The definition of insurance according to google is as follows:
- an arrangement by which a company undertakes to provide a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a specified premium
I suppose that statement sums up why we take it out – fear of what could or may happen if we don’t have the correct cover. Its true to say that you only find out how good your cover is when you make a claim. Having done exactly that in the 1st 3 months of our travels we found out that our motorhome insurers were excellent and truly went above and beyond when we made a claim, however our original travel insurers a company called Holiday Safe would not cover our claim due to the fact that our bag containing some of our valuables was taken from a beach, even though we were sat with it at the time (needless to say we don’t use them anymore). With more and more people posting on groups and forums about who to use for insurance purposes, below are details of who we use and an idea of what we pay per annum.
Motorhome and Breakdown Insurance
We use Safeguard for our vehicle cover which also includes European Breakdown Cover. Their policy covers us for 365 days travel in Europe and even includes Morocco (which they issue a green card for). For the breakdown cover they tie in with The AA. Although Safeguard and their underwriter Alianz were excellent when our keys were stolen along with our bag whilst in Spain last year( unfortunately although we had a spare key it hadn’t been coded to our vehicle), the AA’s overseas service left us wanting! Their communication was somewhat lacking, but at least we were covered. Note though that although motorhome insurance covers your vehicle , it only covers items such as bedding, saucepans etc inside the vehicle (personally I’ve never heard of anyone being broken into that’s had their saucepans stolen). Joking aside if your broken into and valuables are taken you will not be covered by this policy. We paid £543 for 12 months cover this year.
Some would argue that with your EHIC covers you in Europe and yes to a degree it does as far as emergency health cover is concerned. It doesn’t cover things like repatriation in event of serious illness, accident or death though, so we felt additional cover would give us peace of mind. We also wanted cover for our valuables should they be lost or stolen. We’d made the decision to switch insurers this year due to the fact that our previous insurer Holiday Safe had not paid out for our phone, cash etc that was stolen when our bag was taken in Spain last year. What we didn’t consider was that we’d already left the UK by the time our insurance expired and most insurers won’t touch you if you’re trip has already started. Our options therefore were very limited, but we found a company called True Traveller who were willing to cover us (for a price). Their cover also includes Morocco as part of their EU policy. The cost though was rather high at just short of £451 for a year!
Top Tip: Ensure you have insurance in place before your trip commences and then extend that policy rather than try and take out a new policy once overseas.
If you’re travelling in Europe don’t forget to apply for your free EHIC which gives members of the EU reciprical health care in fellow member states. Obviously this may only apply until after Brexit (time will tell), but until then is essential and free.
Top Tip: If you need prescription medicines whilst away for extended periods (doctors will only issue 3 months max) just take a copy of your prescription to any pharmacy as you will be able to pay for them over the counter whilst away.
Having heard of lots of bike thefts and having invested in Electric bikes we thought it prudent to get them insured. Our insurer Cyclesure through Butterworth Spengler Insurance Group covers us for accidents as well as the bikes being stolen, but they did insist as part of their T’s & C’s that we have a Gold Rated bike lock. This policy also covers the bikes for 365 days in Europe. The cost of this was £85.
ACSI Camping Card
The ACSI camping card scheme gives the user discounted access to campsites out of peak season (this generally means anytime but July & August). The cost can vary from €11-€19 a night including electric for a pitch. The sites can vary and its not a guarantee of quality, but in our experience the majority of the sites we’ve been on have been more than acceptable for the price. You have a card that you present to obtain the discount and a book which details which sites are in the scheme. There are also hundreds more ACSI inspected sites which although are not included in the scheme will often give additional discount for card holders (if you ask) even in high season. Note the card is valid for one calendar year 1st Jan – 31st Dec which makes it a little awkward to renew if you’re already away in winter! We had my Mum post ours on to a campsite last year, but unfortunately it didn’t arrive before we left so we ended up buying a second one and giving our original one away. The cost is around £15 so this pays for itself within a couple of nights.
Top Tip: often sites will give better rates for long term stays in winter so if you’re staying in one place for a while ask for their rate before presenting your ACSI card.
ACSI Club ID
Although not strictly necessary this card can be used as ID instead of your passport so it saves having to dig your passports out or even worse leave them with reception (which we never like to do). At €4.95 its worth having.
To make it easier whilst out of the country we have bought all our properties under one policy with Just Landlords. This means they now run concurrently so we are not having to think about when they all renew. We just have one date for all properties. They were a little more expensive than our previous insurer, but anything for an easy life!
Homecare and Homeserve
We also take out Plumbing, Drainage, Electrics and Central Heating cover on our buy to lets which gives both us and our tenants peace of mind. Last winter they were called out 5 times by tenants which saved us both hassle and money!