Category: Travel Insurance – The Facts

Travelling to Greece? Protect yourself against risk of insolvency & strike

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By , May 31, 2012 1:04 pm
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Although most travel experts are saying that Greece is still a great place to go on holiday this summer and even if it does leave the Eurozone the airlines will still fly and the beaches will still be there, it is understandable that people who have a trip booked will be concerned about how the political and economic uncertainty will affect their holiday.

There are some increased risks in travelling to Greece this summer, but there are going to be risks wherever you choose to go on holiday. You can help protect yourself and your money against these risks by getting the right travel insurance cover.

What if my hotel or accommodation supplier becomes bankrupt and closes?

Find out if your holiday is protected or if you need travel insurance with insolvency cover

Find out if your holiday is protected or if you need travel insurance with insolvency cover

The numbers of holidaymakers heading to Greece, particularly British and German, has dropped significantly over the last couple of years and as the economic and political crisis deepens this trend looks set to continue.

This drop in visitor numbers means that small hoteliers and local companies who provide services for holidaymakers are struggling, resulting in an increased risk of them becoming insolvent and closing. Earlier this year the Sunday Times reported that as many as 1000 Greek hotels could close or be put up for sale this year.

There are a couple of ways that you can protect your holiday against the risk of insolvency; one is to make sure your holiday is ATOL Protected by booking a package or flight plus from a travel agent or tour operator.

Use our quick check diagram to see if your holiday is protected >>

Find out more about ATOL Protection >>

Travel insurance with insolvency cover/end supplier failure

If your holiday is not ATOL Protected, for instance if you have booked elements of your holiday direct from different suppliers, or have booked anything direct with an airline, you can protect your holiday against the risk of insolvency by making sure you have the right travel insurance.

If you book your holiday independently, make sure that your travel insurance includes cover for the insolvency of an airline or other holiday supplier. This is often called Scheduled Airline Failure or End Supplier Failure. Some travel insurance policies include it as standard, some travel insurance policies have the option to add it to your cover and some travel insurance policies don’t provide it all, so you do need to check.

Scheduled Airline Failure, End Supplier Failure or Dynamic Packaging Cover as it is sometimes also known provides cover for the financial failure of an airline or holiday supplier. If the failure happens before you go on holiday the travel insurance will allow you to make a claim to recoup the cost, enabling you to use the money to rebook that element of your holiday with another supplier.

If the insolvency happens whilst you are away the travel insurance should provide cover for additional expenses for alternative accommodation or alternative transport home if necessary. The terms and conditions of this type of travel insurance cover does vary so you should always read the terms and conditions.

Find out more about travel insurance with insolvency cover >>

What if my holiday is affected by strikes?

Another consequence of the hard times that people in Greece are experiencing at the moment is an increased risk of strike and industrial action which can impact public services, including transport, airports and air traffic control.

Most travel insurance policies provide cover for travel delay caused by strike action. To ensure you get the benefit of this cover it’s important to buy your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. For a strike to be covered by your travel insurance, you must have booked your holiday and bought your travel insurance before the strike was announced.

The travel delay section of a travel insurance policy generally provides a fixed benefit for every 12 hours you are delayed; it is designed to help cover additional expenses such as food and drink.

In the event of a long delay many travel insurance policies also give you the option to ‘abandon’ your holiday and make a claim for the cost. This type of cover is good to have because it gives you more freedom if you do experience a long delay. Although abandoning the holiday may be disappointing it might be a good option for shorter trips where the delay could eat into a significant percentage of your holiday. Check your terms and conditions for the full details.

Find out more about travel insurance cover for strikes >>

Keep up to date on the situation in Greece

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes continually updated information on the situation in Greece along with advice for British Nationals who are visiting the country. This includes information on planned strikes and demonstrations which could impact your holiday.

Check the latest information before you travel.
Travel advice from the FCO: Greece

What will happen if Greece does leave the Euro?

If Greece does leave the euro it could mean that electronic banking might freeze for a couple of days as they change currency. ABTA, the Travel Association have advised holiday makers heading to Greece to take plenty of cash, in the form of low-denomination euro notes.

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Fiji braced for cyclone: Travel insurance and natural disasters

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By , April 2, 2012 3:46 pm
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The island of Fiji is braced for the arrival of cyclone Daphne after it was battered by flash floods over the weekend.

