Review of travel insurance regulations sought by ABTA

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is urging the British government to review the regulations pertaining to the sale of travel insurance.

ABTA’s move has been triggered by a rising trend in the number of British holidaymakers travelling abroad without adequate insurance. In 2011, 20 percent of travellers did not have insurance, but this figure had risen to 25 percent by 2012, according to an ABTA survey.

In ABTA’s opinion, the decline in those travelling with insurance followed the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) 2007 decision to regulate travel insurance sales. ABTA also believes that travel insurance is best sold by the agent that books the travel, as they are the most aware of what the trip involves and any special cover that it will require. The association’s members have registered their concerns that travellers rely too heavily on what they believe to be the protection afforded by the European Health Insurance Card, and that they are also unaware of the exact cover that they are receiving from travel cover offered as a perk of some bank accounts and insurance policies.

The UK Treasury is to be informed of the travel industry’s concern that the current regulation of travel insurance sales is damaging to both businesses and travellers.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive, said, ‘The concern ABTA and many of our members have is that the regulations are too burdensome, which means fewer travel businesses are selling insurance, and ultimately that means fewer holidaymakers are taking out the appropriate insurance.

‘The government must do all that it can to make it easy for people to buy the right type of cover for their needs and that starts by cutting red tape; we will continue to make our members’ views clear to government.

‘In the meantime, it is very important that members familiarise themselves with their rights and responsibilities in informing customers about travel insurance.’

ABTA is to partner with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in a new campaign to emphasise the importance of insurance to travellers, while the Association’s website, www.ABTA.com/travelinsurance, will provide a full guide to travel insurance.

The ins and outs of travel insurance

Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York in November, caused much destruction and disruption for both residents and tourists in its wake and has put the onus firmly on insurance firms.

Many victims were thoroughly dismayed to learn that their policies did not provide adequate cover and compensate them for the effects of the tragedy.

Despite the fact that according to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), a total of £416million was paid out by its members last year to policy holders affected by the hurricane, many complaints have been raised about the lack of clarity with regard to the depth of cover provided by travel insurance policies.

Accordingly, this article seeks to remove some of the mystery:

1) An accident occurred on the motorway on my way to the airport causing lengthy tailbacks and I missed my flight – can I make a claim to regain the cost of the missed flight?

This is a common cause for complaint, because unfortunately the answer to this question will normally be ‘no’. Only if your car was directly involved in the accident will you receive compensation – personally injury specialists such as first 4lawyers solicitors are great for this kind of eventuality.

2) A tornado caused a falling branch to fall on top of me and I need treatment- will I be able to claim on my travel insurance?

Most definitely. Any treatment that you need will be covered, as will the cost of medical repatriation. If you feel that you have been the victim of medical negligence after your accident and wish to seek compensation, you should perhaps contact medical injury lawyers like medicalsolicitors.co.uk at the earliest possible opportunity.

3) I’ve bought my tickets but the airline I was flying with has gone bust – will the terms of my insurance agreement force the insurance firm to pay out?

Generally no, as travel insurance is designed to cover risk only. However, a small number of policies do now include Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI).

4) I was supposed to be going to Egypt at the end of the week, but a terrorist bomb has just exploded near my hotel, and now I’m too frightened to go – will my insurance company pay out for a cancellation?

This is a tough one. This is referred to in insurance quarters as ‘disinclination to travel’ and is not usually covered, but a handful of policies will cover you if the UK government specifically advises against travelling to that particular destination.

Keeping Costs Down When Travelling

As fun as travelling can be, it is not always cheap. Whether on a business trip, holiday or simply visiting friends and family, everyone needs to travel occasionally. As such, keeping the costs down is always appreciated. Learning that now, rather than later, will not only save you more money, but help turn it into a vital skill in the years to come.

Additionally, many of the tips and techniques here might still be beneficial to the frequent traveller. There is always something new to learn, and there are definitely always ways to keep costs down for those who seek them.

Travelling Options: Insurance

First of all, it might be a surprise to look into insurance options when travelling, but your choice of transport definitely adds a certain cost.

Vehicle insurance is expensive, as are the running costs of owning a vehicle. If you don’t travel that often, owning such a vehicle may seem pointless. It could sit in your drive, only being used for short distances in day to day life where public transport would suffice.

Instead, consider renting a car when you need it. By only driving in short time frames throughout the year, you’ll find that car club insurance can be surprisingly cheap. Compare this to the costs of owning a car all year around, and the maths should speak clearly.

Accommodation

Similar to your transport options, a lot of people often go for overtly expense accommodation. Hotels can be effective, but you really need to assess your use of them.

If you just want a bed for the night, a motel or B&B might be much cheaper. Hotels can charge a hefty fee per night, which they often justify for the atmosphere and additional facilities. Unless you’re making full use of the hotel, there isn’t always much point to them. If you’re just using the room, the basic facilities found here can be found in most forms of accommodation.

