Top tips for protecting your holiday

Have you arranged your holiday cover?

No, not someone you can trust to take care of business while you are away – insurance protection for your trip itself.

You could argue that it is not essential. You could get away on schedule, find everything is the way it should be when you arrive and come back in one piece, complete with luggage.

But not everyone will be so fortunate. Your big family holiday is often one of your biggest financial commitments each year. Protecting your investment in fun is simply good sense, and it could save you from financial problems – especially this year when the travel industry is in chaos. Staff shortages mean airports and airlines have been struggling to cope with demand, leading to lengthy queues, delays and cancellations. Some dream holidays may turn into nightmares.

Fortunately, travel insurance is easy to arrange, but getting the most suitable cover is essential.

Protection for your holiday

Holiday companies and airlines may have a greater potential to fail at present, which could leave you stranded on the other side of the planet.

Fortunately, package holidays usually have automatic protection from ATOL (Air Travel Organisers’ Licence) and ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) cover. 

ABTA covers coach, rail and cruise holidays.  If your travel company is an ABTA member you will be entitled to a refund if you are yet to travel, and hotel costs and transport home if you are already abroad.

ATOL provides similar cover for airline holidays.

Your package holiday should be safe, but flights booked directly with an airline are not protected by the ATOL scheme and neither scheme gives any assistance if there are other problems with your holiday. You still need protection for yourself and your travelling companions. It is essential – some package operators even make travel insurance a condition of booking.  

The cover you need should include: 

Trip cancellation. Even if your travel company stays solvent and the airport allows you to fly, you might need to cancel through illness or other problems. This could mean losing your money, unless you have cancellation insurance. It should cover weather or airline-related issues, things such as sudden unrest or natural disasters at your destination, and things such as the death or hospitalisation of close family members. It would also cover illness or injury to you or a travelling companion. 

Medical emergencies.  Health care is expensive internationally. Being hospitalised abroad could be unaffordable and hospital bills in the US may be frightening. But the costs of having to arrange an air ambulance home could be astronomical. 

Medical travel insurance cover takes care of hospitalisation worldwide, medical bills, hospital bills, emergency medical expenses, dental procedures, and repatriation. Pre-existing conditions can be covered, but you will have to tell the insurer about them and the cost may increase accordingly.

Loss of Personal Belongings. Baggage loss during a trip can spoil your mood and mean problems in continuing the trip. Cover for luggage, and for expensive items like cameras and laptops means theft or loss may not ruin your trip.

You should not leave arranging cover until you are ready to go. At the very least, you should arrange it when you book your trip. That way, you will be covered not just while you are out of the country, but for cancellation or anything else that might go wrong before you make your trip. 

Cutting the costs

The costs of cover can be moderate, but there are some ways to keep the price down

  • Costs will vary, so you should shop around
  • Don’t buy from a travel agent. A broker or online service could cost a lot less.
  • Consider an annual policy. It not only provides all the cover you need including cancellation, it can work out cheaper than arranging a policy for each trip if you go away more than once a year. 
  • combined policy can cover you, your partner or your entire family.  Children going on a school trip may be covered automatically on a family policy. But be wary if one of your group is over 65.  For family or group cover, the price is based on the oldest traveller – so individual cover may cost less overall
  • Visit our Continuum Perks site for the latest savings and discounts on all your travel essentials  

Find out if winter sports cover is included. This is more expensive – don’t buy it if you are not taking a skiing holiday.

The cover you need

For help with any of your insurance questions, not just travel, please contact us today.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable insurance product, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.

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