Each year the RBS 6 Nations tournament sees rugby fans in their thousands don flag face paint in support of their national team and travel across Europe in hopes of a 'Grand Slam'. But comparison site Gocompare.com is urging fans to check they've got adequate cover for themselves and their vehicles before heading to the big games.
For fans venturing overseas during the 6 Nations, travel insurance and an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) should be as essential as their ticket and a rugby top.
Caroline Lloyd, travel insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "Though you might not consider a trip to watch a rugby tournament as a traditional holiday, you'll still need travel insurance. Even with an EHIC, not having travel insurance could see ill or injured rugby fans facing running up thousands of pounds in medical bills with no way to return back to the UK.
"It's recommended that you carry an EHIC with you when travelling in Europe, but it's not a substitute for travel insurance. Having an EHIC entitles you to the same emergency medical care available to nationals of the country you're visiting and may help you to access free or discounted emergency medical services whilst abroad. However, an EHIC is not a guarantee that you won't have to pay anything, and won't help you if you need medical repatriation to the UK, which can cost thousands of pounds."
It's not just medical costs that travel insurance can help with. For instance, the comparison site found that nearly all (96%) of travel insurance policies provided some form of cover in the event that your trip is cancelled/curtailed, with eight out of 10 policies (81%) willing to pay out if you suffer a delay.
For those taking cash or other belongings with them for foreign games, travel insurance could be a smart investment. In a study of 454 travel insurance policies, Gocompare.com found that nine out of 10 (88%) policies offered some form of cover for lost or stolen cash, with the majority insuring you for £100 or more and one in 10 (10%) even covering for the loss or theft of £500 worth of cash or more.
Though most insurers won't send you cash should you lose your money while on your travels, around one in 10 (12%) will advance rugby fans £500 or more to tide them over in the event of their money being lost or stolen while they're away.
Whether abroad on a rugby trip or a family holiday, one of a traveller's worst nightmares is losing their passport. Gocompare.com found that almost nine out of 10 (89%) travel insurance policies will cover the cost of passport loss as standard, with the majority (69%) of insurers paying £200 or more towards replacement costs.
For fans planning a road-trip to see the overseas matches, it could be a good idea to consider getting European breakdown cover for their vehicle. Cover can cost around £59* for an annual policy that will cover you in the UK and Europe all year round, typically covering your vehicle for trips up to 30 days at a time. The cost of taking out European breakdown cover is likely to be the cheapest option to fix your car should it break down while you're abroad, and should be less stressful, especially if you're not fluent in French or Italian.
Caroline Lloyd added: "If you're thinking of taking your car outside of the UK this February, getting European breakdown cover is a smart investment and could help ensure you're not left stranded should your car run into unexpected difficulties.
"European breakdown cover needn't be expensive and can cost as little as £59 a year*, you could even spread this cost by asking any friends you may be taking to pitch in for it as a little 'thank you' for driving. However, it's worth bearing in mind that some providers may have a cooling off period before you can make a breakdown claim, which can be as long as 14 days, so be sure to check with your breakdown provider that they will cover you for your trip before taking it out.
"Thinking about breakdown cover or travel insurance might not seem like the most fun thing to do when planning a rugby trip, but they're definitely worth considering to make sure, that should the unexpected happen, you can enjoy the rest of the competition and not be stuck on the side lines."
Notes to editors:
* Based on the mean average of the top five cheapest breakdown cover prices returned through the Gocompare.com breakdown cover comparison tool. All breakdown cover policies included, roadside, nationwide recover, onward and European breakdown cover. Total of top five premiums was £296.61, divided by five = £59.32
Travel insurance source Source: Defaqto Matrix - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial research company Defaqto data effective as of 20th January 2013