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Everything you need to know about travel insurance

Photo: PA

Sarah Turner, the deputy travel editor at the Sunday Mirror, gives us her top tips for buying travel insurance.

When you book a holiday nobody insists you have to have travel insurance but you really really should have it.

If something happens while a member of your family's away, there's no organsiation which can be contacted to ensure they took out a policy which can cause a lot of problems down the line.

When I travel I carry my insurance documents with me next to my passport which I'd either have on me or in the hotel safe so it will be easy to access

It's also really useful to have scan your passport details and insurance documents on to your phone so you can show a hospital in the event of an accident or illness.

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Another really good idea to put your insurance details and other travel documents in a shared document or set up a special family email account so all your policy details are available to your loved ones.

If you have a particular illness or condition it can be very hard getting medical insurance.

If, for example, you do have a heart condition it's really worth checking with a charity or organisation that specializes in it - they can often help pinpoint which companies will still insure you.

Some people get travel insurance free with their bank account or credit card but it's so important to really read the small print.

Check whether it covers sports activities such as surfing or skiing.

Personally I'd take out an annual policy just so you have complete peace of mind.

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Also, you always buy your travel insurance from the moment you book your holiday - don't leave it to the last minute.

If you need to cancel a holiday, due to illness or a death in the family for instance, the cancellation cover could be invaluable.

Most people who don't have an ongoing health issue, it usually works out better to take out a yearly policy for multiple trips.

Annual insurance is nearly always preferable to taking out short term insurance when it comes to price.

Finally, if you're going to Europe don't just rely on the European Health Insurance Card.

That will get you free emergency care in most situations but will not get you flown back home or repatriated if you die abroad.