?
Going snorkeling or on a helicopter sightseeing trip, for example, is normally covered on an ‘incidental’ (casual) basis. The difference is that going on a sailing holiday would be ‘non-incidental’ because the main purpose of the trip is sailing.
Are your planned activities covered?
Activities like wind surfing, deep sea fishing, banana boating and parascending are normally covered on an incidental basis. Kayaking and scuba diving cover may depend on the grade or depth.
Rented water sports equipment may not be well maintained or up to a safe standard, plus the operators may not be licensed or insured – so personal liability can be an issue. Travel insurance policies do not normally cover personal liability claims arising from use of any vehicle, watercraft, or mechanically propelled conveyance – which includes jet skis. An example would be renting water-ski equipment and an accident caused breakage of the equipment or, worse, injury to third parties. One more word of caution… Without travel insurance it is the responsibility of the family of an injured or deceased person to pay the medical expenses and arrange repatriation of the injured – or the body. Who would want to put their loved ones through that?
What else can you do to avoid trouble? Find out about potentially unfriendly sea life at your destination. There are hazards like jellyfish, which could deliver a painful or even deadly sting, so learn to spot them before they make contact. Sea critters like stingrays may hide in the sand and attack it you tread on them so invest in a pair of beach shoes to wear in the surf. Take care with food and drink to avoid the Tourist Two Step, Delhi Belly, Montezuma’s Revenge, Casablanca Crud – or worse.
With a bit of thought and preparation nothing should spoil those long, lazy, happy, sun-filled days at the beach. Choose your travel insurance wisely, whether it be single trip, annual multi-trip, or a backpacker policy (cheaper because of reduced cover for luggage). Pack an ounce of common sense along with the beach towels and sunscreen, go easy with the rum punches, and your holiday should turn out exactly like the one in the glossy holiday brochure!