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Travel disruption for independent travellers

 

Why does travel insurance matter?

If you make your own holiday arrangements and book your travel and accommodation separately, Independent traveller cover will provide some of the financial compensation you would normally receive from a tour operator when purchasing a package holiday. This type of protection may also be called Travel disruption cover.

 

   

Traditionally the majority of holidays have been booked via travel agents or tour operators with the customer booking a package of two or more services, including:

• transport;

• accommodation; and

• other tourist services such as car hire, airport parking, excursions and transfers that could also be included in the holiday booking to form part of your travel itinerary.

Did you know?
60% – Proportion of holidays taken abroad in 2009 that were independently booked and not as part of a package. (37)

 

 

With legal protection given to travellers booking package holidays, travel insurance products only needed, in the past, to provide cover for events outside of the responsibilities of the travel agent or tour operator to provide financial and other assistance to their customers.

The advent of online booking, low-cost airlines and the use of regional airports for connecting flights has dramatically changed the way holidays are booked. This has meant that independent travellers no longer enjoy the same legal protection because they are booking components such as flights separately rather than as part of a package. Even booking one component of a trip – for instance a cheap flight – via a travel agent rather than direct, will not constitute a package.

 

What does travel insurance cover?

Independent traveller cover is a relatively new feature on some travel insurance policies in addition to the cover provided under other sections of a policy, such as cancellation or curtailment. This feature may be included as a separate section and be an optional extension to the standard cover or the additional coverage may be included within the relevant sections of cover.

The level of cover varies from product to product and might provide protection in the following circumstances:

• The Foreign & Commonwealth Office or the World Health Organisation have advised against travelling to your destination since booking the trip

• Your holiday accommodation is unavailable due to fire, flood, earthquake, explosion, tsunami, landslide, avalanche or storm

• Flight cancellations

• Denied boarding

• Delayed or missed connections

• Loss of unused accommodation due to the insolvency of your accommodation provider, and necessary additional costs, such as extra transport or alternative accommodation

 

(37) Mintel report. 2010.

 

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