Planning a holiday? Make sure you’re protected

Before you book any holiday, it’s worth checking with the tour operator whether they provide any protection

Couples kayaking on river

If you’re planning a summer break now that the government has announced the countries on its ‘green’ travel list, don’t forget to buy travel cover once you’ve booked your getaway.

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Non-essential travel abroad will be allowed again from 17 May, with a traffic light system indicating which countries will require holidaymakers to isolate on their return. Those heading to destinations categorised as ‘green’ countries won’t have to isolate when they get back, whilst people going to ‘amber’ countries will have to quarantine at home on their return. Anyone visiting a ‘red’ list country must isolate in a hotel on their return. The government confirmed this week that countries on the green list include Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland.

Before you book any holiday, it’s worth checking with the tour operator whether they provide any protection should a booked holiday need to be cancelled or rescheduled due to Covid-19. Many will allow you to re-schedule or cancel if your holiday can’t go ahead, but it’s important to find out where you’ll stand if the worst happens.

It’s also vital to have comprehensive travel insurance in place in case before you go. Having cover can provide valuable peace of mind that you’ll be reimbursed for any medical expenses if you have an accident abroad, or if your baggage is lost or stolen, or your holiday is delayed or cancelled and you run up any expenses as a result.

According to recent research by Forbes Advisor UK, the personal finance insight website, the majority of travel insurance policies – 78% – provide enhanced Covid-19 cover as standard, which means policyholders should have at least some form of cancellation cover if they can no longer travel due to Coronavirus. However, always check the small print before buying so you know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for and remember that if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office say it’s not safe to travel to your destination, your insurance is unlikely to cover you.

Kevin Pratt, insurance expert at Forbes Advisor UK said: “As soon as you’ve booked your trip, make sure you shop around to find a travel insurance policy that provides the level of cover you need based on where you are going, the sort of holiday you are taking, and other considerations such as any pre-existing medical conditions you or members of your party may have.

“And now, more than ever, it’s a good idea to make sure that enhanced Covid-19 cover is included. The added benefit of taking out travel insurance as soon as possible after your holiday is booked is that you’ll start to benefit from cancellation cover immediately.”

If you’re holidaying in the UK

Uncertainty over which countries will fall into which category in the weeks to come as risk ratings will change over time, mean that millions of people have chosen to holiday in the UK this summer rather than book breaks abroad.

More than 22m people will be taking staycations this year, according to research by Virgin Money, spending an average of £660 each. Many people who holiday in the UK decide to forgo travel insurance, with an estimated 13m expected to travel without cover. Four in 10 say they don’t plan to get insurance when holidaying at home because they can rely on the NHS for any medical emergencies, while 30% think it isn’t necessary. However, if you don’t have cover, you could lose out financially if your trip has to be cancelled, or if any of your personal possessions get lost or stolen.

Fergus Murphy, spokesman for Virgin Money, said: “Our research suggests that when on home turf, there is a common misconception that there is no need to purchase insurance. While we all want to enjoy a well-deserved break this summer, don’t forget to consider your insurance needs which could help if you experience travel delays, travel cancellations or end up losing your mobile or gadgets while away.”

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