Holidaymakers warned of danger if they forget this vital travel insurance tip

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Holidaymakers warned of danger if they forget this vital travel insurance tip

The travel and tourism industry is currently facing an unprecedented time, as airlines and travel firms are forced to pull planned itineraries and refund customers for cancelled holidays. What’s more, many British travellers have been left financially devastated by the coronavirus lockdown, particularly those who did not yet have travel insurance policies in place.

While the majority of travellers are aware of the importance of purchasing a travel insurance policy, many people are only now becoming aware of how time-sensitive policy protection is.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Greg Wilson, founder of QuoteZone.co.uk, believes that the coronavirus has shed new light on purchasing travel insurance as soon as you confirm any plans.

“The impact the pandemic has had on the international travel market highlights just how important it is to take out travel insurance at the same time as you book your trip,” he said.

“If you don’t take out a policy until you’re about to fly you won’t be covered if an issue arises before then.”

READ MORE: Travel insurance: Expert reveals important policy loopholes

Many would-be holidaymakers without travel insurance policies in place when the virus first sprung to life may well have been left ineligible for refunds from hotels and other tour bookings.

What’s more, even those who don’t have holiday plans until the future could now be facing a lack of protection if they didn’t already have a policy in place.

Mr Wilson continues: “For instance, if you took out travel insurance back in January or February for a trip you’re planning to take in the summer or autumn you may well be covered if the pandemic prevents you from travelling.

“However, if you’re only taking out a new travel insurance policy now there’s a very good chance the underwriting terms will have been updated to specifically exclude claims relating to the coronavirus outbreak.”

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Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis issues the same advice, something he describes as BWYB – buy when you book.

“This is the big warning,” he said.

“I do it every year – I talk about booking travel insurance ASAB – as soon as you book.

“Because if you don’t and something happens in the meantime before you get travel insurance, you’re not covered.”

As travel insurance companies found themselves bombarded with claims for cancelled plans, a number of big-name insurers cancelled coronavirus coverage for new policies or stopped the sale of new packages altogether.

“It’s also important to realise that some insurance providers have put a temporary hold on the sale of new travel insurance policies for the time being, which means you would have fewer options to choose from if you needed a new policy now,” adds Mr Wilson.

The Post Office is among the leading companies which have paused the sale of new policies for now.

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We recognise that this is an anxious time for travellers. The decision to suspend issuing travel insurance for new customers was not taken lightly.

“However, we believe it would be irresponsible to sell a product to a customer who would not be able to claim against COVID-19 given the number of countries that the FCO is advising against all but essential travel to.”

Existing customers, including those with annual policies, remain covered.

“We urge all of our existing customers to monitor our travel alerts page on our website for all the latest information relating to their policy.”

While travel insurance may not be an issue for some given the current lockdown, many Britons are already booking flights for the future, and it is vital they bag an insurance policy when they do.


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