Travel insurance can be quite flexible, covering you for every eventuality imaginable, or just for the barest minimum. One thing for sure though, if you travel you must have it.
One decision to make before anything else is whether to buy a single trip policy or an annual policy which covers you for multiple trips a year. The latter could pay for itself if you hop over to Europe just three times in the year. It's easy. Once a year you arrange cover and then you do not have to think about it every time you go away.
If you are lucky enough to be able to decide on a weekend in Paris on the spur of the moment, and maybe another in Madrid six weeks later, you should definitely go for an annual policy.
Then the next question: are you just going to Europe, or further afield, like to the States or the other side of the world? The price for Europe only will be a lot cheaper.
Whichever you choose, check the policy details carefully so you know what exactly you are covered for, and what is excluded. And whether they replace lost belongings on a 'new for old' basis.
You are usually covered for loss or theft of luggage and personal possessions. But check the limit and make sure you are covered for 1,500 pounds at least. You may be surprised at the cost of replacing everything in your suitcase, not to mention the case itself.
Travel insurance usually limits cover for the amount of cash stolen so check the policy. And not that travellers' cheques are often regarded as cash under their terms.
On top of that, consider covering specific items like photographic equipment or jewellry for example. You can put a value of between 200 and 500 pounds on those sorts of things.
One thing that is easy to break or to lose altogether on holiday is your specs, or your brand new sunglasses. Make certain the full cost, bar the policy excess, is claimable if necessary.
But above all else, travel insurance gives you peace of mind in the event of a medical problem or emergency. Be upfront with the insurer if you have any existing medical conditions which might preclude you from taking out the policy. There are insurers around which will cover certain medical problems.
As regards healthcare in Europe, if you have the new European Health Insurance Card, which took the place of the E 111, you might have your excess waived if you need treatment whilst over there.
It's really annoying if you have to cancel or cut short a holiday due to illness, or the death of a close family member. The right travel insurance policy will help soften the blow by paying compensation if that happens.
Last but not least, most travel agents will offer you travel insurance when you are signing up for one of their deals. It will very likely cost a lot more than some of the deals you can find on the internet, so decline politely and shop around.