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Lockdown halted holidays all together at the beginning of the pandemic, before the introduction of ever-changing travel corridors. Britons hoping to book are told they are doing so with a risk, but now as Brexit ticks even closer, even more regulations are on the horizon.
Holidaymakers looking to jet off to EU destinations will now face new rules on passports, healthcare and potentially even visas as of January 1 2021.
Couple this with the Prime Minister’s warning that new lockdown regulations could be in place for as long as six months, it seems holidaymakers will have to battle an array of guidelines which could result in holiday cancellations if a solution to the pandemic is not reached.
With this in mind, travel experts have warned Britons of a vital key to protecting their holiday plans and ultimately their finances.
“If you’ve ever previously questioned the importance of travel insurance, the current pandemic should be enough to put the debate to bed,” Danny Butler, insurance expert at finder.com, told Express.co.uk.
“With government travel advice and restrictions changing all of the time, appropriate travel insurance is fundamental in protecting you and your family’s health and finances.
“As a first port of call, ensure that your airline and accommodation have a flexible cancellation and an adequate refund policy. If you’ve booked a package holiday, you should also check that your travel company is ATOL protected or similar in the unfortunate event that they have close their doors.
“Since guidance on travel is rapidly changing, the best thing to do is contact your provider before taking out a policy and studying their terms and conditions in depth.”
However, even if a solution to the current travel corridor chaos has been discovered, it doesn’t mean Britons are safe to put travel insurance to one side again.
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With the European Health Insurance Card set to be withdrawn from Britons, and the virus still likely to be prevalent in the winter months, adequate health coverage for holidays will be a crucial lifeline.
“From 2021, EHIC cards may no longer be valid, so consumers should ensure their travel insurance policy includes adequate medical cover,” warned Rory Boland, Which? travel editor.
“These potential changes to European travel will affect millions of holidaymakers, who may have already booked holidays for 2021 and will now have to factor in additional costs,” he added.
Currently, Britons are able to use the EHIC if they fall ill while on holiday.
This allows them to the same level of healthcare as residents in the EU country they are visiting.
However, after January 1 this will no longer be the case.
Though most travel providers offer medical cover, it is vital tourists check the terms and conditions of their policy, particularly when it comes to coronavirus.
“In terms of adequate travel insurance during a pandemic, unlimited medical expenses and a good cancellation cover limit is super important,” continued Mr Butler.
“There are a few providers out there with special pandemic cover – but these are likely to cost you more and have their own list of terms and conditions and caveats.”
The Government is also urging Britons to invest in travel insurance policies, not only for international travel but for staycations too.
“Wherever you’re travelling, it’s important to take out comprehensive travel insurance before you go,” warns the Government website.
“If you decide to travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is even more important that you have appropriate travel insurance.
“If you already have a travel insurance policy, you should check what cover it provides for coronavirus-related events, including medical cover and travel disruption. If you are choosing a new policy, make sure you check how it covers these issues.
“If you do not have appropriate insurance before you travel, you could be liable for emergency costs including medical treatment. We recommend you buy your travel insurance as soon as possible after booking your trip.”
It adds a further warning for those planning to travel in 2021.
“Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to December 31 2020,” it continues.
“It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
“This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.”
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