Moving down the scale will provide you with more money from savings without sacrificing much. A bed and bathroom are all that most people require, so it doesn’t always make sense to go to an expensive hotel.

Saving Money

In short, these are only some basic areas, but they are the areas where a lot of money goes when travelling. If you cut down your transport and accommodation options, for instance, then you’ll start to save a surprising amount of money.

For the likes of holidays, this excess cash is certainly welcome. Yet, even for simple trips, any money saved is a general advantage. Money is scarce these days, so being able to hold on to what you really helps you stretch your money further on any income.

So, whether it’s renting a car instead of owning one, or considering different accommodation, there are a few options open to anyone who’s willing to try something different and bring down their expenses as a result.

Direct Travel Insurance – 20% Summer Discount, Plus Talking Nurses

Direct Travel Insurance (DTI) is offering a 20% discount on all new travel insurance policies bought between now and 31st July 2012, to celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year.

DTI is a leading company in direct travel insurance and provided over half a million UK travellers with travel insurance and peace of mind last year.

‘What is Calpol in Greek?’, ‘Where is the nearest pharmacy to my hotel?’ – DTI Talking Nurses have the answers

A key benefit of all DTI policies is access to Talking Nurses: a unique helpline service which provides guidance on health problems, information on foreign hospitals and clinics, details of foreign brand names and even information on what prescription medication is called in different languages. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no extra cost for DTI policyholders.

DTI ‘s Terrie Ryan says, ‘We’ve noticed an increase in calls about stomach upsets abroad over the last few weeks. Also with our wet and cold summer, problems with dehydration could be more common owing to the sudden increase in temperature experienced on arrival in hot destinations such as southern Europe, or north Africa, so it is important to increase the amount of fluids consumed.’?

Terrie continues, ‘We spend a lot of time reassuring holidaymakers about how the hospital care system works abroad. For example in Italy, Spain, Turkey and Greece nurses don’t provide basic care, so a family member will have to buy food for their loved one and help with basic care such as trips to the toilet, changing bed linen or getting them dressed. In fact, a bed is often provided for the relative to stay alongside the patient to provide that care. The language barrier can create extra concern if you are taken ill abroad. At DTI Talking Nurses we can provide a translator to help with explanations of medical conditions and treatment.’

DTI Travel Health Tips

· Carry any essential medicine in your hand luggage for easy access. Take your repeat prescription slip with you in case for example you need replacement medicine owing to lost baggage

· If travelling by plane you won’t be able to take liquid medicines that exceed 100ml limits, so if you have children it may be worth stocking up on some children’s paracetamol at a supermarket or pharmacy when you arrive at the resort

· Food must be piping hot, whether you are in your hotel restaurant or at a fast food stall, so avoid buffets and follow the golden rules of eating abroad: ‘cook it, peel it, or forget it’

· Children’s ear and throat infections are often caught from swimming pools abroad, so always get the kids to shower off when they come out of the pool

· If you are travelling far afield always seek medical advice, ideally several months before travelling. The website Fit for Travel: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx is an excellent source of advice

What Direct Travel Insurance Offers:

· A range of policies, including Single Trip, Annual, Backpacker and Ski Insurance, to suit the needs and budgets of holidaymakers or business travellers.

· Travel insurance from as little as £2.75 and annual multi trip insurance available from £14.95

· Optional extras including Natural Catastrophe and Additional Personal Accident Cover.

· All DTI Standard, Premier and Premier Plus policies include Scheduled Airline Failure Cover, so that if an airline a policyholder has booked with files for bankruptcy, £1,500 will be provided to cover travel by alternative means

· All DTI insurance policies include emergency 24 hour medical repatriation service

· Dependent children, age 17 or under, can be included for free on family travel insurance

· DT Travel insurance is available from http://www.direct-travel.co.uk/ or by phoning 0845 605 2700 and is quick and easy to apply for

Commenting on the summer discount, Warren D’Souza, Head of Digital Marketing for DTI says, ‘DTI is one of the best kept secrets of the travel insurance industry, having provided UK travellers with great value for money policies since 1992. Our new summer discount gives even more reasons to choose DTI for travel insurance this summer.’

Customer Case Study

The importance of declaring pre-medical conditions was highlighted when a customer called DTI ahead of a trip to Boston, USA.? In disclosing controlled high blood pressure, DTI’s underwriters were able to accept the risk and issue cover. This was important as the customer suffered a cardiac arrest when disembarking the plane?and DTI’s medical team worked with the treating doctors to ensure the customer received the highest level of hospital care.? The customer was fitted with a pacemaker before returning home in upgraded seats with a medical escort.? The total bill for the claim came in at $250,000.

 

British Holiday Travellers Unaware of Their Travel Insurance Status

British travellers may not be suitably insured while on holiday, says a survey by Hiscox, a UK-based insurance provider.

The survey indicates that around 19 percent of the respondents have reported that they have not taken out any travel policy for holidays, or think that they are covered under another policy, such as health etc, or do not know if they are covered or not.

