WITH the summer wedding season in full swing, many people will be gearing up to help happy couples kick off the celebrations early with a stag or hen weekend.
And while partygoers may be expecting the trip to leave them with a sore head, they may be totally unprepared for the possibility of a financial headache if something goes wrong and they're not covered.
According to Aviva, half (50 per cent) of guests attending someone else's stag or hen do have always taken out travel insurance when joining a stag or hen break overseas, while only around a fifth (22 per cent) have done the same when attending dos in the UK.
"Travel insurance isn't necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when arranging a stag or hen weekend, but having the right level of cover can be invaluable if things don't go as planned," says Kelly Whittington, speciality claims director at Aviva.
"Our research shows that many stag and hen guests simply don't think about taking out cover. People often think they don't need it for a short break - or that the unexpected won't happen to them. But sadly we see that things can and do go wrong from time to time.
"In the event of a lost passport, a medical expense overseas, or an illness that means you need to cancel your trip, travel insurance can be an important lifeline," Whittington adds. "There are also a few things people should consider when travelling as part of a group, to make sure they have the right cover for their needs."
Here are some "need to knows" from Aviva about insurance if you're travelling with a stag or hen group this summer...
If someone else has booked the trip, am I covered if it gets cancelled?
"If you've got your own insurance then you'll be covered for the cost of your flights, hotels and excursions in the event of a cancellation, according to policy terms - as long as they're all booked in your name. However, you won't automatically be covered for any bookings made by someone else," Whittington explains. "So, if the best man or woman has booked the flights, accommodation and excursions, but the trip has to be cancelled, then only the person (or people) named on their policy would be refunded."
However, there are ways around this. Whittington says: "If you have your own insurance, your insurer should cover things booked for you, as long as there's evidence they've been booked on your behalf. The best piece of evidence is a payment from you to whoever made the booking - so it's best to do this electronically, rather than handing over cash.
"A group policy may be a simpler way to make sure that everyone is insured and could be cheaper than individual policies," she adds. "However, normally an insurer would still only pay costs that each insured person has paid for their own personal travel and accommodation costs. So each traveller would still need to evidence that they have paid or are liable to pay for their costs."
Another alternative could be for everyone on the trip to take out their own insurance and book their accommodation and flights separately to one another, Whittington adds.
Will drinking alcohol invalidate my insurance?
With stag and hen dos often featuring alcohol at some point, it's worth being aware of where you stand when it comes to insurance.
"If you have a couple of drinks on holiday, it's unlikely to affect your travel cover. However, if you drink or use drugs to an extent that means your judgement is impaired, causing you to take actions you would not usually take, this could have serious ramifications," says Whittington. "So, if you suffer an injury while you're under the influence, you could risk not being covered."
Am I covered for water sports and leisure activities?
This is something you'll need to check with your policy. "If your stag or hen do involves activities such as scuba diving or paragliding, then make sure your insurance covers them," Whittington suggests. "Some leisure activities are likely to be covered as standard, but others will require specialist insurance - so check for any exclusions or optional add-ons when you take out cover."
Do I really need insurance?
There's every chance that the a stag or hen do will go without incident, save for the odd embarrassing photo. But insurance is there to help if the unexpected happens.
Whittington adds: "In the event of an injury overseas, lost luggage or a stolen passport, it can be an invaluable lifeline. And if the event has to be cancelled - say, the bride-to-be is unwell for example - it can also provide cancellation cover overseas and also in the UK if the celebrations involve a two-night stay in pre-booked accommodation."
Am I covered for everything?
A travel insurance policy is designed to provide cover in case of unexpected incidents before or during a holiday - such as medical emergencies abroad, thefts overseas, or the need to cancel due to illness. However, it's unlikely to cover costs if you simply change your mind about the trip or oversleep and miss your flight.
Policies vary, so make sure you check your exact policy terms to understand your cover. It could also be worth saving your insurer's details in your phone, so you have them handy while you're on your trip.