Travel and Insurance
Is holiday insurance the last thing on your list? Maybe it should be first?
Bags are all packed, and it’s time to head off to the airport. Lock the front door, and away you go, and mentally check, what have I forgotten?
Everybody does it, and probably comes up with the same or similar mantra, “passport, tickets, money, passport, ticket, money check” working on the theory that whatever else may have been left, these are the most important, and little else really matters.
Except, there is one other item that should be on that list of imperatives, that is travel insurance.
In the days when the package holiday was champion, indeed, virtually the only way for the common man to contemplate a holiday abroad, insurance was part of the package.
This was an ATOL (Air Travel Organisers License) backed scheme which protected the traveller against the travel agent or operator going out of business and owing them money, or even stranding them abroad.
It was a separate policy all together, purchased from the travel agent to cover for eventualities that the tour operator was not responsible for, such as theft of property or personal accident.
The coming of the internet and the rise of no-frills air travel has completely changed the face of holiday booking. The travel agent is a rare sight to see, and tour operators no longer offer the printed form on insurance at the back of the glossy brochure.
They are legally bound to insure your package holiday booking of travel and accommodation against insolvency, but given the freedoms that so many people take up of being able to book mix and match flights and accommodations in all manner of permutations, so insurance has become more individually specific, and more than an incidental afterthought.
There are no regulations that financially protect directly purchased flights, or independently booked accommodation, and here is where insurance to cover insolvencies is prudent.
Airlines, hotels, apartment and villa letting companies, car hire, excursion tour operators, all can be booked directly, but will not be protected under the ATOL scheme.
To cover monies already paid, ensure that your policy covers insolvencies.
Authorities will not stop you leaving Britain without it, but there are countries, particularly those to which an entry visa is required, which insist on having a valid policy as a condition of entry.
This is often to ensure that the traveller carries medical insurance to cover the potential burdens of accident or illness on that country’s medical facilities.
Medical insurance is as individual as each and every person, but travel insurance is something every traveller should pack, along with “passport, ticket, money”.