We go off on holiday to escape the worries of everyday life – but they can catch up with us. Last week, Indian carrier Jet joined Flybmi, Air Berlin and Alitalia on the ground. All have failed in the last 12 months – leaving travellers and holidaymakers out of pocket at best and stranded at worst.
But there is no need to let worries about the stability of airlines or holiday companies disturb your holiday fun. The good news is that if things go wrong the chances are you will get your money back, if you take the right precautions.
Call your credit card company
Your travel insurance may not cover airline failures. If an airline goes bust and takes your holiday with it, your first call might be to your credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This provides protection if you buy any single item for more than £100 up to £30,000 and something goes wrong, like an airline going bust – you can get a refund from your credit card provider.
Paying by credit card is particularly wise if you are booking your holiday flights, accommodation and car hire separately.
Please check Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act for full Terms and Conditions.
ATOL protection for package deals
Things are simpler if you book a package holiday. Package holidays have full financial and legal protection. Known as ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) this means if your travel firm goes under you are entitled to a full refund. You should be able to complete your holiday and will be brought back to the UK at no extra cost to you.
When you book a package holiday you will be provided with an ATOL Certificate when you pay. Keep it safe. It is key to making a claim.
Get the travel insurance you need
Travel has become so easy, many of us travel abroad without insurance. This may be fine when things go well, but expensive when they don’t. According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the number of claims is increasing, with one a minute in 2017 and £1m paid out every day. The average payout is nearly £1,300.
You can tailor your cover to your needs. Cancellation and lost luggage cover are what most people think of. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says the average family takes £3,000 worth of belongings away with them which are at risk of being lost or stolen. But medical expenses make up the majority of claims.
If you are travelling within the EU it is tempting to think that you only need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
But an EHIC only gives you the same free healthcare as a local. This does not amount to much in some countries – if the locals expect to pay for their healthcare, you will have to as well.
Worse, it doesn’t cover the costliest part of most medical claims, which is that of getting you home. If you fall ill or have a serious accident abroad, you may need an air ambulance to get back to the UK. This will mean paying out several thousand pounds, on top of any local medical bills. Cover of at least £1million for medical expenses in Europe and £2 million if you are going further afield is often recommended. It may sound a lot, but it will suddenly look less generous if you need to start claiming on it.
For travel cover, you may be able to use comparison sites to find the best deals – but for most other insurance needs, it makes sense to get some expert advice.
Fortunately, at Continuum, we can provide the expertise you need.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
moneyweek.com – Stranded abroad? Don’t wing it – 16th April 2019
yourmoney.com – Jet Airways latest airline casualty – 18th April 2019