- 58% of travel policies bought within a week of departure;
- More than a fifth (27%) are bought on the same day;
- Just 15% are bought more than a month in advance of travelling.
Research from Gocompare.com travel insurance has found that millions of holidaymakers are taking an unnecessary gamble with their holiday costs by ignoring valuable cancellation cover.
According to the comparison site, more than half (58%) of the UK holiday makers who purchased their single trip travel insurance through Gocompare.com last year arranged their cover within a week of their holiday start date. This includes more than a fifth (27%) who arranged their cover on the actual day of departure.
Just 15% of the single trip travel insurance policies purchased last year through Gocompare.com were bought more than a month ahead of the trip.
97%* of single trip policies provide some level of cancellation cover as standard which starts as soon as you purchase the policy, not on your date of travel. This cancellation cover provides valuable protection against events affecting you long before you even leave your home. Around three quarters of policies provide £1500 or more worth of cancellation cover.
According to statistics from the ABI, nearly one third of travel insurance claims made by UK holidaymakers are for costs related to cancellations. Insurers paid out £128m to 160,000 customers in 2015 to cover the cost of cancelling their holiday, an average of around £800 per person.
However, insurers will only consider cancellation claims for events travellers could not have known about before arranging their insurance. Therefore, the sooner they buy the policy, the more likely it is they’ll be covered if something happens between booking their holiday and going on their trip.
Cancellation cover would enable the holidaymaker to reclaim the costs of their holiday, up to the cover limit and minus any excess, should certain circumstances arise before going away. These may include a serious illness or injury affecting someone in the travelling party or a close relative, such as a parent or child, who isn’t travelling but with whom they would like to remain at home.
Having a serious fire or flood at home may be another reason why you might want to cancel or postpone your holiday, but may be covered for under your travel insurance policy. Also, you can’t usually refuse jury service because of a holiday booking, but if you didn’t know about it before you arranged your insurance you may be able to reclaim some or all of the costs of cancelling or postponing your trip.
Alex Edwards, from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance said; “Most people book their holidays well in advance of travelling and they’re often committing a significant amount of money, especially if long haul flights are involved. Having to cancel the trip for personal reasons could see them losing thousands of pounds if they don’t have the benefit of cancellation cover. Unfortunately, our research has revealed that more than half of UK holidaymakers are either making a huge assumption that only something which happens within a week of their holiday will cause them to cancel it, or they’re just not thinking about the risks at all.”
“You can’t insure yourself against circumstances you were already aware of. For example, if a family member becomes seriously ill in the lead up to the holiday you can’t then take out travel insurance with the intention of cancelling your trip. Similarly, you can’t learn about potential serious disruption to your holiday plans, such as that caused by civil unrest or natural disasters, buy a policy and then expect to be able to claim if you then decide to change your plans. The insurer will check when you could have reasonably become aware of the potential disruption, and if it was before you arranged your travel insurance an insurer may decline a claim.
“Arrange your travel cover very soon after you book your holiday rather than leaving it to the last minute and you’ll benefit from any cancellation cover provided by your policy as soon as you buy it.
“Although it’s wise to arrange your travel insurance very soon after booking your holiday, don’t immediately buy your holiday company’s or travel agents’ packaged cover. They’re usually more expensive than those you can find offering similar cover for a lower premium by shopping around online.”
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Notes to editors:
*source: Defaqto Matrix research of 869 single trip travel insurance policies - 14 March 2017.
**source - ABI – Travel Insurers pay out £1m every day – 11/06/2016