A state of emergency has been declared after the floods forced 8000 people to evacuate their homes, although Tourism Fiji said there were no reports of damage or injuries at any major hotels or resorts.

The government had suspended flights into Fiji on Saturday and Sunday, but normal schedules have now resumed.

Tourism Fiji said: “International visitors to Fiji must also be aware that while every effort is being made to minimize inconvenience that has resulted from the current inclement weather, services and transportation within Fiji are not as yet at their optimum levels.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office are not advising against travel to Fiji, but are urging British nationals who are in Fiji or due to travel to Fiji to monitor the latest weather bulletins on the Fiji Meteorological Service website, in local newspapers and on Radio 2 on 105 FM, and to follow the advice of local authorities.

Fiji Meteorological Service

Travel Insurance for floods and cyclones

Catastrophe Cover

If you are in a country that is affected by flood, cyclone, earthquake or other natural disaster whilst you are away you should have cover under the ‘Catastrophe’ or ‘Replacement Accommodation’ section of your policy.

This section of your travel insurance is designed to cover additional accommodation and/or travel expenses if you are forced to move from your pre-booked accommodation as a result of a catastrophe such as hurricane, flood, fire, earthquake or medical epidemic. It is designed to enable you to continue your holiday or if your trip cannot be continued, return to the UK early.

Find out more about travel insurance catastrophe cover.

Travel delay

If you are still in the UK and the cyclone or other adverse weather causes your flight to be delayed you should have travel insurance cover under the travel delay section of your travel insurance policy.

The travel delay section of your travel insurance policy should pay a benefit to cover additional expenses if your flight is delayed, or allow you to ‘abandon’ your holiday and make a claim for the cost.

Find out more about travel insurance travel delay cover

Natural catastrophe cover

The other section of a travel insurance policy which could help in this situation is Natural Catastrophe cover.

This is a relatively new area of cover for travel insurance and was introduced as an optional extra by some travel insurance providers in response the volcanic ash crisis in 2010.
It is intended to enhance your policy by providing cover for cancellation, delay and additional expenses incurred due to unexpected events such as volcanic ash clouds and other natural disasters; such as floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes.

The FCO provides up to date travel advice by country

Wherever you plan to travel check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for the latest advice before you travel.

Travel advice from the FCO

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 9 – Check you have cover for sports and activities

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By , January 19, 2012 1:32 pm
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Tip number 9 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is: Make sure that your travel insurance provides cover for any sports and activities you will be taking part in.

Before you buy your travel insurance policy, have a think about what you’re going to be doing on holiday. Are you going to be taking part in any sports or activities?

Skiing and other winter sports are the obvious ones, so if you are going on a beach holiday you may think that you don’t need to worry about it. But what about if you decided to have a go on a jet ski whilst you are there, or go on a quad biking excursion? These types of activities might not be covered on a standard travel insurance policy, so before you take part you should check.

Travel insurance generally covers a number of sports and activities as standard, but it does vary between different travel insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking.  You may find that your chosen activity is covered by your travel insurance as standard, or you may need to add extra cover to your policy.

Most travel insurers will allow you to upgrade your cover to include more adventurous or hazardous activities. As I said before, winter sports is the obvious one, but
there are many popular holiday activities which may require additional cover such as bungee jumping, quad biking or scuba diving below a certain depth.

Don’t take any chances; check that you are covered before taking part in any hazardous
activities – if you’re not covered you could face large medical bills in the event of an accident.

Many travel insurance companies will allow you to add extra cover for sports or activities after you have bought your travel insurance policy, sometimes even if you have already departed on your holiday – so it’s never too late to check your travel insurance cover.

It’s easy to get the right travel insurance cover if you take a few minutes to think about the sort of activities you’re going to take part in before you buy your travel
insurance.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 8 – If you’re travelling to Europe, get an EHIC

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By , January 19, 2012 1:00 pm
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Tip number 8 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is: If you are travelling to Europe, get an EHIC, it could save you money!

The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC entitles you to low cost (and sometimes free) state provided healthcare in the European Economic Area countries and Switzerland.  You should remember that the level of state provided health card in other European countries is not necessarily comparative to the service provided by the NHS.

