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Brits urged to scrutinise travel cover and not just pick the cheapest

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

As flight delays and cancellations remain an unwanted part of the summer holidays, Brits are urged to really examine their travel insurance policy and not just pick the cheapest cover.

The majority of travel insurance policies cover cancellation, delay and lost baggage. But with the level of cover varying from provider to provider, unprepared holidaymakers may have to pay unexpected costs out of their own pockets.

Research from data site Moneyfacts revealed that travel delay cover is included in 94% of standard plans. The average cover amounts to £269 (ranges between £75 and £1,500) and the average wait time before people can make a claim is 11.5 hours (between four and 24 hours).

Meanwhile, the average excess is £3, with Moneyfacts finding the excess ranges between £0 and £195.
When it comes to cancellation or curtailment cover, it’s included in 99% of standard plans, providing holders with an average cover of £4,007. This figure ranged between £500 and £15,000. The average excess is £75 but can be between £0 and £300.

Turning to baggage cover, Moneyfacts revealed 97% of standard plans include this, providing an average of £2,030 in cover (ranges between £200 and £10,000). The average excess is £72, with the figure costing up to £250.

‘Consider level of cover instead of the cheapest premium’

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “Holidaymakers preparing to take a flight for a trip over the school holidays may find peace of mind by taking out a travel insurance policy that provides them with a comprehensive level of cover. As flight cancellations, delays and baggage loss dominate the headlines it’s a good time to scrutinise the terms and excess when comparing plans and pick one with a suitable package of cover, not just the cheapest plan.

“Waiting a whole day to claim will be less than ideal, particularly for an individual or family with no place to stay for free nearby while they await their next flight. Footing the bill for an overnight stay and food expenses may be beyond the average cover of £269, so it’s important consumers carefully consider their level of cover instead of the cheapest premium.

“Baggage loss can be a huge nightmare for holidaymakers, and while most standard annual policies have this feature (97%), the value of cover varies considerably. Some possessions could be irreplaceable, and a summer wardrobe could be expensive to replace, but for others their baggage for a short trip may not have enormous value. Having an appropriate level of cover for any loss is wise and because each person’s luggage varies, it’s not too surprising that the average cover for baggage loss has a massive range from £200 up to £10,000 and most plans require an excess to be paid.”

Springall added that it’s a “wise move” to take a credit card for any trip, along with any travel insurance policy, in case of any unexpected expenses.

“As a financial safety net, a credit card is wise, as it also offers consumers protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. As with any trip, holidaymakers would be wise to check their cover and rights before they travel, particularly if they have booked their flights direct,” she said.