7 Holiday insurance nightmares
The average spend on a summer holiday is now £1,027 per person, according to the Money Advice Service.
To make sure you protect your investment if the worst happens, here are seven holiday insurance pitfalls to look out for.
1. Our hotel looked like a building site
Sarah Pilcher and Colin Brewster from Berkshire went to Tunisia on their summer holidays in 2013.
They paid £2211 for the holiday but there were power cuts, unfinished building work and dangerous, loose masonry around the pool. They were moved to a different property which was also unfinished.
Afterwards the couple complained to the holiday operator and were offered vouchers worth £270 as compensation.
2. We lost our passports
Debbie Mortimer and Kevin Crossland from Grimsby chose Turkey for their first holiday in twelve years.
Checklist before you go
- Check foreign travel advice
- Research health risks and vaccination advice
- Get comprehensive travel insurance and read the small print
- Research laws and customs at your destination
- Check your passport is valid and you have the necessary visas
- Tell someone where you're going and how to contact you
- Take enough money and have access to emergency funds
The trip went well. But when it came to checking-out, the hotel had lost their passports.
The couple missed their return flight and spent over £900 to cover the cost of getting home and replacing the passports.
Rip Off Britain: Holidays investigated. Debbie and Kevin got full refunds for the costs of the holiday plus £900 compensation.
- Follow advice for keeping your passport safe abroad.
- If you are asked to hand-over your passport, make sure you have photocopies.
- If your passport is lost, stolen or damaged while abroad you can apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD).
3. I gave birth prematurely on holiday
Zowie Lyons from Leeds was on holiday in Spain when she gave birth 13 weeks early. She hadn't bought travel insurance because she was staying with family.
Her baby daughter needed three lots of surgery and an air ambulance to take her home which cost £12,000.
- If you're confused about what holiday insurance you need, the Association of British Insurers has a guide to travel insurance products.
- If travelling within the EEA you'll need to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card as well as travel insurance. This lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.
- The NHS website has advice for pregnant travellers.
4. Our flights were cancelled due to a strike
Ashley and Lisa Mann from Newquay went to Portugal in November 2011.
Shortly after landing, their plane home got cancelled because of a strike. The couple accepted a refund for the flight, but getting home cost £1,000.
The couple were told they couldn't claim on their travel insurance because it was a pre-planned strike.
However, Rip Off Britain: Holidays investigated and the airline sent a goodwill voucher of £150. The insurance company eventually offered £900 in settlement.
- Claim compensation for delayed flights.
- Civil Aviation Authority advice for coping with flight disruption.
5. Our valuables were stolen from our hand-luggage
The Rosenfeld family from Cheshire went on holiday to Budapest.
They was no space left on the plane for their hand luggage so as they came to board, the cabin crew made them put it in the hold. After landing, the family discovered valuables were missing from one of the cases.
The insurers wouldn't accept the family's claim, saying the bags had not been deposited in a safe place. However, after bring contacted by Rip Off Britain: Holidays they agreed to pay out.
- If your hand luggage gets put in the hold, remove any valuables, make sure it's tagged and, if possible, locked.
- Check your airline's policy on hand-luggage before you go.
6. A fire at our hotel meant our holiday went up in flames
Kathy Moores and daughter Kelli went on a special holiday to Turkey. They paid £1,250 each for their 10 night stay in July 2013.
Three days into their trip a fire at the hotel meant they had to be relocated. Kathy and Kelli were so unhappy with the new hotel they decided to go home early.
- To get home from a holiday quickly, contact your holiday resort rep, your insurance company or the British Embassy or Consulate in the country you are staying in.
- Citizens Advice has more information if you need to return home because of an accident, illness or emergency.
7. We got charged £1,700 for medical treatment
John and Jean Halladey from Harrow go to Tenerife every year for the winter sun.
During their trip in January 2013 Jean got sick.
Unknowingly she ended up being treated by a private doctor which meant her European Health Insurance Card wasn't valid and the bill came to £1,700.
- Find out whether any treatment you need is covered by your EHIC or insurer.
- Take a look at the treatment available at a reduced or free rate with an EHIC Card.
- Check your travel insurance policy before you leave to see what you're covered for. If in doubt, give the company a call.