The study showed that around 18 percent of respondents assume that their travel agent or airline will compensate their flight cancellation, 21 percent felt that a travel industry body would cover them for a flight cancellation, 26 percent believe they are covered by a travel policy from their bank account, 13 percent of respondents are not sure if they are covered against flight cancellation, and only 36 percent of adventure sports lovers ever check the status of their travel insurance before going on a holiday.

Colin Wallace, the company insurance expert, said, ‘Recent changes in the rules governing the sales of holidays have further strengthened consumer protection. However understanding what you are covered for can become confusing and there is a worrying degree of complacency when it comes to Britons making sure that they have the right travel insurance, or indeed any cover at all.

Taking the time to think through your travel plans and what type of cover you need can help take the stress out of travel. Comprehensive travel insurance, such as the Hiscox policy, should cover you for eventualities that you may not always be aware of, such as the financial failure of a flight or other travel service disruption.’

Be Sure About Your Health Insurance While Travelling In Europe

British travellers to Europe are often unaware of the differences in their health insurance regarding what is available in the UK, and what they are entitled to while travelling, so much so that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British government department that promotes UK interests globally, has announced new advice for visitors to Europe.

A new survey by Gocompare.com, an insurance comparison website, has revealed that around 50 percent of British travellers believe that a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will entitle them to a similar level of state medical care in European countries, to that which they receive in the UK via the National Health Service (NHS).

While a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is essential for British travellers to Europe, it does not, however mean that all care in all European countries is completely free of charge, or that it is to the same level as received in the UK. The recent FCO travel advisory has urged British travellers to check the restrictions on the EHIC before commencing on European travel.

The EHIC provides for complimentary treatment, or treatment at a reduced price, in 27 member countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), but the provisions for health care vary from country to country.

Lynda St Cooke, from the FCO’s ‘Know Before You Go Campaign’, said, ‘It is worrying that so many British EHIC holders are not aware of what the card entitles them to. If you are travelling in Europe, you should definitely take your EHIC – you can apply for it free on the NHS website. But it is also important to take out comprehensive travel insurance before you travel.’

Jeremy Cryer, head of travel insurance at Gocompare.com, said, ‘The name ‘European Health Insurance Card’ suggests that it provides a greater level of medical cover than it actually does. It’s a useful thing to carry with you on holiday in Europe but it’s no substitute for having proper travel insurance.’

Half of Cruisers Don’t Purchase Travel Insurance

A new study by an independent cruise comparison website, CruiseCompare.co.uk, has revealed that more than half, 52%, of cruisers don’t purchase travel insurance for their holiday, however, in contrast, only 13% of holidaymakers who choose ‘beach holidays’ admitted to not purchasing travel insurance for their trip.

 

The research, conducted by http://www.CruiseCompare.co.uk, was part of a study into the attitudes holidaymakers have towards purchasing travel insurance and certain aspects of the bookings process. 1,281 holidaymakers were subsequently polled.

 

Initially, the respondents were asked by CruiseCompare.co.uk, ‘Do you purchase travel insurance when taking a holiday?’ Of the respondents that usually went on a cruise for their holiday, 52%, answered ‘no’.

 

Furthermore, 13% of the respondents who said ‘beach holidays’ were their usual choice of trip, admitted to not purchasing travel insurance, along with 4% of the respondents who frequently went on skiing holidays.

 

The respondents to the study who admitted to not purchasing travel insurance for cruises were asked to explain their reasons for their decision.  More than a third, 34%, stated that the reduced risk of ‘luggage going missing’ was why they didn’t feel the need to purchase travel insurance.

 

Furthermore, less than a fifth, 19%, of the cruisers who admitted to not purchasing travel insurance stated that it was because they were not ‘relying on flights and transfers’. An additional 14% of the cruisers asked admitted that they didn’t purchase holiday insurance because of the ‘safety’ onboard a cruise liner.

 

According to the results from CruiseCompare.co.uk, more than half, 52%, of the respondents who said that they didn’t go on cruise holidays and also didn’t purchase travel insurance cited that the ‘expense’ of the cover was their reason for not purchasing  the protection.

 

Danielle Fear, Managing Director of CruiseCompare.co.uk, had the following to say:

 

“Travel insurance can be an additional expense to a holiday; however I would still strongly suggest purchasing it, as it acts as a great form of protection against a variety of possible scenarios and events, including baggage loss and theft. Much like a person searches for the best possible deal on their holiday price, there are different insurance packages available at varying prices, so it is worth conducting a detailed search for the best possible deal.”

 

She continued: “If people are considering a cruise holiday I would strongly suggest purchasing some form of insurance, more for peace of mind than anything. There is something magical about a cruise liner and sailing into the sunset, as the holiday is certainly full of adventures. If cruisers are insured, they can rest assured that everything is covered, allowing them to kick back and enjoy the experience