An EHIC shouldn’t be used instead of a comprehensive travel insurance policy, because it won’t cover all medical costs abroad and it doesn’t cover repatriation back to the UK, which could result in you being stuck on a foreign hospital for a long period of time if you do fall ill whilst you are away.

Despite the fact that an EHIC doesn’t take away the need to buy travel insurance every time you travel, there are still some good reasons for getting one if you are travelling to a country within the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

One good reason to get an EHIC is that it could save you money!

Many travel insurance providers will forego the excess payment on a medical travel insurance claim if you have used your EHIC card when you received treatment. This could save you money – depending on the terms of your travel insurance policy it could save you up to a few hundred pounds.

Remember, having an EHIC could save you money in the event that you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, but it doesn’t replace travel insurance.

There are many more things that travel insurance covers, which an EHIC won’t – not least a 24 hour English speaking emergency helpline to provide much needed support if you do find yourself needing medical treatment abroad. Travel insurance also provides cover for cancellation, your personal possessions and travel delay.

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Flight delays, high winds, your rights and travel insurance

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By , January 5, 2012 10:29 am
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Post summary: Under EU law you have certain rights if your flight is delayed due to bad weather. Your travel insurance can also help when your flight is delayed.

Strong winds are causing disruption again at ports and airports across the UK for the second time this week and the third time in less than a month.

As we are in the midst of winter, it’s hardly surprising that we are getting bad weather, last winter it was freezing conditions and heavy snow, this year its high winds that are causing disruption to flights and other forms of travel.

What are your rights if your flight is delayed due to bad weather?

If you’re flight is delayed or cancelled due to bad weather, under EU regulations, your airline has a duty to look after you, by providing refreshments and accommodation where necessary, depending on the length of the delay. For more information about EU regulations on flight delays and cancellations visit: UK European Consumer Centre

How can travel insurance help for flight delay?

Most travel insurance policies have cover for Travel Delay which will pay you a benefit if your outbound flight from the UK or your return flight into the UK is delayed due to
bad weather, such as the high winds we have seen over the last few days.

Usually, if your flight is delayed by more than 12 or 24 hours, check your travel insurance policy wording for details, you will be entitled to claim a fixed benefit. This
travel delay benefit is designed to help you cover the cost of extra, unexpected expenses, such as food and drink, whilst you are waiting at the airport.

If your outbound flight is delayed by more than 24 hours, you may also have the option under your travel insurance policy to ‘abandon’ your holiday and make a claim for the cost of the holiday, up to the limit stated in the Cancellation section of your travel insurance policy.

For your travel insurance claim to be successful you will generally need to have checked in for your flight at the airport, this shows that you fully intended to travel, and you
must obtain a letter from your airline which confirms the length of the delay and the reason for it.

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Flight delays: Punctuality of flights from UK airports improve year on year

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By , December 23, 2011 12:42 pm
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Summary: Great news for passengers, flight delays are decreasing, but if you do experience a delay, what are your rights and how can travel insurance help.

Flight delays from UK airports reduced across the peak summer period this year, latest figures from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) show that flight punctuality has improved year on year.

From July to September 2011, 79% of scheduled flights were on-time, compared to 72% for the same period on 2010. The most significant improvements were seen on scheduled flights from Stansted, Gatwick and Luton.

Punctuality on charter flights improved across the board, 73% of charter flights were on-time compared to just 62% for the same period of 2010. On-time is defined as arriving or departing early or up to 15 minutes late.

This increase in flight punctuality is great news for travellers; let’s hope it continues to improve in to the 2012.

These figures from the CAA show that the majority of flights leave on time, or with a small delay, which is great news, but what if you do experience a long flight delay, where do you go for help?

Under EU regulations, if you experience a long flight delay, your airline has a duty to look after you by providing refreshments and accommodation if necessary. If the delay is more than 5 hours and you decide not to continue your journey you are entitled to a refund of your ticket cost.

For more information about your rights as an air passenger visit:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passenger-rights/en/index.html

Travel insurance and flight delays

Cover for flight delay is generally included under the Travel Delay and Abandonment Section of a travel insurance policy.

