THOUSANDS of holidaymakers are being urged to check their travel insurance over fears they could be left out of pocket for trips where they STILL need to quarantine.
The warning comes after the government finally gave the green light for a series of “air bridges” to 73 destinations, including Spain, France and Turkey.
For travellers heading to a country on this list, they won’t need to quarantine when they return to the UK.
But the new agreement, which comes into effect from July 10, doesn’t mean Brits won’t have to quarantine when they arrive at their chosen destination.
It effectively means that while holiday-starved families can travel to another country, they may end up spending their time away in self-isolation.
Travellers are now being urged to check the terms and conditions of their travel insurance to see what it means for their trip, with fears growing that thousands of people may not be able to claim any money back.
Most travel insurers are unlikely to offer a refund if your holiday hasn’t officially been cancelled by an airline or booking provider.
This could be the case for scores of travellers, as the new “air bridges” mean companies can start offering trips once more – even if your arrival destination still has quarantine restrictions in place.
Resolver CEO Alex Neill told The Sun: “Anyone booking now needs to do their homework and be aware they’re the ones bearing all the risk.
“If you’ve already got a pre-booked holiday you may very well face the situation of being able to go, so the trip isn’t cancelled, but having to quarantine.”
It comes as fresh warnings were issued over airlines pulling their schedules at the last minute, due to confusion over the “air bridges”.
Several easyJet customers have had their outgoing flights either cancelled or the time changed, reports The Daily Mail.
Some countries still have specific travel requirements in place for Brits when they arrive.
At the time of writing, the following places either will not let UK tourists in, or they’ll ask you to take a coronavirus test or self-isolate upon arrival.
If your holiday hasn’t been cancelled
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get a refund if your holiday hasn’t been officially cancelled by your flight operator or booking agent.
You’re also unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance if you choose not to go, but your flight is going ahead, although it’s still worth checking the terms and conditions of your policy.
Ms Neill said: “You’re going to need to delve into the terms and conditions of your travel insurance and hope that you’re lucky and it’s covered – but in the case of holidays booked now, it will be unlikely.”
Just be aware that if you’re able to submit a claim, you’ll likely pay a fee known as an “excess” to get a refund.
If you really don’t want to travel, it might be worth asking if you can move your trip to a later date.
Whether this is possible will usually depend on if you booked “flexible” dates – check the terms and conditions of your booking for more information.
Some companies may also let you pay a fee to switch your dates.
If your trip is still a few months away, the travel advice may have changed by then, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the latest Foreign Office updates as you may not need to quarantine by the time you travel.
It’s likely to be case of sitting tight and waiting to see what happens.
If your holiday has been cancelled
For holidays that have been cancelled, you should get in contact with your flight operator or booking provider for a refund.
If you’re struggling to get a refund, you can also try claiming your money back through your credit or debit card provider.
Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.
For holidays booked by debit card you may be able to claim a refund via the Chargeback scheme.
This also applies to credit card bookings of under £100.
Many travel insurers stopped selling holiday cover after the start of the pandemic as travellers rushed to protect their future trips abroad.
While most have started selling new policies again, some have now re-written their cover to exclude Covid-19 or even any future pandemics.
This means you’ll want to check the wording of your policy very carefully so you know exactly what you’re covered for.
For example, some policies will cover medical expenses if you fall ill from coronavirus abroad – but they won’t pay out if your trip is cancelled because of the pandemic.
Some companies aren’t accepting new customers at all – we’ve got a full list of all the latest coronavirus insurance changes here.
The Association of British Insurers told The Sun that new policies which have been taken out after the pandemic are likely to include clauses which prevent you from cancelling due to coronavirus.
This is because Covid-19 is now a “known risk” for travellers.
However, if you took out a policy before the spread of coronavirus, or renewed an annual policy, you may be more likely to have some grounds for cancelling – although again, this will depend on the wording of your policy.
Travel insurance will automatically by invalid if you’re going to a country where the Foreign Office is still advising against all but essential travel.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Holiday companies and airlines should ensure they continue to offer customers flexible rebooking options.
“If the government is to get people travelling again successfully, it needs to restore confidence in the sector by providing support for the industry and working with the regulator to ensure companies are abiding by the law on refunds for cancelled travel.”
Martin Lewis recently revealed this travel insurance loophole that could see some cancel holidays and get refunds.
From travel bans to refunds — how coronavirus could affect your holiday cover.
Full list of holiday destinations NOT on the quarantine-free air bridges list including Portugal, Egypt and Morocco.