Millions of Brits will have booked holidays on each day between Boxing Day and New Year, if past experience is anything to go by, but many could be heading towards a financial pantomime, by overlooking the Cinderella component of travel insurance - holiday cancellation insurance.
Despite the millions of plans being made, only a fraction of those booking holidays will purchase a travel insurance policy on the same day. Most will ignore the huge importance of having holiday cancellation insurance in place, from the time they make their plans.
Leading travel insurance provider, Europesure Travel Insurance, whose policies are backed by Lloyds of London, says around 28% of booked holidays are likely to be for travel plans between seven and 12 months ahead. Around a quarter will be for holidays 4-6 months ahead. Too many holidaymakers seem to think they have a crystal ball and can predict what might happen in that timeframe.
Running the risk of having no holiday cancellation insurance
By not purchasing a travel insurance policy that provides holiday cancellation cover for their trip, these plan-makers are exposing themselves to financial loss. That could come about as a result of an illness to themselves forcing a change in plans, or through death, illness or injury to a travelling companion.
It might be because someone who was not travelling, but who is a close family member. falls ill, making it against the wishes of the holiday booker to proceed with their plans.
They could be called up for jury service and be obliged to take part. A home might suffer a fire or flood before the intended date of travel, making holiday plans impossible. A member of the travelling party might be called up for emergency service, by the armed forces, defence or civil administration authorities, police force, the fire or rescue services, a public utility or the medical service. Other scenarios might also emerge.
Europesure Travel Insurance's consumer research findings
Europesure commissioned research through Censuswide earlier in 2023, which showed that
30% of people and nearly one-in-four women (38%) would cancel a holiday if an immediate family relative fell ill and was admitted to hospital just before they were due to travel.
Despite this, the percentage of people who purchase cancellation cover on the day they make their plans, is incredibly low. Holidaymakers expose themselves to significant loss, without really giving that a second thought, in what Europesure calls ‘infallibility syndrome’.
Europesure also highlights the wisdom of booking cancellation cover at the same time as the holiday, for another reason. Its research also shows nearly 1-in-5 people (19%) admit to having completely forgotten to purchase travel insurance before heading abroad, by accident. This increases to nearly a quarter of men (24.4%) and 31% of those aged 25-34. Leaving travel insurance purchase until later increases the likelihood of forgetting it altogether.
Europesure travel insurance protection for EU and UK residents
Europesure’s travel insurance policies offer protection to residents of the UK, EU, EEA, Monaco and Gibraltar and would instantly help a travel booker get their cancellation cover in place. This would compensate them for any voluntary cancellation of the holiday, because of illness or death of a member of the travelling party, or the illness or death of a close relative who was staying behind.
It provides cover if departure is delayed by 24 hours or more, or cancelled, due to strike, industrial action, avalanche, volcanic eruption, adverse weather conditions, or accidental or mechanical breakdown, as long as these situations were not known at time of booking the trip or holiday.
Other travel cancellation scenarios
Should the insured’s house be burgled, flooded or subjected to fire just before the intended trip, meaning they need to be present to sort things out, that too is covered, as are the costs of cancellation because the intended holiday accommodation is flooded or damaged by fire. The travel policy could, alternatively, pay for the cost of alternative accommodation, to the same standard as that booked, if available.
Cancellation protection due to a jury service summons or emergency service call-up, and also redundancy, if entitled to redundancy payments, is also included.
Cover for unforeseen cancellation starts on the day the policy is purchased, or on the date specified for the start of an annual policy, regardless of when the trip is actually taking place, and ends on the last date of the policy term or the expiry of an annual multi-trip policy.
Cancellation cover does not, however, compensate those who just decide not to travel as planned, or who can no longer take time off work. The cover has strict guidelines when it comes to what the policy will and will not pay for, in this regard.
The benefits of travel and holiday cancellation insurance
“People often fail to appreciate the cancellation benefits of travel insurance and only buy a policy just before they are going away,” says Europesure Travel Insurance’s sales and marketing director, Paul O’Sullivan.
“Cancellation is the Cinderella item of travel insurance, appreciated far less than other factors such as emergency medical treatment overseas, personal injury and losses of items such as money, gadgets and passports. Attitudes need to change. People should get in the habit of buying travel insurance the minute a holiday is booked.”
To find the right policy for you, you can head to www.europesuretravelinsurance.com where three bands of travel insurance – Silver, Gold and Platinum – are available, offering cancellation cover of £1500, £2500 and £5000 respectively, alongside a host of other benefits.