This section of your travel insurance provides a benefit if your outbound or inbound international journey is delayed, due to various reasons such as strikes and industrial action, adverse weather and mechanical breakdown. The causes of delay that you are covered for may vary from policy to policy check read the terms and conditions to find out what you have cover for.

Travel delay cover provides a fixed benefit, designed to cover the cost of additional expenses such as food and drink whilst you wait at the airport, it can be anything from £10 to £50, for every 12 or 24 hours that you are delayed.

If you are delayed by more than 24 hours most travel insurance policies also give you the option to abandon your holiday and make a claim for any unrecoverable costs up to the amount specified in the Cancellation section of the policy.

Check the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy for more details – You usually have to have checked in for your flight in order to make a claim, and you will need to get a letter from your airline confirming the delay.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 7 – Tailor your travel insurance for your budget and holiday

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By , December 14, 2011 2:44 pm
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Tip number 7 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is: Tailor your travel insurance policy to suit your budget and your holiday.

The days of simply buying whichever travel insurance is offered to you when you book your holiday are long gone. Today it’s easy to shop around and tailor your travel insurance policy to get the right cover for your holiday, either by adding additional travel insurance cover, or making sure that you’re not paying for travel insurance cover that you don’t need.

Let’s take cancellation cover as a starting point; if your luxury trip to the Maldives cost £5000 per person, you need to make sure that the cancellation cover amount in your travel insurance reflects that. On the same note, if you’re staying in youth hostels or camping, the amount of cancellation of cover which your travel insurance includes won’t be so important, so you could choose a travel insurance policy with a lower level of cancellation cover. Alternatively, if you travelling imminently you could choose to exclude cancellation cover altogether and reduce the cost of your travel insurance policy.

You could also choose to exclude baggage and personal money cover if you already have your personal possessions covered away from home as part of your home contents insurance.

You should also look at the ways you improve your travel insurance cover.
Check out what additional policy options are available to add to your travel insurance such as Scheduled Airline Failure, which is designed to provide cover in the event that your airline or other holiday supplier becomes insolvent, either before you go away or while you are in resort.

This type of insolvency cover is particularly important if you book elements of your holiday independently, rather than booking a package holiday with a bonded tour operator.

Another popular add-on is Natural Catastrophe cover, which provides additional travel insurance cover for cancellation and additional incurred expenses as a result of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or the volcanic ash crisis in 2010.

Sports and hazardous activities, if you are planning on taking part in any sports or hazardous activities whilst you are on holiday, make sure that your travel insurance provides cover in the event that you have an accident and need medical treatment. Most travel insurance policies provide cover for a range of activities as standard, plus give the option to upgrade your travel insurance policy to include cover for more dangerous pursuits.

Travel insurance is available for sale all over the place, from travel agents, supermarkets, price comparison sites and direct from travel insurance providers, so there is no excuse for travelling with it.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 6 – Declare any pre-existing medical conditions

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By , December 14, 2011 2:08 pm
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Tip number 6 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is; declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance.

No matter how inconsequential a medical condition may seem to you, you need to declare it when you buy travel insurance. Anything and everything, from mild asthma to high blood pressure and heart disease, needs to be declared to your travel insurer at the time of purchase.

The definition of a pre-existing medical condition can vary between different travel insurers; you should check the terms and conditions of your policy for details. However in general a pre-existing medical condition is anything that you have visited the doctor for, or received treatment for, or taken medication for.

Many travel insurance providers make it easy for you to declare pre-existing medical conditions online as part of obtaining a travel insurance quote; others will require you to call them to declare medical conditions. Either way, it is generally very easy, and you should still be able to obtain instant travel insurance cover for your holiday without the need for any doctor’s certificates.

Failing to declare a medical condition when you buy travel insurance could cost you dearly, it makes no difference whether you did it on purpose, to try and save money, or inadvertently, because you didn’t think you needed to declare a medical condition.

If you don’t declare a pre-existing medical condition when you buy travel insurance you run the risk of incurring medical bills, which could easily amount to thousands of pounds, if you need medical treatment abroad.

So, the important thing to remember is, no matter how trivial you think your medical condition is, you should declare it when you buy travel insurance – you may find that it doesn’t increase your premium at all. But it will mean that you are appropriately covered by your travel insurance if you fall ill abroad and need medical treatment.

