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Want to chat? We’re right here.

August 21st, 2014

Want to chat? We’re right here.

Want to chat? We’re right here

Want to chat? We’re right here

Getting a quote for your travel insurance is, on the whole, a pretty easy and simple thing to do. However, there can sometimes be complications, especially if you want to take part in an obscure activity, have medical problems of a specific nature or have complicated travel plans.

That’s when our customers find that it’s easier and quicker to get the results they want by picking up the phone. Our customer service team are available from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5.30pm and between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays. We are also able to answer any queries by email. However, possibly the quickest way to get help is with our new Live Chat feature on our website.

Live Chat makes it even easier

Live Chat is operational during office hours at the moment but we hope to extend the time in due course. It enables you to ‘talk’ to one of our team at any point during your quotation process if there is something you are stuck on. It’ll save you a phone call and is the easiest was to get in touch with us quickly – most of our standard enquiries can be sorted out this way.

How to use Live Chat

It’s very easy. The Live Chat box appears on most of our website pages. All you have to do is click on the button and someone will help you straight away. To ask a question you simply type it in the box, hit enter and wait for the reply. It’s quick and easy.

Using Live Chat if you are in the middle of getting a quote

This is easy too. Live Chat is also available on the secure site so if you get stuck at any point during the process of getting a quote, retrieving a quote or amending a quote, we can help. Just click on Live Chat. We’ll be able to help you straight away.

Got a problem you need help with? Try Live Chat now.

 

There may be trouble ahead. Consular hot spots around the world.

August 18th, 2014

Millions of us travel overseas every year. We travel the world to work, see the sights and relax on our precious time off. The majority of trips – by a long, long way – are trouble free. But sometimes things go wrong. That’s when the FCO’s consular staff step in to help out where they can. While they can’t provide cash, pay hospital fees or bake a cake with a file in it, they can and do provide lots of valuable assistance to thousands of British citizens every year. In fact, according to the recently published British Behaviour Abroad Report, which the FCO publishes every year, between April 2013 and March 2014 British consular staff assisted more than 17,000 British nationals worldwide.

How these numbers break down can be seen in the interactive map below. It shows the type of help required country by country and region by region – so it’s easy to see where the trouble hot spots are.

Happily the number of hospitalisations has fallen to a five year low and the number of cases involving rape or sexual assault has also reduced.

However the message from the FCO remains the same:

  •  Get comprehensive travel insurance
  •  Check health requirements of the country you are visiting
  •  Research your destination so you won’t end up falling foul of local customs or laws.

Should you let it guide your travel plans?

We think this map makes very interesting reading. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. If you were considering using the map to guide you in your plans then you might want to think again. What it doesn’t show is the numbers of British nationals travelling in the first place. So at first glance you might think that Spain was the world’s most dangerous country to travel in. Yes, the numbers are high but the numbers of British citizens travelling there is higher than anywhere else in the world, apart from the US. It may be that the proportion of people travelling who require assistance is one of the lowest in the world. Again, before you panic and change your plans, do your research!

 

And get a good travel insurance policy.

 

 

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

August 15th, 2014

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

The news is full of stories about the Ebola virus. With 50 – 60% of infected people dying from the disease, no known cure or treatment and emergency measures taken by governments and airlines, the prospect of the disease spreading from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Europe is frightening indeed.

The situation seems to be getting worse too, with over 1000 people now confirmed dead from the virus. British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 August 2014 “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries” and the World Health Organisation has declared it a ‘global health emergency’.

But is it really that bad? What is the risk to us?

We did a little reading to find out if we should be worried.

 

What is Ebola? Why is it so dangerous?

Ebola virus disease is a viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF). There is no vaccine or cure.

The incubation period is between two and 21 days.

Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches and weakness. As the infection progresses, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, shortness of breath, confusion and haemorrhage can occur. This can lead to multi-organ failure, shock and death.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola is not an airborne disease. Most human infections result from direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions from an infected human. Ebola has also been reported following contact with the tissues of infected animals such as non-human primates and bats.

Where is Ebola coming from?

