CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Importance of travel insurance this winter

PUBLISHED: 15:58 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 22:01 21 February 2013

The recent collapse of another airline has spelt more holiday misery for thousands of travellers. Make sure you know your rights should you become a victim of such a development, says Adam Aiken...

The recent collapse of another airline has spelt more holiday misery for thousands of travellers. Make sure you know your rights should you become a victim of such a development, says Adam Aiken.

The importance of making sure your holiday flights are properly covered in the event of financial failure was thrown sharply back into focus recently with the collapse of a major budget airline.

Flyglobespan, based in Scotland but which has operated out of airports around the UK, went into administration in December, leaving thousands of people stranded overseas or holding tickets for future flights that wont now be honoured.

Ryanair, Easyjet, Virgin Atlantic and Flybe are among the operators offering to help repatriate holidaymakers, while insurers say it is important that people speak to their brokers and check their small print.

In practice, its likely everyone will get back home without too much trouble, but doing so could prove to be an expensive headache for many.

As well as being a shock for people directly affected by the Flyglobespan collapse, the episode provides a warning for all other travellers; a few simple checks at the outset can help mitigate much of the misery should the worst happen to you. Rochelle Turner, from Which? Holiday, says: With yet another airline collapsing, leaving thousands of Brits stranded either overseas or with future flights that they cannot take, its really important that people take steps toensure they are protected should a similar incident occur in the future.
So, where do travellers actually stand?


Travel operators licences and bonds

In the case of Flyglobespan, about 1,100 passengers now abroad on packages with the companys tour operator division are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority-run Air Travel Organisers Licensing (Atol) system.

Any Atol-backed holiday package comes with the security of knowing that alternative arrangements will be made in the event of your operator coming unstuck financially. So, if youre buying a package holiday, check if youll be covered by Atol.

Meanwhile, flight and holiday companies can be covered by the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) scheme. Travellers on an Abta-bonded trip will also be covered should their airline go bust.

A message on the Abta website yesterday said Globespan was not one of its members, Even so, it is another safety net you might think worth considering.


Travel insurance

It goes without saying that no one should travel without some form of insurance cover, but dont assume your policy will cover you should your flights be cancelled because of financial failure.

Steve Williams, head of travel insurance at Confused.com, says many people would be surprised to find out that the financial collapse of an airline is not covered by most mainstream travel insurance providers. It looks like the 2009 festive getaway will be one to remember for all the wrong reasons, he said.

The difference in policy terms
and conditions demonstrates the importance of people checking the small print at the point of purchase and assessing whether or not the cover offered is adequate for their needs.

The British Insurance Brokers Association (Biba) says it is important for travellers affected by an airlines collapse to contact their insurance providers.

It says there are policies available that offer the necessary protection, and the collapse of Flyglobespan has underlined the need for people to spend time arranging the right cover.

This really highlights the importance for travellers to focus on the cover within their policy and not just the price, especially independent travellers who are not assisted by [Atol or Abta] package holiday protection, said Graeme Trudgill, Bibas technical and corporate affairs executive.

One mainstream insurer that does offer such cover is Direct Line, and the company was unsurprisingly quick to make that known after the developments with Globespan.

Jennifer Thomas, of the insurer, said: Holidaymakers are understandably looking to spend less on travel these days, and booking directly with airlines and hotels can be a good way of getting more while spending less.

However, this means that it is now more essential than ever to have insurance in case these firms fail, as there is no protection from schemes such as Atol or Abta if booked direct.

With our updated travel insurance policies, our customers can now travel with increased peace of mind knowing that they will be covered in the unfortunate event of a suppliers collapse.


Credit cards

The other trick is to make sure you have paid for all or part of your flights by credit card.

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, a credit card company is jointly liable for goods or services costing between 100 and 30,000.

And the good news is that, even if only part of the purchase has been made on the card, the issuer is jointly responsible for the entire product in this case, an airline ticket. So, if you buy tickets worth 500 and use a card to pay for, say, 150 of the bill, the card company is jointly liable for the entire purchase.

Flyglobespan passengers who used their credit cards to book their tickets should find they are covered by their card issuers.

Should such a thing happen to you while youre abroad, it may be that you will have to make your own arrangements to get home and then claim back your expenses later. But if your travel operator fails before you have travelled, it might

be worth calling the credit company first.

In the case of most business failures, its the passengers who are normally at the back of the queue as far as getting their money back is concerned.

So, while you will need to lodge a formal claim with the administrators, it is likely to be your card company that ends up reimbursing you.

Some people dont like using their credit cards to book holidays because many airlines and tour operators sneakily charge a fee for paying by plastic.

But, as recent events have shown and as will no doubt be the case again soon paying a relatively small fee for the privilege of using a credit card can pay handsome dividends should your dream holiday bite the dust.


0 comments

More from Out & About

From your first step, you will see superb views from hilltops and farmland footpaths on this walk

Read more
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

To mark the centenary of the end of World War One we visit some of the memorials erected across Dorset to remember the fallen in the ‘war to end all wars’

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

This lovely walk takes us from watercress beds to a church famous for its life-size carvings of apostles

Read more
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Autumn is a great time to brush up on your gardening knowledge with the help of some experts, as well as see some well known gardens in a different light

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The guide to Dorset’s best firework displays and bonfire events happening in 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Prepare to experience the paranormal this Hallowe’en as Visit Dorset reveals some of the county’s most haunted pubs, stately homes, historic buildings and tanks

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to German Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Dorset this season

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Dorset villages are some of the most beautiful in England – think winding lanes, thatched cottages and a cosy pub or welcoming tea room. We suggest ten of the prettiest villages to visit in the county

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

Follow in the footsteps of the Romans on this lovely walk that takes in rare habitat, ancient woodland and glorious views

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

This challenging coastal walk rewards your efforts with spectacular views along the Jurassic Coast

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Marine photographer Steve Belasco shares some very special wildlife moments

Read more
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

TravelSupermarket has uncovered the top 25 most popular UK beaches on Instagram after analysing hashtags used for over 1,100 beaches and Bournemouth comes out on top

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ride + Stride, Dorset Historic Churches Trust’s annual fundraising event, is a great way to explore and support some of the county’s more unusual places of worship

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search