Travel insurance has never been more vital than during the covid crisis. With so much uncertainty still swirling, holidaymakers must be sure to adequately protect themselves. However, consumers are warned to expect delays from insurers as the pandemic drags on.
“Unfortunately, the main thing consumers should expect is delays,” Aman Johal, Director and Lawyer at Your Lawyers, told Express.co.uk.
“Delays in getting through to helplines, delays in getting a decision and delays in getting compensation.
“These delays are likely down to the sheer number of people making claims, but they are also down to the likelihood that insurers are probably operating with skeleton staff and struggling with the same coronavirus logistical challenges that most businesses are facing.”
Johal also cautioned in his travel advice that consumers should be aware of the financial impact of coronavirus on the insurance industry.
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In early 2020, Johal explained, “the Association of British Insurers estimated that travel insurers in Britain could be hit with a record-breaking estimate of at least £275million in claims caused by the outbreak.
“That’s a staggering £213million higher than the £62 million insurers paid out for cancellation and disruption following the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption in Iceland.
“It’s an eye-watering figure and will definitely impact the speed and ability of insurers to compensate consumers.”
Holidaymakers whose trips have been cancelled can take action if a refund isn’t issued.
“In the wake of the coronavirus crisis and its disastrous impact on the travel industry, we’ve seen many airlines offer customer credit vouchers, rather than refunds,” said Johal.
“Consumers need to know that they don’t have to accept this, especially where there are alternative options available. In reality, this can come down to what is agreed in the terms and conditions of the insurance.
“As a potential alternative, if you paid for the whole of your holiday using a credit card, or paid for part of it by more than £100, you could be entitled to claim the full cost back under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
“You could make a claim via the provider which sends your bank statements i.e. Barclays or HSBC, rather than Mastercard. This does, however, depend on the original terms and conditions also.”
Johal continued: “You could also pursue a legal case to get your money back, but this would likely involve having to instruct a solicitor to initiate a claim in contract.
“Taking this route could be costly. It’s important to weigh up the amount of money needed to pursue the case against the original cost of the holiday.
“In other words, if you paid thousands of pounds for a dream holiday then it may be worth it, but it might be a waste of time and money if you only spent a couple of hundred pounds on a weekend away.”
For jet-setters looking to take out travel insurance in 2021, it’s important to remember to do so when you book your holiday to make sure you are sufficiently protected.
It’s also key you do sufficient research into both your destination and your potential policy to make sure it covers your needs.
Sasha Gainullin, CEO at insurance company battleface commented: “When travelling internationally, it’s vital that travellers continue to check travel advisories and seek the right travel insurance to the destination they are travelling to.
“Many destinations are now requiring travellers to have the right type of travel insurance before entering the country.”