Travel insurance nightmares: will you be OK without it?

imageToday’s featured guest post was provided by Tom, representing money supermarket.

By happy co-incidence, this post is all about a trip to France, which is somewhere I’m very interested in reading about, given that I’ve just moved here. So thanks to Tom for that. Read on to find out about why travel insurance is so important for your travels.

Plenty of us will be embarking on expensive holidays to far flung places to escape the drear this Winter, and a huge number of us will also forget (or purposefully neglect) to buy travel insurance, or at least one that provides adequate cover. No matter whether it’s single trip, annual multi-trip or worldwide travel insurance we need to buy, many of us travel without it. I know because I’ve been one of those people before – and regretted it.

Fairly recently, my partner and I took a trip to France to stay in his father’s house near Le Puy-en-Velay, in a tiny, tiny little village called Saint Bonnet de Montauroux. We’d failed to do a travel insurance compare, let alone purchase any kind of insurance cover.

Due to return home from Montpellier airport, we decided that we’d spend the last night of our 10-day trip in a hotel in the city to spread the travel across a couple of days and see a few of the sights.

Granted, the hotel we ended up with was hardly salubrious (naming no names, but it begins with E, and it’s a big chain), but it was OK. It had good reviews on Trip Advisor, and I was satisfied that I wasn’t going to get mugged or horrified by the unsanitary conditions, so we booked (actually, we tried booking somewhere else first, but my French simply wasn’t good enough to do it over the phone, so we went with the backup).

Arriving there, it was in a kind of retail-park-style area, which was by no means run down. Anyway, we got there after being horrifically lost for an hour (turned out we’d actually come really close to finding the hotel on several occasions), and went straight out again for dinner, slightly stressed, but relieved to be there.

So we had a beautiful meal in La Coquille, which actually happened to be right opposite the hotel I would have liked to have gone with – the Hotel du Palais (looked beautiful and quaint, and the square we sat in for our meal was so French!).


On the left-hand side of the road, La Coquille, and on the right, Hotel du Palais

A Seabass and a medium-rare Steak and some ropey French lingo later, we went for drinks, wandering around the city’s streets between bars and just soaking up the sights on what turned out to be a gloriously balmy early-October evening.

We walked home, which took just half an hour, and were in bed by 11pm, ready to fly home the next morning. I decided to watch something on our laptop to go to sleep to, and I did just that.

The next morning, I woke up and had a shower. However. Something was amiss. Where was the laptop..? Where could the laptop possibly be? Have you got the laptop? No, I thought you’d moved it… Where could it b… WHERE’S OUR LAPTOP?!

Oh, no... So, yes, like you, we came to the conclusion it had been stolen from our room while we were sleeping. Turned out (when the hotel looked at the CCTV footage) that we hadn’t shut our door properly, and an opportunist guest, who walked past and noticed the error of our ways, went back to his room to get his friend to come down and distract reception for him.

Later, we found that he’d taken not only the laptop, but our English and French cash, my brand new and very expensive digital camera, my partners designer (and horrendously expensive) watch, and… our rental car keys (which, yes, had the registration number written on the keyring).

So all in all, that silly, silly mistake came to more than £19,000. We had no travel insurance to fall back on, and when we agreed to rent a car from our particular rental company without purchasing extra insurance cover, we signed a contract verifying that we would be liable for the entire cost of the car, should it be written off or stolen.

Oh my god.

So. While it could have been so much worse (i.e. one or both of us were injured or fell ill – then we most likely wouldn’t have been entitled to treatment), we came undone that day, simply because we were too tight to buy holiday insurance, and didn’t think anything of this sort would happen to us.

Don’t go on holiday without buying insurance, it’s really not worth saving the £20 or £50 you’d otherwise have spent on it.

Thanks to Tom and money supermarket for providing this post!

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