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Why you should (probably) be paying £9 more for your travel insurance

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Sep 26, 2017


Ryanair, fresh from its flight-cancellations fiasco, is now launching a massive sale of ultra-cheap flights, over a million of them by the time it’s done, it says, with some prices to many destinations as low as £9.99.

It doesn’t say whether the pilot’s included at that price!

Is this Ryanair’s way of saying, “sorry”?

Maybe.

Compare travel insurers and make sure you're covered.

One thing’s for sure, though, if we’ve all learned anything from the Ryanair saga it’s this: check that holiday insurance policy small print, and make sure you’ve got the right cover for your needs.

Of course, Ryanair refunded on all cancelled flights, or offered alternatives. Fair enough.

But, of the 315,000 customers affected by the 2,100 cancelled flights, how many were left out of pocket because of messed up accommodation, travel bookings to and from airports, and many other pre-paid expenses that are part of a trip overseas?

Many of those affected will be hoping to claim on their travel insurance.

And very many are going to be disappointed.

 

Key phrase

That’s because their insurance won’t cover them for these so-called “consequential losses”.

Many travellers are also surprised that the compensation that airlines must pay for disrupted, seriously delayed or cancelled flights is also pretty miserly.

Under EU legislation passengers whose travel plans are disrupted in this way are entitled to out-of-pocket expenses caused directly by the flight delay – this includes such things as the cost of overnight accommodation if this is necessary.

But this won’t cover you for the loss you suffer if you can’t take up a booking in a holiday hotel you’ve paid for, for example, or a trip you’ve booked and paid for. And nor will very many insurance policies.

 

The mistake nearly all of us make

Here’s the mistake thousands of us make when we buy travel insurance – we only ever look at the price!

What we should really be doing is checking that we have cover for what we actually need.

Consequential losses are not covered by the majority of travel insurance policies, according the advisory site, Travel Insurance Explained.

They found that not only do standard travel insurance policies not cover consequential loss, but that 70% of UK travellers assume that they do.

That’s a recipe for big disappointment.

“Standard policies won’t cover any expenses like pre-paid hotels, car hire, event tickets,” said Fiona Macrae of Travel Insurance Explained.

“Even if you have a cancellation clause with a limit of thousands of pounds, it might only cover cancellation under certain circumstances, such as illness.

 “We’re saying travellers need to be looking for a policy that has a little bit of extra cover. When it comes to cancellations, the phrase to look out for is that they will cover you for any cause beyond your reasonable control,” she added.

 

Small price

So, remember that – you don’t need to wade through all the small print, just do a search for “reasonable control” to check you’re covered for consequential losses.

Fiona Macrae says that ensuring you have this kind of cover may well cost a little more, but only a little.

Around £9 more, in fact, on average.

As she says, “about as much as you’d spend on magazines in the airport”.

A small price to pay, we say, for the peace of mind it can buy.

The Civil Aviation Authority does say that some passengers may be able to claim for consequential losses under the conditions of the Montreal Convention. This would come under damages caused from a breach of a contract by air. It advises passengers to keep all copies of receipts and try claiming against the airline in the first instance.

You could also try taking up matters with your credit card company.

But for those who prefer a bit more certainty and a lot less hassle, getting the right travel insurance policy in the first place may be a whole lot smarter.