Author: Ciara Maher

My name is Ciara Maher I am a freelance blogger, marketing assistant and English teacher. I enjoy creating multimedia content and managing websites, and am passionate about travel and technology. I am also studying web development at Google thanks to a scholarship I received from Udacity. I am currently writing blogs for Ucompare.ie, Ireland's leading insurance comparison website. Having lived abroad, I understand the importance of travel insurance in particular as it has helped me in France and the USA.
Does Automatic Insurance Renewal Help Insurers or Consumers?

Does Automatic Insurance Renewal Help Insurers or Consumers?

If you have taken out travel insurance, automatic insurance renewal may seem like the best idea when it comes to the end of your policy. However it is important to be aware of both the pros and cons of auto-renewal, as consumers may lose out on potential savings. Here we have gathered all you need to know about automatic renewal so that you can make an informed decision. 

 The insurance renewal process is simply the easiest way for your insurance company to keep you as their customer. It also benefits insurers as they incur fewer costs than in acquiring new customers. If you are happy with the cover provided to date, or if you have not yet had any incident that required you to use your cover, you may also be just as happy for the policy to roll over. However, it can be a good idea to avoid renewing automatically and later being stung by the insurance company who refuse to help when you attempt to make a claim. 

 Although auto-renewal benefits you as the consumer by saving you some time and effort searching through the marketplace to find the best insurance policy, you will gain more benefits from having a look around each year. 

 There are quite a few key advantages to the alternative of shopping around: 

 Cheaper cover 

 While shopping around last time, you may have opted for the cheapest policy available to you. This might lead you to believing that if this was the cheapest insurance provider last year that they most likely still are. Unfortunately, this is not a given. 

 Insurance companies change their pricing structures regularly, and this adds to the general confusion around trying to find the best available insurance policy at the best price. 

 By looking around the insurance marketplace with the help of Ucompare.ie when it comes to insurance renewal time, you are sure to make the most informed decision about whether to renew your policy or not. Take a look here at how to choose the right travel insurance policy.  

 Make sure to read exactly what potential alternative policies would cover you for, as you might find that a cheaper price may be due to inferior cover. It is crucial to examine your needs on a year-to-year basis and choose the best price with sufficient cover for you accordingly. Please read our complete guide on cheap travel insurance.

 A more relevant policy 

 If you experienced a road accident during the year and discovered that your car insurance didn’t cover you for what you tried to claim for, now is your opportunity to switch to a policy with greater coverage. 

 Whether you have a new car or will be travelling on the road more this year, as soon as your situation changes your needs change too. This is why you need to reevaluate whether or not your old policy will still be relevant for you over the next 12 months. 

 As your policy comes to an end each year, it is a good idea to take this time to do a quick reassessment of your needs and ensure that your insurance policy still meets your expectations before your insurance renewal date. 

 New customer benefits 

 If you do think that you may need to change your cover, one of the best ways to make extra savings in this situation is to take full advantage of new customer discounts and benefits. These benefits are not available when you automatically renew your insurance. 

Automatic Insurance Renewal

 As the car insurance market is so highly competitive, insurers often offer new customer discounts to attract new clients. You are fully entitled to move your insurance provider and make the most of these deals. 

 Insurance Renewal protection 

 If you do decide that you are happy to renew your current policy for another year, it is important to be aware of your consumer rights. Insurers are bound by insurance renewal regulations which are in place to protect you as the consumer. 

 Firstly, you will receive a letter outlining the end date of your policy and the price for the next 12 months if you want to renew. You are entitled to be given all details of any changes being made to your policy, prior to car policy renewal to allow for reflection time.  

 If you change your mind, you are entitled to an insurance auto-renewal cooling off period of 14 days. 

 You have the right to shop around for quotes with other insurance companies and the right to decide not to renew. However, it is your responsibility as the consumer to inform the insurance company about your decision. 

 In conclusion 

 As you can see, auto-renewal helps the insurer more than the consumer in many cases. 

 When you receive a policy renewal letter from your insurer, you may find the information difficult to understand. As policies and prices are forever changing, you may be told that certain elements of your previous contract will now be changed. It can be tricky to know exactly where you stand and what your options are. 

