Taking out travel insurance can offer you peace of mind before you go away and whilst on holiday. Having adequate cover can also ensure you are not left out of pocket should anything go wrong before or during your trip. For example, insurance services can offer you medical coverage or reimburse you for costs incurred if your trip is cancelled.
Free Spirit is a travel insurance company that could be an option for you and any travelling companions. The company offers two levels of cover: Super and Super Duper, so you can choose the cover levels that best suit you and your travelling companions.
Free Spirit’s Super Duper cover is rated 5 star by Defaqto, making it one of the highest quality travel insurance products available. You can also choose between single trip or annual multi-trip cover, which may be a better value option if you’re a frequent traveller.
The company’s policies come from specialist travel insurance provider P J Hayman, and cater for travellers of all ages. Free Spirit policies have no upper age limits, with many 90-year-old travellers and even the occasional centenarian taking out travel insurance for trips abroad!
Additionally, Free Spirit covers most medical conditions. The company is often there for those who have been declined cover elsewhere, and it can even consider covering you if you have life-impairing or terminal conditions. Free Spirit can offer cover for 98% of medical quotation requests and often works closely with their underwriters to offer cover for severe cases, too.
Plus, it provides online medical screening, instant quotes and the ability to buy policies online.
Still, it’s over the phone where Free Spirit really stands out from a customer service perspective. The company has a UK-based call centre staffed by travel insurance specialists. One thing that sets them apart is the short time you will be connected to a human operator, without needing to navigate endless options or automation to get through to someone.
This comes up often in their TrustPilot reviews, where, as of March 2023, they have an excellent average customer service rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Key features: what your policy could cover
Pre-existing medical conditions
While the company offers different levels of coverage, according to the policy type you choose, you can expect to receive coverage for most medical conditions and disabilities, including life-limiting conditions, while the company will also consider covering terminal conditions.
Reassuringly, they offer several very valuable benefits to those who experience a medical incident on their travels such as after-care at home and convalescence benefit following hospitalisation abroad.
Some of the medical conditions or disabilities the company may be able to cover are:
- Heart conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Atrial Fibrillation
- All types of cancer
- Circulatory conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Vascular disease
- High cholesterol
- Breathing conditions such as:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Lung disease
- Liver and kidney conditions
- Mental health conditions
- Bowel conditions
- Brain-related conditions, including:
- Central nervous system conditions
- Musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoporosis
As with most travel insurance companies, Free Spirit has a 24-hour medical emergency assistance helpline, ensuring you have help at the end of the phone when you need it most. The company also offers cover for specific medical aids and prescribed medication; something you might not have thought about before but potentially vital if medical equipment is damaged or lost, or if you misplace your medication while away.
Even though restrictions around the world are easing, Covid-19 still has the potential to ruin a holiday - either in the run-up to it or whilst you are away. It's great to see, therefore, that Free Spirit's policies cover you for cancellation caused by the virus, as well as emergency medical costs and any repatriation expenses. The last two problems, in particular, can cause sizable bills, so having them covered on your policy offers additional peace of mind.
Some travel firms place an upper age limit on their policies. However, Free Spirit doesn't, which can mean holidays are still possible even for older people. Free Spirit applies no age limits on either single-trip or annual multi-trip cover.
Some holidays are more challenging to find insurance for than others. An obvious example is a winter sports holiday - policies are much more expensive for this type of cover. Given the added risk involved, not all companies offer it. Free Spirit offers an Winter Sports as an optional extra if you are planning to hit the slopes.
Many insurance companies also don't offer coverage for cruise holidays. That can narrow your options, especially if you are of a certain age or have pre-existing medical conditions that many companies won't cover. However, Free Spirit can cover you via their Super or Super Duper policies.
Not many of us may anticipate the impact of our holidays being disrupted by travel providers letting us down. For example, if you put down a deposit to reserve a hotel room, what happens to you if that company goes out of business? Or, what happens if your travel plans are affected by supplier issues?
Free Spirit's Super Duper cover includes End Supplier Failure and Extended Journey Disruption cover. So you don't have to worry that you may lose your money if something were to go awry with one of your service providers while on holiday. With this policy, you can receive up to £3,000 if you have to cancel a trip or up to £1,000 if you incur additional expenses due to disruption caused by natural disasters, including hurricanes and earthquakes.
Insuring your gadgets
Handy as they are, gadgets such as iPads, FitBits, cameras and mobile phones are all attractive to thieves but also very easy to lose. Free Spirit can cover these items as part of the policies as standard for up to £1,500 for loss or theft. These items can be expensive, so it's good to see that the gadget cover isn't an added extra for which you pay a higher premium.
Comparing Free Spirit’s Super and Super Duper cover
|Cover Level||Super||Super Duper|
|Cancellation / Curtailment||£2,500||£5,000|
|Overseas Hospital Benefit||£1,000||£1,500|
|Personal Money, Passport & Travel Docs||£500||£1,000|
|End Supplier Failure||No cover||£2,500|
|Extended Journey Disruption||No cover||£3,000|
|Loss or damage to Medical Aids||£1,000||£2,000|
|Loss or damage to Prescriptions||£250||£500|
Eligibility criteria you need to meet
Given Free Spirit's flexible approach to providing travel insurance to its customers, you have a good chance of meeting the company's eligibility criteria for one of its policies. The company was one of the first to provide insurance specifically for people being refused coverage just because of ill health, a disability or their age.
It also doesn't automatically mean you pay above the odds for cover if you don’t have a medical condition or are of an age more willingly insured by others. In fact, if you have a person on the same policy without medical conditions, you could see your premium reduced.
If you want to take out a policy with Free Spirit, you can choose to do so online or over the phone. Free Spirit have an intuitive website that takes you through all of the questions in an easy-to-follow process at your own pace. You can even save your quote and come back to it later. On the other hand, you can ring them on 02392 419 080 and be guided through the process by a specialist based in the UK.
Is Free Spirit good value for money?
Free Spirit covers a broader set of people than many other travel insurance companies, so you could be eligible for a policy you couldn't find elsewhere. But to ensure you feel like you're getting value for money, you need to consider your quote. Given their flexible approach to the different needs of their customers, the hope (and intention) is that they will be able to cover you.
However, while the company offers a good level of cover with plenty of key features that make for robust policies, whether you think it provides value for money is down to you. Travel insurance can be expensive, especially if you are above a certain age and have complicated medical needs. However, you need to think about the peace of mind that the insurance gives you. Doing so should be part of any value for money evaluation.
Remember, repatriation costs, medical expenses, unforeseen accommodation or travel bills, and re-buying lost or stolen gadgets can add up. These scenarios can also be challenging to deal with when you are abroad. Buying travel insurance for peace of mind that you won't incur hefty out-of-pocket expenses is money well spent - even if you don't have to make a claim.
So, given Free Spirit's capability to provide insurance to those that would ordinarily struggle to get coverage, they are likely to offer value for money on peace of mind alone.