travel insurance switzerland tips

Travel Insurance in Switzerland: Helpful Tips

Tips and advice for getting the travel insurance coverage you need.

In Switzerland, travel insurance is usually divided into two main categories: Trip cancellation insurance and assistance ("trip interruption") travel insurance.

Trip cancellation insurance protects your travel investments (such as flight or hotel bookings) when major unexpected incidents force you to cancel or postpone a trip. Assistance ("trip interruption") travel insurance, on the other hand, covers incidents that occur during a trip.

Many insurance companies bundle trip cancellation coverage and assistance travel insurance in a single package. But some insurers provide these as individual policies.

Insurers may include additional insurance coverages in a bundled travel insurance policy, or offer them as optional riders for a marked up premium. This might include coverage for legal costs incurred while abroad, emergency roadside assistance, coverage for healthcare costs or luggage insurance.

Travel insurance tips:

  1. Trip cancellation insurance only covers you until you begin your trip. If you want to be covered against incidents that occur at your destination or throughout your trip, you will need assistance travel insurance.
  2. A difference is normally made between an individual and a family (multi-person policies). Discounts are often available to young individuals. These discounts are automatically included in the results of the travel insurance comparison tool.
  3. Travel insurance policies normally cover you worldwide. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some policies limit coverage to Europe or to specific countries. Make sure that all countries you may pass through over the course of your travel are covered by a policy before you sign up.
  4. Typically, travel insurance also covers you when you travel within Switzerland (on a weekend trip, for example). However, there are limitations. Baloise travel insurance, for example, only covers travel to destinations which are more than 50 kilometers from your place of residence.
  5. Conventional travel insurance policies come with 1-year terms. Because of this, it isn’t usually worth taking out a policy just to cover a short or low-cost trip. Short-term, single-trip travel insurance policies are available, and are often a better fit for an occasional trip. The rule of thumb: An annual travel insurance policy can pay off when you travel at least twice per year.
  6. If you travel with friends: Before you travel, check with your insurer to make sure that all of you will be covered in the event that something happens to one of you (unexpected illness, for example).
  7. Discounts are often available for multi-year policies. However, getting a multiple year policy is only recommendable if you are absolutely sure that you are going to travel frequently over the full insurance term. If not, sticking to annual policies gives you the flexibility to drop the policy if your situation changes.
  8. Normally, travel insurance policies are automatically extended for another term if you don’t give notice at least 3 months ahead of the policy’s end-date. If you want to terminate your policy, make sure to give notice early enough.
  9. It is absolutely crucial that you report any covered incidents to your insurer as promptly as possible. This can be done through the 24/7 hotline which all insurers provide. If you fail to report an incident soon enough, you may not get the benefit. Also make sure to file police reports in the event of theft or other applicable incidents. This will provide you with evidence of the incident in the event that you have to prove your case to your insurer.
  10. Make sure you understand that incidents resulting from pre-existing conditions which you already know about normally will not be covered by your travel insurance provider. This includes trip cancellations or interruptions due to the sudden worsening of a longstanding health problem, or in many cases even complications due to pregnancy. Having a doctor perform a full health examination ahead of your trip, proving that you are fit to travel, can help you prove your case should a health-related incident occur.
  11. Don’t wait until the last minute to get travel insurance. If you aren’t sure at what point in time a travel insurance policy will take effect, then make sure to check. If a policy only takes effect on the first day of the following month, for example, you may find yourself traveling without insurance coverage. Refer to the terms and conditions of a policy rather than the insurance broker.
  12. There are major differences in the benefits and coverage provided by different travel insurance policies. The unbiased travel insurance comparison lets you compare these.
  13. Make sure to review the actual hazards covered by your current trip cancellation and comprehensive travel insurance policies. For example, you may be surprised to know that many travel insurance policies do not insure incidents resulting from earthquakes and volcanic activity.
  14. Decide which supplemental insurance coverage you need ahead of time. Many insurance companies provide discounted premiums when you exclude certain types of coverage (luggage insurance, for example).
  15. Avoid getting overlapping insurance as much as possible. Household insurance, legal insurance and health insurance policies often provide coverages which are similar to what you get with travel insurance policies. This is especially true in the case of optional travel insurance coverages like luggage insurance (may be covered by household insurance), legal coverage, repatriation and healthcare costs (these may be covered by your health insurance policies). If you need trip cancellation and interruption insurance or certain other basic travel insurance coverages, then a travel insurance policy is probably necessary. However, some credit cards offer many of these same basic travel insurance benefits, although the scope of the coverage is usually more limited.
  16. The differences in premiums charged by different travel insurers may not be as major as they are for some other insurance types, such as health insurance. Still, comparing premiums on can save you money.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss travel insurance now
Swiss health insurance travel coverage explained
Emergency transportation, search and rescue: how to insure yourself

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.
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