 The most important thing to do is to not ignore this change of policy. Spend a little time reading through the changes and comparing these to alternative options from other insurance providers. Take into consideration any changes you might need to make at this time. 

 If you do decide to switch, don’t forget to inform your old insurer first. As most insurance policies are renewed automatically, you could face large cancellation fees if you try to cancel after the cut-off point. If you don’t contact the company, they will assume you are happy to renew.  

 Some consumers may opt for renewing their current policy simply as they find insurance policies complex or the idea of cancelling their current policy daunting.Using a comparison tool like Ucompare.ie can help you greatly with the task of comparing policies. You are in control of your decision and have full authority to switch at the end of your policy. 

 Ucompare.ie can help you with the task of shopping around to help you get the best value on your insurance renewal or switch. Make the most of the platform to compare your current insurer against competitors and see what savings can be made today! 

How To Choose the Best Ski Insurance for your Winter Holiday

How To Choose the Best Ski Insurance for your Winter Holiday

If you are jetting off on a ski trip this Winter, then this one’s for you: How can we be sure to select the best ski insurance when preparing for our Winter holiday?

It can definitely be quite overwhelming when you discover how many options for finding best ski insurance are available, including both cost and cover. The important thing is to evaluate your specific needs, rather than what might appear to initially be the best “deal”. If you end up opting for ski insurance that does not cover a particular incident such as theft of skiing equipment or mountain rescue, you will not find your cover very helpful should such incidents occur to you when travelling.

Here are some key tips to help you choose the best ski insurance for your trip:

 

Step 1: Choose the right location

Best Ski Insurance
Lack Of Snow At A Resort By Max Whittaker, Getty Images

Although you may need to get this part right before you start booking anything, it is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. Just because a particular ski resort is offering very cheap ski trip plans does not mean that you are guaranteed good skiing conditions or even safe conditions.For example, a ski resort may be offering excellent deals as they are struggling with a lack of snow this season, or avalanches may be foreseen which could cause slope closures and serious accidents.

Remember the old saying: if something seems too good to be true, it often is.

So do your research in advance and ensure that your chosen ski destination is expecting good and safe skiing conditions this Winter and, most importantly, that safety is taken seriously in the region.

Check out some of our favorite & best skiing destinations in Europe for some inspiration:

Tignes, France

Best Ski Insurance
Barrage de Tignes by Semonz , Wikimedia

Val Thorens, France

Best Ski Insurance
Val Thorens, France By Marc Lagneau, Flickr

Vallnord, Andorra

Best Ski Insurance
Vallnord, Andorra

Kitzbühel, Austria

Best Ski Insurance
Kitzbühel, Austria

St. Moritz, Switzerland

Best Ski Insurance
Olympiaschanze, St. Moritz, Switzerland

Step 2: Multi-trip or single-trip travel insurance?

This is an important step as considering your future needs in advance could save you money in the long run. If you foresee yourself only travelling abroad once this year for your ski vacation, then a single-trip travel policy with a Winter sports add-on will be the cheapest option. This will cover you only for the one holiday, but means you don’t need to pay for anything else beyond this trip. With this type of policy, the premium will be determined by your age, the length of your stay and the total trip costs.

Best Ski Insurance
Choose The Best Ski Insurance For You & Your Family

If you usually go on a sun holiday or other trips throughout the year, however, it would be better in the long-run to choose multi-trip travel policy with a Winter sports add-on as this could save you money. If you are a regular traveler, it is definitely a must.

Remember: you must opt for a Winter sports add-on to your basic policy, whether you opt for single or multi-trip, as sports like skiing and snowboarding come with unique risks that must be accounted for separately in the eyes of insurers. As these sports and the conditions we do them in can be quite treacherous, it is essential to be sufficiently covered against the possible risks.

Unfortunately, accidents are common on the slopes. So choosing to go for this add-on is of crucial importance when taking out an insurance policy for your ski trip.

If you already have taken out a multi-trip policy, it is not too late to opt for a Winter sports add-on, which can usually be added at a later stage after you signed up for the insurance policy.

