Many years ago, even the idea of an overseas trip would have appeared wildly exciting, but some Brits have become so accustomed to really making the best of their free time by exploring the widest reaches of the world that more unusual holiday destinations, such as Iraq and Zimbabwe, are increasingly appearing on the exotic trek agenda.
Insurers have been known to provide cover to dangerous destinations, but consultation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is also recommended. A quick spot of research on the internet reveals that even the most challenging of trips can be covered by travel insurance. In a lot of these cases the premiums may well be costly as the dangerous circumstances that may well arise are more of a probability than a possibility.
Of course a lot of the mainstream insurers will not be able to protect the truly wild and adventurous activities, but a conversation with either the destination country’s UK Embassy or a look at various travel blogs should answer the essential queries about what insurance policies are available and what they cover. It is important that if someone is intending to travel to a dangerous area that they inform as many people as possible about their plans and try to invest in a satellite telephone, in case communication should become difficult. It is also essential to be completely honest when applying for holiday insurance.
Increasingly the travel insurance industry is sympathetic to claims for holiday travel cancellations as long as this aspect of cover is detailed in the policy document and the reasons given are genuine. For example, an accident or an unforeseen geographical event such as the Japanese tsunami would count as an unavoidable incident.
Unfortunately, there are those who think that the flimsiest of excuses suffice as a reason to cancel their holiday and are then surprised that their insurer doesn’t view their excuses as reasonable. Recently, a major UK insurer listed some of these strange thought processes and these included the couple who felt that they had the right to cancel as they didn’t want to miss an episode of the UK reality TV show ‘Big Brother’. Another bizarre excuse that was actually given as a reason for cancellation was when a policy holder decided that her holiday was no longer necessary as she had applied a fake tan and this had been her sole reason for venturing abroad.
Insurers exist to cover genuine problems and mishaps but they can hardly be expected to provide cover for the gentleman who claimed that going to Spain would make him “too Spanish” and he therefore tried to claim back the cost of his holiday on his travel insurance. Conversely, there are many stories about the travel insurance industry coming to the rescue of their clients in highly unusual circumstances, not least of which is the gentleman who spent too long in the sun and consequently had to spend the rest of his holiday in hospital. Needless to say, his insurer did protect him.
It is a great scheme that is designed to provide the traveller with help should the airline or airline tour operator experience problems and collapses whilst you are away in a foreign land. The scheme known as ATOL is a protection scheme for flights and air holidays, managed by the Civil Aviation Authority. ATOL protects you from losing money or being stranded abroad if the tour operator goes out of business, but only if the company is a registered ATOL protected one.
In September new regulations were implemented, which meant that Britons who book an ATOL protected holiday must now receive a yellow certificate, this explains in detail what is protected on the holiday, also with a number which will speed up claims. However it seems that some companies are cheating and falsely claiming on their websites they are an ATOL-registered company, which in a recent case a company wasn’t and was fined. The CAA is investing a number of other firms and more prosecutions are expected shortly. It has to be remembered that you may not be covered by the scheme if you build your own holiday buying flights and accommodation from different suppliers, so great care should be taken as a flight only booking could be unprotected, other than by insurance specifically taken out by you.
Many of us take the easy option and just agree to the travel agent arranging our travel insurance requirements when we are booking our holiday. However, you may find that this works out much more expensive compared to searching and checking online for your insurance.
You could end up paying five times more for your travel insurance by allowing your travel agent to arrange for you. Free insurance packages are not free, as you will be paying for the policy somewhere.
Online companies that offer travel insurance can reduce costs because they do not have high overheads. Using price comparison websites can save you time and energy, as you will not have to apply to online insurers individually. You can compare more than 500 policies within a few minutes and tailor your selected policy to suit your needs. Although you may feel that the cheapest policy is not necessarily the best, picking the best expensive policy may not cover your needs either, so you should use comparison websites to make your policy selection easily.