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Brexit travel insurance warning: protect your holiday

Written by: Danielle Levy
As holidaymakers make the most of January bargains, researchers from comparison website GoCompare have urged sun-seekers not to leave their travel insurance to the last minute.

January and February are typically popular months to book summer holidays – and this year is no exception, with TravelSupermarket estimating that summer package holiday deals are up to 36% cheaper than a year ago.

As savvy shoppers take advantage of early bird discounts, free child places and book now/pay later offers, booking their summer holidays months in advance, researchers from GoCompare say consumers are missing out on valuable cancellation cover as a result.

For example, research based on over half a million single trip travel insurance policies bought in 2018 found that 58% of holidaymakers arranged their cover within a week of their departure date. What’s more, 31% arranged travel insurance on the day of travel.

With the UK due to leave the European Union (EU) at the end of March and no deal agreed as yet, the comparison website warns that travel disruption and economic uncertainty could lie ahead.

With this in mind, they are urging holidaymakers to insure their holidays as soon as they book. That way they will be covered for cancellations.

GoCompare points to the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) most recent statistics, which found an 11% increase in the value of claims for trip cancellations in 2017. This rose from £130m in 2016 to £145m in 2017 and was driven by airline disruption, bad weather and an increase in the average cost of a family holiday.

Although claims for medical treatment make up the majority of travel insurance claim costs at around £201m, holiday cancellation payouts accounted for the second largest at £145m.

Brexit uncertainty

Matthew Sanders, travel insurance spokesperson at GoCompare, said: “Families can spend several thousand pounds on their summer holiday and hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers risk losing the lot by leaving their travel insurance to the last minute.

“The added uncertainty caused by Brexit this year should definitely focus the mind on protecting this investment. Having to cancel your holiday due to unforeseen circumstances is bad enough, but at least if you’re covered by a decent travel insurance policy you can make a claim and rebook your trip for another time.”

He added that some budget travel insurance policies may not include cancellation cover, so it’s important to check you are buying the right level of cover.

“Although £20,000 of cancellation cover may seem excessive to protect two weeks in the sun, choosing a policy offering just £500 of cover, or even worse, no cancellation cover at all, could be expensive false economy,” Sanders added.

He noted that consumers should not feel pressured to buy the operator or travel agent’s packaged cover, as it may be more expensive.

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