Step 3: Examine policies thoroughly before making a decision

 As Winter sports can be so varied, it is crucial that you carefully examine insurance policies to see exactly what you would be covered for. If you plan to do a range of other activities such as off-piste skiing or snow sledging, make sure the policies you are looking at would cover such activities. Be careful as the definition of what “Winter sports” consists of can vary between different insurance providers.

Best Ski Insurance
Don’t Forget To Check What’s Covered In The Policy

Here are some other key features to look for in your ski insurance policy:

  • Does this policy cover theft or damage of rented equipment?
  • Are there any age restrictions on the policy? (Many policies will exclude those aged 65+)
  • Does this policy cover me in the event of an accident on the slopes, including air transportation if required?
  • Will the policy cover costs involved if there is no snow at my ski resort and I must move to higher slopes?
  • If you are travelling with children, will the family ski insurance cover any accidents they might have if they are skiing without you while partaking in a lesson?

Compare best ski insurance policies critically instead of just choosing the cheapest option.

Step 4: Opt for the travel insurance that fits your needs, desires and budget

Once you find a policy or a number of policies that cover you sufficiently for all activities you will be partaking in, now it is time to decide which one fits your needs, desires and budget limits. Be aware that most Winter sports insurance policies will also outline a list of exclusions, so it is important to familiarise yourself with these before choosing which insurer to go with.

Best Ski Insurance
Plan Your Budget

Also be sure to examine excess amounts on the policies you are considering. Sometimes, the excess amounts can exceed the amounts being claimed, especially when it comes to the cheapest travel insurance policies.

Another key point to bear in mind: Inform your insurer in advance of any pre-existing medical conditions. These can affect your premium and non-disclosure could leave to your claims being deemed invalid should you have any trouble on your Winter holiday.

Step 5: Enjoy your Winter sports holiday to the max!

Best Ski Insurance
Enjoy!! Happy Holidays

Congratulations! You’ve successfully finished all the hard work and can now enjoy your ski or snowboarding holiday with peace of mind. Ensure to make the most of your trip by enjoying all amenities offered in your ski resort: go skating on the ice rink, soak up the heat in the sauna and enjoy some mulled wine in the ski lodge. Enjoy your holiday and stay safe on the slopes this Winter season!

Ucompare.ie can make the process of selecting the best ski insurance option for your holiday much easier. Try it out today by comparing quotes and access some of the most comprehensive insurance policies in Ireland all at the best prices.

Get Quotes here

Best Christmas Markets In Europe

Best Christmas Markets In Europe

Did you know that the cheapest time of the year to fly is during the first two weeks of December? If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting one of the best Christmas markets Europe has to offer, it’s time to stop dreaming and make it a reality!

In between two hectic periods for travelling, Thanksgiving and Christmas, early December is the ideal time for a cheap and festive getaway. As this is a quiet period for traveling in general, you can profit from excellent accommodation prices and less crowded tourist attractions too. 

Now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are out of the way, it is time to really get into the Christmas spirit. This comes with a whole array of joyful activities: putting up the Christmas tree, watching the Toy Show, and getting stuck into some mince pies. But what if this year you were to do something extra special in the run up to the holiday season? Make this your best holiday season ever with a trip to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

In Ireland, we are blessed to live so close to all of the world’s best Christmas markets. This means we can benefit from cheap Christmas destinations which also happen to offer the best festivities to be enjoyed. 

Here are our favourite Christmas markets to visit: 

  1.  Strasbourg, France 
Best Christmas Markets Europe
Strasbourg, France. Image Courtesy: Unknown

Strasbourg was the winner of the Best Christmas Market,Europe award in 2014 and 2015 consecutively, and it is still sure to live up to all expectations. As the oldest Christmas market in Europe, dating all the way back to 1570, Strasbourg has maintained its reputation as the capital of Christmas. This spectacular event is named Christkindelsmärik, and sees 300 stalls spread out over 12 different locations all around the city of Strasbourg. As part of the celebrations, a huge number of concerts and a live Nativity scene will also bring the city of Strasbourg to life. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy at the infamous Strasbourg markets. 

When To Go: Open from 24th November 2017 until December 30th 2017.