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Quad biking and extreme sports: Are you covered by travel insurance?

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By , November 8, 2011 12:21 pm
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A recent case of a young boy seriously injured after a quad biking accident highlights the importance of having the right travel insurance cover if you plan to take part in any adventurous sports or activities when you’re away.

Across the desert

Travel insurance for quad biking and extreme sports

The boy, aged 10, from Hampshire was on holiday with his Dad and stepmother in the popular Turkish resort of Bodrum when the accident happened during a quad biking excursion. He sustained bleeding on the brain, a broken arm, broken nose, bruised ribs and a cracked eye socket.

Unfortunately, as quad biking is classed as an extreme sport by his travel insurance provider, the medical costs resulting from the accident were not covered by family’s travel insurance policy. The family now face the prospect of raising the £15,000 required to cover the cost of the boy’s medical treatment in a Turkish hospital.

Why wasn’t quad biking covered by their travel insurance?

Obviously I don’t know the details of this case, who the insurer was and which extreme sports are or aren’t covered on their policy, but I do know that you should always check that the travel insurance cover you have chosen is appropriate for you and your trip.

At first it may sound unfair that quad biking isn’t covered, but think about why you buy travel insurance, it’s primarily to cover the risk of you needing medical treatment abroad and the cost of that treatment. And let’s face it, the risk of you having an accident and needing treatment is greatly increased if you are taking part in quad biking or other extreme sports rather than lying on a beach or sight-seeing. Travel insurance is all about covering risk, the higher the risk of you needing to make a claim for medical treatment abroad, the higher the price of the travel insurance.

Can I get travel insurance to cover extreme sports?

The cover available for extreme sports, or ‘hazardous activities’ as they are often known in the insurance world will vary depending on which travel insurance provider you choose.

Most policies will include cover for some activities as standard and then allow you to upgrade to cover other, riskier sports or activities.

It’s important to get the right travel insurance cover before you travel

If you know what activities you intend to take part in before you travel it’s all relatively straight forward. If you’re going skiing, you buy a winter sports travel insurance policy. If you are going scuba diving you check what depth you will be diving to and whether that is covered – the same goes for quad biking or any other ‘hazardous activity’.

Check whether your travel insurance policy provides cover as standard or whether you need to add extra cover. A few extra minutes spent checking and a few extra pounds spent on travel insurance before you go could save you thousands in the event of an accident abroad.

What if you decide to take part in an extreme sport once you are away?

This is where it can become more tricky. If, once you are away you decided to take part in an extreme sport or hazardous activity, take a minute to check whether it is covered on your travel insurance policy and if it’s not, ring your provider to see if you can extend your policy to cover it. Be aware that not all providers will be able to amend your policy once you have left the UK and in that situation you should consider whether it’s worth the risk.

I’m sorry if I sound like a bit of a kill joy, but if you’re not covered by your travel insurance you should think carefully before taking take part in any extreme sport or hazardous activity. You may think it’s ok, ‘nothing will happen to me’, but these things do happen to some people and how do you know it won’t be you?

It’s also wise to remember that not all countries have the same health and safety regulations as we do in the EU and UK. Just because you’re on holiday and in a relaxed mood, don’t assume that every activity is safe, look at the set up and who runs it, ask questions if necessary, and think carefully before you take part in anything potentially dangerous.

In short, when you are planning your holiday and buying travel insurance cover, just take a moment to think what you will be doing whilst you’re away and check that your travel insurance policy will provide cover.

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Travel Insurance Tip No. 5 – Kids may be covered free, but don’t forget to mention them

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By , October 20, 2011 3:45 pm
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Tip number 5 in our top 10 travel insurance tips is, kids may be covered on your policy free of charge, but don’t forget to mention them.

This may sound obvious, but people have made the mistake of assuming their children will be covered even though they haven’t actually listed them when buying their travel insurance policy.

Many family travel insurance policies will cover children under 18 free of charge, when they are travelling with a parent or guardian insured on the same policy. Some insurers may limit the number of children that can be covered free, per insured adult, others have no limits.

The important thing to remember is that even though there is no charge to cover the children, you still need to list them when you buy a policy- If your insurer doesn’t know they exist they won’t be covered.

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