Sierra Leone is considered to be the epicentre of the epidemic as it has reported the largest number of new cases.  As of 27 July, the cumulative total number of cases in the country was 533 (473 confirmed, 38 probable and 22 suspected), and 233 deaths (figures from National Travel Health Network and Centre).

If you are booked to go to Africa, should you be worried?

It depends on where you are going, but more than likely, no. Africa is a huge continent. The US, China, Eastern Europe, Japan, India and the UK and could fit within its land mass. That is huge.

As Ebola is not airborne you would have to be in direct contact with an infected person or eat infected bush meat (such as bat or primate) to catch it, so the chances of being infected in South Africa or Morocco (for example) if you observed the safety precautions below, are extremely remote.

However, if you are due to fly to Nigeria (which has declared a state of emergency in the past few days), Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia then your risk is higher, even though the risk is still considered as VERY LOW by Public Health England. The exception would be people engaged in humanitarian activities where there is direct contact with infected people.

Where do you stand with travel insurance?

As travel insurers we take our advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and will only insure you for travel to places where the FCO does not advise against all travel or all but essential travel. Also, cancellation cover does not include the fear of pandemic or infection and, unfortunately, will not cover any changes in the FCO advisories, even if it comes after you have booked and before you travel.

What if you decide to cancel your trip?

If you decided to travel to a country against the advice of the FCO you will not be insured.

However, currently there are no Ebola-based advisories (14th August), only those that refer to general safety, terrorism or conflict. Whilst these still apply, there is nothing to stop anyone travelling to other parts of affected countries.

The FCO only says “Following an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia British nationals should carefully assess the need to travel to these countries, and if travelling to them, should ensure that they have adequate arrangements in place for onward travel/exit and have adequate emergency health provision.”

What if you have already booked a trip?

If you booked a ticket or holiday to a country with Ebola or a country nearby that the FCO considers ‘safe’ (no advisories against travel) then you would not be insured for cancellation if you decided not to travel as it would be considered to be ‘a disinclination’ to travel.

What can you do to keep safe?

The following precautions are recommended by The National Travel Health Network and Centre for traveller heading for areas with on-going cases:

  • Avoid contact with symptomatic patients and their bodily fluids
  • Avoid contact with corpses and/or bodily fluids from deceased patients.
  • Avoid close contact with live or dead wild animals (including monkeys, forest antelopes, rodents and bats)
  • Avoid consumption of “bush meat”
  • Wash and peel fruits and vegetables before consumption
  • Practise safe sex
  • Follow strict hand washing routines.

What if you think you may have been exposed to Ebola?

The National Travel Health Network and Centre says “Travellers who have been potentially exposed to Ebola virus should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any symptoms consistent with Ebola within the first 21 days of return to the UK.”

 

How to use your EHIC in Spain.

August 13th, 2014

How to use your EHIC in Spain.

Going to Spain this summer? If you don’t want to be ‘redder than a Spanish tomato’, you might want to watch this video. It has been jointly produced by the Department of Health and the British Embassy, Madrid to explain how to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Spain. And it’s a cracker!

But before you have a chuckle to yourself, it’s worth remembering the message. And that is that your EHIC is one of your holiday essentials. Knowing how to use it properly could save you big bills if you need urgent medical attention when you are away. Your EHIC is your passport to the public healthcare system in Spain, but it cannot be used in private clinics or hospitals and will not pay for other expenses, such as being airlifted home or private ambulances.

So while the EHIC could save you a small fortune if you fall asleep in the sun and end up redder than a Spanish tomato (or need any other kind of urgent medical treatment) it does not replace your travel insurance.

For further information, please visit www.healthcareinspain.eu.

Enjoy.

If you’re going to party, do it like you never took out that travel insurance policy!

July 21st, 2014
If you're going to party, do it like you never took out that travel insurance policy!

If you’re going to party, do it like you never took out that travel insurance policy!

We all love a drink on our holidays. A glass of wine to relax after a tough day on the sun lounger or a refreshing G & T in the bar before dinner? There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, for many of us, enjoying alcohol is an essential part of our holiday experience. We sample new things, we see new places, we try a cocktail we’ve never had before.