   2. Brussels, Belgium 

Best Christmas Markets Europe
Winter Wonders, Brussels, Belgium. Image Courtesy: Unknown

Each year, Brussels hosts a 5-week long event called Winter Wonders, which sees the capital of Belgium come to life for the festive period. Aside from the traditional markets, you can also enjoy the ice rink, fun fair, and a huge range of live events. Be sure to check out the incredible sound and light show which takes place at the Grand-Place each evening from 5-10pm, every hour during the week and every 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays.

When To Go: Open from 25th November 2017 until December 31st 2017.

3. Vienna, Austria

Best Christmas Markets Europe
Vienna,  Austria. Image Courtesy: Unknown

Vienna offers a unique Christmas holiday experience as there are several different markets and Christmas villages all over the city to be enjoyed. As part of the traditional Krippenmarkt, the city transforms famous areas such as City Hall Square, Belvedere Palace and Maria-Theresien Platz into the true Austrian Christmas experience. Vienna also hosts a New Year’s market which extends until January 1st 2018. 

When To Go: Open 17th November 2017 until December 26th 2017.

    4. Cologne, Germany 

Best Christmas Markets Europe
Cologne, Germany. Image Courtesy: Imgur

Cologne’s Christmas markets are Germany’s most famous and attract millions of visitors each year. The largest market is held in downtown Cologne, but events and attractions are spread out all over the city. There are many markets to be visited; the Cathedral market, the Old Town market, Angel’s Market in the City at Neumarkt, and a Gay and Lesbian Christmas market. For more unusual handcrafted items, the market at Stadtgarten is a must-see.

When To Go: Open from 27th November until December 23rd 2017.  

     5. Prague, Czech Republic 

Best Christmas Markets Europe
Prague, Czech Republic. Image Courtesy: Unknown

The Prague Christmas markets offer a more intimate experience in comparison to some bigger markets across Europe. The two most popular markets are those at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, which are conveniently only a 5 minute walk away from each other. Prague offers a unique medieval atmosphere and traditional Czech food to be enjoyed, such as Trdelnik, a famous hot sugar-coated pastry. 

When To Go: Open from 2nd Dec 2017 until January 6th 2018.

    6. Zagreb, Croatia 

Best Christmas Markets Europe
Zagreb, Croatia: Christmas Market. Image Courtesy: Unknown

Although Croatia may not be what first comes to mind when we usually think of Christmas markets, but Zagreb has been awarded the European Best Christmas Market for the last two years running. The event named Advent is definitely not one to miss. The city will transform its main squares into a festive and cultural experience for the whole family. As Croatia doesn’t have decades of experience like markets in France or Germany, Advent in Zagreb offers a less commercialized and more authentic experience of Christmas the Croatian way. Be sure to enjoy the famous Croatian Christmas cookies!   

When To Go: Open from 2nd December until January 7th 2018.

7. Manchester, United Kingdom

Best Christmas Markets Europe
Manchester, UK, Christmas Market. Image Courtesy: Unknown

Manchester’s Christmas markets have been growing in size each year since 1999. This year, over 300 stalls will welcome people from all over the world to visit the UK’s biggest and original Christmas market. Located in the centre of Manchester City you’ll be sure to find great accommodation located within walking distance of the markets, making this an ideal Winter weekend trip destination.

When To Go: Open from 10th November 2017 until December 20th 2017.

So… Need any more convincing?

Explore the Best Christmas Markets Europe has to offer this Christmas season 2017!

 Remember, if you are looking to travel in full security and with peace of mind this winter,visit Ucompare.ie to get cheapest travel insurance quotes.  

Get Quotes here

Do I Need Winter Sports Travel Insurance?

Do I Need Winter Sports Travel Insurance?

The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder… That must surely mean that ski season is right around the corner! For all you avid skiers and snowboarders out there, Winter is an extremely expensive season for you – both with a plethora of Christmas presents to buy and your ski trip to plan. However, did you know that Winter sports travel insurance can actually be quite low-cost? By taking out an insurance policy for only a tiny percentage of your trip costs, you can save yourself a huge amount of money if you did have an unfortunate accident while skiing or snowboarding or accidentally damage or lose your equipment. 

Why do I Need Winter Sports Travel Insurance?

 Snow sports can be quite dangerous especially when it comes to even more experienced skiers and snowboarders who may venture off-piste or go for the black slopes The more risks you take, the more you are put at risk – and this can pose quite a high liability.  

