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Holidaymakers urged to take out travel insurance ahead of foreign travel rules relaxation

By Alan Beresford

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WITH the prospect of foreign travel opening up again next month, holidaymakers are being advised to consider taking out travel insurance

It still pays to take out travel insurance, says Fiona Macrae from travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk
It still pays to take out travel insurance, says Fiona Macrae from travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk

Fiona Macrae, head of consumer awareness initiative at travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk explains why those planning a trip abroad still need to make sure they have a cover in place, even if their desired destination is placed on the ‘green’ list of countries deemed safe:

Why travel insurance still matters

The reason travel insurance is important is because all travellers will be required to return to the UK with proof of a negative Covid-19 test before they depart, even if they have travelled to a ‘green’ destination.

Of course, should you fail that test, you will need to isolate in the country you are in, pay for additional accommodation, and re-arrange a return flight to the UK. The good news is, this extra cover is available under some travel insurance policies. Although it’s worth being aware that it is not offered as standard across the industry.

Therefore, we would urge anyone who desires this type of protection to check their policy wordings before they buy to make sure they are purchasing a policy that suits their needs.

Covid cancellation and medical costs

Most travel insurance providers will cover you for medical expenses and emergency assistance if you fall ill with the coronavirus while on holiday – as long as you travel to an area where there is no Foreign Office advice against it.

Additionally, some policies will also cover you for a cancellation of your trip if you were to fall ill with Covid-19 and be legally required to isolate before the holiday takes place. Again, this isn’t a standard cover across all travel insurance products, so it is worth talking to your insurer to check if such cover is available.

At present, there are no travel insurance providers offering cover for cancellation as a result of a change in government advice related to Covid-19. Therefore, we strongly urge anyone booking a trip (whether in the UK or abroad) to make sure they book with a tour operator that offers flexible cancellation terms and conditions. That way, if the destination they are due to travel to is suddenly advised against, they will not lose out financially and may even be able to change their travel dates free of charge for later on in the year.

Understanding your policy excess and what additional cover is available

An excess is the agreed amount of money you will pay towards a claim on a travel insurance policy. The amount of excess a policy has varies depending on the level of cover bought, as well as the provider bought through. Excesses can vary from £0 to £250, so it’s always worth checking you’re happy with the limit before you buy a policy.

Understandably, many Brits have recently been taking advantage of the low deposit holiday deals offered by tour operators. As a result, some travel insurers have introduced a new policy specifically for those who have bought a holiday but have only paid the deposit, in a bid to offer them more financial protection should the trip not be able to go ahead.

The cover offered varies between providers, although, generally speaking, if a customer has only paid the deposit but is unable to go on holiday before the full balance is due, they are able to claim for cancellation costs, without having to pay any policy excess. Additionally, if they have already paid their holiday balance in full but need to cancel their trip, they will still be covered for cancellation costs but will have to pay their excess.

Of course, the reason for cancellation must fall within the providers terms and conditions, but many of these types of policies will cover you if you are made redundant, called back into work to provide urgent support, or unable to go on holiday as a result of a close relative or travel companion falling seriously ill or passing away.

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