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Travel insurance is always vital whenever you jet off and should be bought at the same time you purchase the trip. It’s easy to think that if you’re staying in the UK then holiday insurance is not necessary. However, this is not the case – protection is still very much needed, especially as travel restrictions clamp down on Britons.
Express.co.uk spoke to two travel insurance experts for their travel advice on how anyone taking a staycation this autumn can best cover themselves during these uncertain times.
Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director of Medical Travel Compared, said: “With the Government’s new announcement of new local lockdown tiers, many parts of the country are going to face disruption to their staycation plans.
“For those who fall within the High tier they will be asked not to mix households indoors, and for those in the Very High tier, such as Liverpool, all non-essential travel is advised against.”
So what should travellers with hotels booked who are now unable to travel do?
“If you already have hotel accommodation booked and now need to cancel due to the lockdown restrictions you should, in the first instance, contact your hotel provider – as they may be able to move your booking dates, or even provide a refund,” explained Lloyd.
It’s also vital to get travel insurance, no matter how near or far your getaway, as you might not have a choice about your accommodation availability.
Antony Martin, Managing Director at Insurefor.com, said: “It is important to take out travel insurance for a staycation under normal circumstances to cover various issues such as cancellation in case you or your travel companion falls ill just before the trip, curtailment in case you have to cut your staycation short, transport delays, lost or stolen luggage and personal liability to cover legal expenses if you’re held responsible for causing damages or injury to another person while on holiday.
“However, in the current situation, it is vital for travellers to take out travel insurance that covers against COVID-related issues both pre-departure and during a trip as well as the points listed above.”
He added: “Following the government’s introduction of a new three-tier system… more UK regions may go back into lockdown if there is a spike in cases, so we advise Brits to ensure they have the necessary cover, should their chosen accommodation be required to close.
Holidaymakers are also advised to check the fine print of their holiday insurance policy.
“If you have travel insurance cover in place, it’s best to check with your travel insurance provider to see what you are covered for,” said Lloyd.
“Some policies will specifically exclude cancellation due to Government advice, whilst other may be able to help you with the costs if you are forced to quarantine in your local area, providing you were unaware of the restrictions when you took out your policy.”
Some Britons may well be tempted to flout the rules and travel anyway, but what implications might this have?
Lloyd warned that going against government advice would likely invalidate your travel insurance.
The expert advised: “As we know, with holidaying abroad at the moment, you’d need to check the government’s advice about the country you are going to visit to see if the government is advising against travel there, or indeed if you have to quarantine when you get back to the UK.
“Most travel insurance policies won’t be able to cover you if you travel against government advice.
“In the same way for local lockdowns, it’s worth keeping an eye on areas that fall into the highest restricted areas, as the government are asking you to avoid travelling in or out of these areas if possible.
“If you have a staycation booked to one of these areas, check with your travel insurance provider first to see whether you would be covered.”
As for what to look for when buying travel insurance, Lloyd recommended: “The main things you should look for within your UK travel insurance policy are cancellation cover (for your home transport and accommodation costs) and delays, cover for a holiday being cut short (this is usually called ‘curtailment’, lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal liability.”
“When getting cancellation cover you need to make sure the amount is enough to cover all of your expenditure on your travel and accommodation costs – you don’t want to be left short if the worst should happen. The cover limits are usually per person, so do bear this in mind.”
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