 If you do have an accident while participating in snow sports, you may find yourself needing a few days or even weeks in a foreign hospital which in itself can be quite stressful, especially if you do not speak the language of the local region. You can quickly run up a huge bill for such services which may be at a much higher cost than what we are used to in Ireland.  If you have no insurance to cover you, there is no other option – you simply must pay. By having winter sports travel insurance , you are guaranteed to make big savings in terms of both cost and stress incurred. Winter sports travel insurance is an optional add-on that can be added to either a single trip or multi trip insurance policy.   

What Does Winter Sports Travel Insurance Cover?

The majority of ski insurance policies will cover all costs you are likely to incur if you injured yourself or others in an accident, are affected by robbery of equipment or piste closures 

If your ski resort is hit by an avalanche, as unfortunate as this would be, many Winter sports policies also cover lost costs in this situation. And if there is an avalanche expected to hit nearby, do not take the risk of venturing out onto the slopes as this would be extremely dangerous. 

If you cannot ski due to a lack of snow on the slopes, this will often also be covered so you can instead enjoy other activities offered near your ski resort without losing out on costs you may have already incurred such as ski equipment rentals which you cannot use. 

Winter Sports Travel Insurance

All emergency medical expenses incurred by an accident on the slopes are covered, but do not forget that you must inform your insurance company in advance if you have any medical condition. Failure to fully inform the company about your health status may lead to your policy being determined as void – so be 100% honest when taking out your insurance. 

Another important factor to consider before you go on your Winter trip is that you must follow local rules wherever you are skiing or snowboarding. Failure to do so can result in your insurance company withdrawing your cover if you do have an accident and have not respected local laws. For example, you must always wear the necessary protection such as a helmet and you will not be covered if you ski under the influence of alcohol. 

 Do’s and Dont’s

  • We all know how much fun you will have at après-ski… But do what is safest and take the ski lift back home afterwards if you are drinking! Always follow the local dos and don’ts for your pistes and follow any further advice given by your ski instructor. They know these slopes better than you and I, and so their knowledge cannot be taken for granted. 
  • Going skiing in Europe? Don’t forget your EHIC card! Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to state-provided healthcare within the EU’s 28 states and Iceland. If you do not yet have one, sign up here for free. But beware! The EHIC card will not cover many costs such as transportation, emergency mountain recovery, or many medical procedures or treatments that you may require if you are involved in a serious accident. For this reason, it is essential that you take out Winter sports cover. 

If you are going skiing or snowboarding for the first time, this will be an exciting trip! With this excitement may come some nerves or hesitation as you wonder what the experience will be like. Ensure that you enjoy your holiday to the very fullest by taking out sufficient Winter sports cover. Having a ski or snowboarding add-on to your travel insurance will allow you to enjoy your chosen activity with as little worries as possible. 

For those of you who travel several times per year and who already have an annual travel policy or are considering taking out one, opting for an annual travel insurance policy including Winter sports may be the best option. This means that you will have all the essential cover you need for sun holidays, city breaks and your ski trip. 

So whether you are going skiing or snowboarding with friends or family (for your first or fiftieth time!) make sure to get your Winter holiday insurance in advance to enjoy the slopes with complete peace of mind.

Get the best travel insurance quotes by visiting Ucompare.ie to ensure you have the best cover at the best price for your upcoming Winter sports holiday! 

Get Quotes here

Does travel insurance cover hurricanes?

Does travel insurance cover hurricanes?

As Hurricane Ophelia passes over Ireland the first question that might be coming to every traveller’s mind is does my travel insurance cover hurricanes? You may be worried about how severe weather conditions may affect you should you or your belongings get damaged while abroad or should your travel plans become disrupted.

Ophelia left 400,000 people without power and 3 people dead. The worst of the damage was seen in the South and West Coast of the country where the worst storm in Ireland in over 50 years hit hardest. Schools closed for 2 days and public transport services were cancelled. A huge number of flights in and out of Ireland were cancelled due to Ophelia, with mainly Aer Lingus, British Airways and Ryanair flights affected.

