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Cutting your holiday short


Why does travel insurance matter?

Where cover is available, the policy will provide compensation for a proportion of the financial loss and works in the same way as cancellation cover when something unexpected happens between making a booking and the date of travel.

Sometimes people need to cut short – or curtail – their trip and return to the UK because something unexpected happens while abroad. There are a number of different reasons why people need to curtail holiday plans, some of which are covered by holiday insurance.


Did you know?
£1,488 (25) – Average cost of a one-week holiday for a family of four. (26)



What does travel insurance cover?

Providers do provide compensation if you:

• fall ill or have an accident;

• are made redundant;

• are called up on jury service; or

• are quarantined because of sickness.

Examples of those situations in which travel insurance policies typically do not provide additional cover include:

• If the accident and illness of you, a family member or travelling companion in circumstances could be foreseen. For instance, you are unlikely to be covered if you were sick when booking the trip or the claim is related to an existing medical condition that was not declared and accepted by the insurer.

• If self-employed, you are unlikely to qualify for cover in the event of redundancy.

Compensation might also be paid if a close relative or travelling companion falls ill or has an accident, but you should check with your insurer before curtailing the trip. However, providers do not cover curtailment due to a ‘non travelling close relative’ with an existing serious medical condition being ill.

Some policies might provide additional cover in other circumstances outlined below.


1 Government advice

This occurs where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or the government of the country you are going to visit advise against travel to that destination after your arrival.


2 Packaged trips

Travel insurance is intended to cover costs that cannot be claimed from another source. For instance, a travel agent, tour operator or airline will often arrange return flights, or give a partial refund.

Most policies do not provide cover unless certain parts of the trip were booked independently and cannot be changed or refunded. You can find more information about cover for terrorist incidents and independent travellers in following sections of this guide.


3 Airline failure

If you have booked your own flights with a scheduled airline that goes bust, you might not be able to recoup the money. Cover for scheduled airline failure will pay out compensation, but most policies do not include this feature. You can find more information in the scheduled airline failure section of this guide.

Chartered airlines or those operated through tour operator are covered separately by a different compensation scheme – Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL). You can find more information about chartered airline and tour operator failure in general on the ATOL website.


4 Taxes, fees and charges

Airport taxes and Air Passenger Duty (APD) taxes are only payable by the airline if you actually travel and these amounts should be refunded if you have to cancel. As these costs can be claimed back from the airline, many policies do not cover them.


5 Invalid passports and visas

Most policies do not provide cover if you cannot travel because you did not arrange for a valid passport and/or any necessary visas before the trip.


6 Timeshares, property bonds and reward schemes

Some policies do not provide curtailment cover for timeshares, holiday property bonds or trips booked using airline mileage or similar reward schemes. If you are booking a holiday in this way you should check that you are covered.


(25) Source: Churchill Insurance. Based on £372 expenditure on travel and accommodation per person per week.

(26) Britain’s Holiday Spending Revealed. Confused.com, August 2010.
1787641000 [Accessed: 06/10/10]


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