However, the trouble comes when it goes too far. Last year the FCO published some research that suggested that almost a quarter (23%) of young British holidaymakers have gone swimming while drunk on holiday abroad and over a quarter (26%) have done something while drunk on holiday that they were ashamed of.

Oh dear. The fact remains that drinking can impair your judgement and the after effects can last far longer than the hangover. Getting arrested or hospitalised can cause a lot more emotional trouble than you might think. And it may cost a lot more too – even if you have got travel insurance. Read the rest of this entry »

Been refused medical travel cover? Come back to us.

July 11th, 2014
Been refused medical travel cover? Come back to us.

Been refused medical travel cover? Come back to us.

We don’t like to admit it but, from time to time, we have to let our customers down by not being able to offer them cover for their disabilities, age or medical condition. We don’t like doing it for obvious reasons – and we certainly don’t want any of our customers to go travelling without adequate cover – but sometimes we have to say no.

Until now. Read the rest of this entry »

New US security measures. Where you stand if your laptop won’t power up.

July 10th, 2014
New US security measures. Where you stand if your laptop won’t power up.

New US security measures. Where you stand if your laptop won’t power up.

We love gadgets. But now, if you are travelling to the USA from Heathrow or Manchester (and other long haul airport hubs around the world) with electronic gadgets you will be required to switch them on at airport security or face having them confiscated. Any gadgets that cannot power up on their own will not be permitted on board and you may also be subject to additional security screening. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t let your medical condition spoil your summer

July 9th, 2014
Don’t let your medical condition spoil your summer

Don’t let your medical condition spoil your summer

 

It’s not often we go snooping around. But with the summer holidays coming up fast and lots of people looking to get away, we thought it’d be interesting to do a little mystery shopping. We know – from what our customers tell us – that finding travel insurance to cover medical conditions can sometimes be a painful and expensive business. In some cases quotes have been so high that it has made travel impossible. In others companies have flatly refused to cover some conditions.

One recent reviewer on Trustpilot said “My wife and I are both aged 58 and in the recent past have been seriously ill with cancers (more than one) and a heart attack. Some Insurers have refused to insure us and others are extortionate. World First Travel was the first insurers that gave us worldwide cover for a very reasonable price.”

We’re happy that, for them, we were able to make it possible for them to travel knowing they had the back up of a good quality travel insurance product behind them. But what about others? Read the rest of this entry »

The nitty gritty: the World First travel insurance survey

July 1st, 2014

The World First travel insurance survey

The World First travel insurance survey

The World First travel insurance survey

Earlier this year we asked you about your travel and travel insurance habits. We got 584 replies to our online survey, which is a significant selection. Please let us say thanks again for taking part.

We have already published a few details but now it’s time to furnish you with the nitty gritty.  Are you ready? Read the rest of this entry »

Last Minute travel cover for last minute bargains

June 27th, 2014
last minute travel insurance

last minute travel insurance

Oh the thrill of the chase, eh?

There’s nothing like being open minded with your holiday plans and booking at the last minute. The satisfaction of knowing that you’ll be sun-bound very soon – and at a fraction of the cost – is enough of a reward for a few hours spent trawling the internet.

Holiday companies tell us that more and more people are looking online for last minute deals, so if you don’t mind the searching and the comparisons then you deserve to bag a bumper time at bumper prices. Just don’t tell the people in the next apartment how much you paid for your week in the sun! Read the rest of this entry »

Rothwell & Towler Tourism House Woodwater Park
Pynes Hill Exeter EX2 5WS

World First is a trading name of Rothwell & Towler (2013) Ltd and is an appointed representative of Crispin Speers & Partners Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA register number 311507. Travel insurance premiums and availability of cover may vary depending on individual circumstances. If you are a consumer insured (i.e. a person buying insurance wholly or mainly for personal purposes unrelated to your employment), you have a duty to take reasonable care to answer questions fully and accurately, and that any information you volunteer is not misleading. This duty exists before the cover is placed, when renewed, or altered at any time throughout the duration of the policy. If you do not do so, your Insurer may be able to void your policy from inception. Rothwell & Towler (2013) Ltd, Registered in England No. 08294942. Registered Office: St Clare House, 30-33 Minories, London EC3N 1PE.

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