Luckily, it is not common for us to experience such extreme weather conditions in Ireland. However when travelling to areas regularly affected by hurricanes, floods or tornados, it is vital that you plan ahead to ensure you are not left stranded if your flights have been cancelled and your trip has been disrupted.

If you are already the victim of cancelled flights due to the storm, you should be provided with accommodation and meals by your airline until they can get you on the next flight provided you have travel disruption cover. However, what if you arrive safely at your destination but a hurricane will hit and be hugely disruptive to your further travel plans? This is where travel insurance can help you.

Travel insurance cover hurricanes season & becomes extremely important. Holiday destinations like Florida are particularly notorious for their extreme weather conditions. Hurricane season occurs between June and November, the period when Irish holidaymakers are most likely to take a sun holiday to places like Florida which are at risk. This means that your trip may be in total jeopardy if you do not have sufficient travel insurance to cover cancellations due to severe weather conditions.

Key tips for travelling during hurricane season:

  • Research well in advance: See if your location is at risk and if so, how high are these risks;
  • Know how to react: Don’t panic. Instead, focus on establishing whether it is safe to proceed with your trip. Your airline and insurance provider are the most important points of contact. If you are already caught up in the hurricane, focus on contacting local emergency services;
  • Contact your travel provider: Contact your airline and see if your flight will be rescheduled or if they have any advice for travellers;
  • Keep your travel insurance policy details safe and accessible: Always carry your insurance details with you when travelling abroad. For extra safety, scan and store a copy of these details online on your cloud or email them to yourself so you can access them from anywhere in the world. Your insurance provider will also normally offer an emergency contact line which you can ring for advice, and is normally located on your policy document.

What you need to know?

Be aware that you must have taken out your travel insurance policy with additional covers before a hurricane or storm has been predicted in order to be covered. Therefore it is important to keep an eye on predicted weather conditions at your destination and to plan ahead of time. If you are travelling in Summer or Autumn, don’t risk it without being covered. As soon as you book your next holiday, please make sure you have relevant travel insurance cover straight booked at the same time.

Storms and mass flooding can occur almost anywhere in Europe. For this reason we recommend everyone to take out travel insurance even if you are staying in Europe. As we have seen over the past few days alone in Ireland, thousands have had their flights cancelled in and out of Dublin airport. Although Europe is less prone to weather extremities, they do occur from time-to-time so it’s not worth taking the risk of having no cover.

However, it is even more important to ensure you will be fully covered if your destination is the East Coast of America or the Atlantic region in general. Some of the worst hit areas in recent years include Florida, Texas, Mexico, and the Caribbean, which are all popular destinations for travellers. Moreover, even if the area hit is not your final destination, your lay-over could be affected if you are travelling on international flights through the Atlantic region.

When buying travel insurance, you need to look out for additional covers like travel disruption and natural disaster as if you these covers are not included under standard policy, you need to pay additional premium for it. Tsunamis and earthquakes have caused horrific damage in recent years in places like New Zealand, the Indian Ocean and Chile. Such natural disasters will obviously put all your travel plans at risk. As a result, natural disaster cover may be required on top of the recommended flight cancellation and extreme weather travel insurance policies. While tsunamis can technically occur anywhere in the world, we usually know in advance if a city is at risk of an earthquake due to proximity to a fault line (such as the San Andreas fault in California). So do your research on your destination location to ensure you are well informed and can select the most relevant and comprehensive travel insurance for you.

Here are some of the most common situations in which you will require travel disruption and natural disaster cover:

  • There are some hurricane warnings at your destination in past;
  • Your destination has been hit by a storm, earthquake or tsunami in past;
  • Mass flooding at your departure or arrival destination means your flights have been cancelled;
  • Extreme weather conditions mean that your cruise or trip has been completely cancelled.

Having seen how travel insurance cover hurricanes and truly is essential, what about the cost? On average, a travel insurance plan covering cancelled trips and interrupted trips due to a hurricane will cost approximately 4% of your total holiday cost. This is terrific value considering that without travel insurance, you could potentially lose out on the entire cost of your trip if it has been disrupted by a hurricane.

 If you have any trips coming up or are thinking of planning your dream holiday, get the cheapest travel insurance by comparing quotes from leading Irish Insurance companies in minutes. 

 

Get Quotes here

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