Travel Insurance: is it on your pre-holiday to do list?

Travel is full of uncertainties, and something unexpected can wreak havoc with your holiday plans. A short city break, a week long beach holiday, visiting family abroad or even if you are heading to your holiday home it’s important to think about the insurance cover you might need to make sure you are protected if the unthinkable happens. It is estimated that 40% of us have suffered problems whilst travelling, from relatively small hiccups such as lost baggage to major medical emergencies. And, worryingly half of those who had experienced such problems did not have travel insurance. Perhaps even more concerning is that, one in five holidaymakers have admitted to going abroad without insurance in the last six years. Suzi Rackley, Travel Insurance expert and Divisional Director at Lark Insurance, says “The recession has played a part in latter years as consumers cut their spending on items they deem to be non-essential. Sadly, travel insurance is often viewed as unnecessary”. “However, in reality travel insurance has never been more important, with the potential cost of a claim far outweighing the premium”. “Undoubtedly, the travel industry has been hit hard recently with air line strikes, FCO travel restrictions on holiday destinations and last years volcanic ash cloud. As a consequence, we’ve seen the pros and cons for travel insurance being debated in the media.” Suzi explains. Since these events the impact has been noticeable as there has been an increase in the number of people looking for travel insurance, and even more importantly high quality travel insurance. “Refreshingly, people are actually taking the time to read the detail of their policy to ensure that they have the cover they need.” It seems that people are finding the cheaper policies, which are often sold at the same time as the holiday itself, are not robust enough. With a host of exclusions and restrictions, the policy can’t perform when it’s put to the test. “As with any insurance policy, if it doesn’t provide the cover you need then it’s simply not worth the premium” Suzi concludes. Why should you buy travel insurance? • The cost of falling ill abroad hit a record high in 2009, according to the ABI, who reported that £274,000,000 was paid out to cover travellers’ medical bills, the equivalent to £5.3million a week. • BA cabin crew last year held 22 days of strikes • 4,000 flights were cancelled at Heathrow alone, following heavy snow fall last winter • More than one-third of flights jetting out from Luton Airport in the final quarter of 2010 were delayed, according to figures from a UK air travel watchdog. • Figures from the Air Transport Users Council (AUC) show airlines around the world ‘mishandled’ a staggering 42 million bags in 2007*, and irretrievably lost more than a million. With the number of air travellers expected to double in the next decade, the study suggests that airlines could be mishandling as many as 70 million bags a year by 2019. *The Association of European Airlines has since stopped publishing league tables detailing the difference in service quality between carriers. For more information, please contact Suzi Rackley on 01252 359060 or suzi.rackley@larkinsurance.co.uk