Holidaymakers warned to take out travel insurance
The travel industry is hoping that the current economic conditions will not deter UK holidaymakers from booking a holiday this year.
However, a worrying trend is that many holidaymakers save money on their holidays by not booking travel insurance.
Tour operators now often add holiday insurance to the cost of a holiday when it is booked. But for those who book online, it is easy to uncheck the travel insurance box – and then save a little on the cost of a holiday.
Travel insurance can cost from a round £15 upwards per person and many tour operators offer policies which may cover holidaymakers up to £3m in medical expenses if they fall ill or have a holiday accident and need hospital treatment – or perhaps have to be flown home on a medically-assisted flight.
Travel insurance for the over-60s upwards can be much more expensive, as they are considered a higher risk to insurers – but many policies cost under £100 and will provide multimillion pound cover.
However, in 2012 around 19% of British holidaymakers travelled without holiday insurance and took the risk of falling ill, having an accident, losing money through a cancelled flight or saying goodbye to their luggage if it went missing in transit.
The insurer Hiscox questioned British holidaymakers for the survey – and also found that many of the travellers questioned were relying on the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) to cover them for any medical expenses they might incur. The EHIC only covers EU holidaymakers for the medical services available to local people in their holiday destination, which might just be an examination in an emergency clinic and basic treatment, but not the cost of scans or surgery.
But some travellers were happy to travel without crucial insurance – with 18% believing the airline would compensate them for a cancelled flight and 21% under the impression one of the travel agency organisations such as ABTA or ATOL would compensate them.
Of those who had taken out travel insurance, 10% had no idea what they were covered for by the policy – including medical expenses covered.
If holidaymakers book a package holiday abroad they will now receive an ATOL certificate at the time of booking to guarantee that the holiday is a package and will therefore be protected under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018. These do not cover health insurance – and if you are ill and injured you would have to launch a legal claim under the Package Travel Regulations if someone else was liable, but would still be required to pay for any immediate medical expenses and out-of-pocket costs.
Holidaymakers this year should not be tempted to save small amounts of money by skipping travel insurance – for a small amount you and your family could be covered for life saving treatment abroad, but always read the policy and conditions before accepting the policy to make sure what you are covered for.