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‘I didn’t buy insurance for my staycation and lost £270’

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Millions of Brits will choose to holiday in the UK this year, but many will have no protection should they need to cancel their trip.

You may choose to holiday in the UK to cut costs but opting for a ‘staycation’ could leave you unexpectedly out of pocket if you don’t have insurance and something goes wrong.

Jess Childs, 37, lost around £270 last summer when she had to cancel three separate Air BnB bookings at the last minute due to unforeseen family issues.

The mother of two from Wales and her family were planning a two-week tour of Scotland staying in self catering Air BnBs. But when her mother fell ill, Jess cancelled the two cottages she’d booked. She got her deposits back but couldn’t recoup the £28 and £45 Air BnB service fees, which were non-refundable.

Later in the summer, Jess lost close to £200 after she was forced to cancel at the last minute another Air BnB cottage following a family bereavement.

She said: “I have absolutely no issue with the owner or Air BnB in not getting a refund at that hour – I know if I was the property owner I’d want to know my costs were covered. But I’m kicking myself that I didn’t have an annual travel insurance or similar policy in place that could have helped me recover some of the costs I incurred, as well as any others moving forward.”

Jess’s story is a cautionary tale for the millions of people now opting for a staycation.

More than half of Brits decided to holiday in the UK last summer, according to a survey by Travelodge.

And quote data from travel insurance provider Compare Cover found that the UK features in the top ten holiday destinations for seven of the 12 months of the year.

Travel insurance, which is often associated with delayed flights, lost baggage and medical costs abroad, may not seem necessary to holidaymakers staying close to home.

But if you’re forced to cancel a hotel or holiday home booking, or if you’re relying on public transport, it could save you hundreds.

“If you have to cancel your UK break because one of the family falls ill, many bed and breakfasts, hotels, caravan parks and holiday homes would not provide a refund,” said Simon Williams, travel insurance product manager at Compare Cover.

“Even Airbnb cancellation policies are decided by the individual hosts and differ from place to place, and that’s when the real value of travel insurance can come into play.”

Williams added: “The average spend on a short break in the UK is £196, increasing to £258 if you stay in Scotland. That’s not an amount anyone would like to lose should something go wrong.

“It’s also worth considering the other benefits that UK travel insurance offers, including cover for the accidental loss of, theft of or damage to baggage and valuables.”

UK, Europe or global policy?

Whatever type of policy you choose, make sure you buy it as soon as you book your holiday so that you’re covered if you need to cancel.

If you’re only planning on one staycation a year, it’s most cost effective to buy a single UK insurance policy. The cheapest quote for a 45-year-old woman with no pre-existing conditions for a week is £2.79, according to Compare Cover.

But if you’re planning multiple staycations, you’re better off going for a multi-trip UK policy, which protects you for however many UK holidays you take during a year and for whatever duration. The cheapest quote for this type of policy for the same woman would be £4.93.

If you’re planning trips abroad as well as a staycation, you could go for a Europe or Worldwide multi-trip policy, which would also cover your UK holidays.

The cheapest Europe multi-trip policy would cost our hypothetical holidaymaker £8 or £16.40 for a Worldwide version including US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean.

With all policies, check the small print to see what’s covered.

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