Travel insurance is not just for when you travel
Buying travel insurance at the time of booking your holiday or experience means that you’re covered straight away for any instances that result in you having to cancel your trip before you travel. This should mean that you’ll be able to recover your holiday costs minus any excess if you have to cancel your holiday for certain reasons outside of your control. You have to check the policy terms.
Please note that your tour operator is not obliged to refund you if you cancel for personal reasons. Most tour operators will make every effort to be flexible but ultimately they are within their rights to refer you to claim on your travel insurance.
Choose the right policy for your particular holiday needs
There are specialist types of travel insurance that cover active holidays. We’re all aware of winter sports cover but cycling, running and triathlon also need specialist cover. If you are planning to take part in a trail running event above a certain altitude for example, you need to check that you are covered.
Cover your gear
Most regular policies only provide limited cover for things like bikes so it’s worth considering the value of all the gear that you’re taking and check if you’ll need extra insurance to cover these.
Typically your home contents insurance only covers you for when your bike is stolen from your property but there’s a limit unless you especially declare a high value bike. If your bike is stolen or damaged while away from your property, you’re highly unlikely to be covered by a standard home insurance policy. Even if it is, again you probably have to declare the value of the bike in advance. Typically, the higher the value, the higher the premium.
It’s likely that as a keen cyclist, you have an expensive bike (or several bikes). In this case it may be good to take out specialist bicycle insurance. If you ride your bicycle competitively which is the case on events like the Marmotte, Etape du Tour or the Haute Route, you may also want to consider specialist bike insurance. Specialist cycle insurance policies usually cover theft or damage while the bike is stationary, damaged or for personal injury while riding and cover for accessories as standard. Some offer some additions like reimbursing race fees if you can’t compete, taxi costs in the event of an accident, and providing liability insurance if you cause an accident and injure someone. Some hybrid policies are also available where insurers offer combined policies designed for cyclists that cover their bike and include contents insurance for their home.
Flying with a bike
If you fly with a bike, airlines have limited liability in case they lose or damage your bike. This is usually limited to $2000 unless you declare the value in advance and pay extra. Take out insurance to cover for this.
Some insurances also cover you for rented equipment like renting a bike for an event. Renting a bike locally is a practical way to avoid the hassle of travelling with a bike.
If you travel against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) it’s likely you’ll invalidate your policy – unless you’ve bought cover that specifically allows travel against this advice. To be sure, check the DFAT or Smartraveller advice closely and the fine detail of what your policy will cover.
Make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you apply as your cover could be void. This could even happen when you try to claim for something unrelated.