In the HolidayTravelWatch inaugural Holiday Standards Report we discovered that just over 32% of holidaymakers did not take out Travel Insurance for every trip or holiday. We also discovered that even if people either did not take out Travel Insurance, or simply forgot, 55% did not carry with them their EHIC Card (European Health Insurance Card) when travelling in the EU area.
These surprising figures reveal that there is still a sizeable cohort of UK holidaymakers who perhaps do not understand the consequences of failing to be adequately insured when travelling or taking a holiday.
Each day we receive calls from holidaymakers who tell us of their problems with Travel Insurance, however, it is the consequences of failing to take out Travel Insurance at the time of booking which often has the most profound affect.
One such call we have received concerns a family who booked an expensive holiday of a lifetime only to discover several months later that one member of the family had a life-threatening illness. Naturally they and the family felt that they could not travel and had assumed that the Travel Company's terms and conditions would allow for a refund or partial refund; they were wrong. They were now faced with losing many thousands of pounds after having spent 2 years saving for their holiday.
We were very sympathetic to their plight and discovered that they had not taken out Travel Insurance at the time of booking. We advised them that they should examine, the credit card they paid with, bank accounts they held, trade union or professional body memberships, other credit or bank cards, to see if they held Travel Insurance; this was going to be the only way they could perhaps reduce any losses they were about to suffer.
This story is not by any means unique and reflects a clear message; always ensure that you take out Travel Insurance at the time of booking to protect against those unknown events between the time you book and actually go on holiday.
Frank Brehany, the Consumer Director for HolidayTravelWatch states:
"The Travel Industry would have you believe that the failure by some holidaymakers to take out Travel Insurance is as a consequence of the Regulation of the Travel Insurance product; bunkum!"
"There will always be a group of holidaymakers who for whatever reason, sometimes forgetting, will fail to take out Travel Insurance. The opportunities exist for Insurance Companies, Banks and Travel Companies to 'detect & educate' their customers about the benefits of Travel Insurance, particularly at the point of booking a holiday".
"This sad case study heaped misery upon misery for this family; they now understand the value of Travel Insurance at the point of booking a holiday. I am certain that they would echo my view that however short or far away your journey, you must always take out at the time of booking your holiday, fully comprehesive Travel Insurance to protect your 'investment' should anything happen before you depart!"