Holidaymakers buying travel insurance from a travel agent will be given greater protection as of this month.
Under new government rules, buying travel insurance as part of a holiday will now be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Which? Holiday welcomes the new rules as, according to our previous research, some travel agents were found to be mis-selling policies and failing to provide customers with appropriate information.
Greater redress for consumers
Consumers will now have a greater means of redress, through the financial Ombudsman, should they feel they have been sold an inappropriate or inadequate policy. Travel agents will only be able to sell travel insurance if they act as an appointed representative for an insurer or insurance broker.
Treasure Select Inquiry
An inquiry in 2007 by the Treasury Select Committee found evidence that companies regulated by the FSA had more success helping consumers make an informed choice because they are better at explaining key features and policy exclusions.
Travel agents sales
It is not yet known how many travel agents or tour operators will opt for the appointed representative status. As a result fears have been raised over the number of people who will cut back on buying travel insurance altogether in order to save money in the current economic climate.
Last year, the Foreign Office urged British holidaymakers to buy travel insurance. It cautioned against cutting back on buying a policy as this could help if things go wrong on holiday. Which? Holiday also advises against scrimping on buying travel insurance – just to save some money – as this could end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
Which? Holiday editor Lorna Cowan says: ‘If you are booking a holiday through a travel agent that does not sell travel insurance make sure you purchase a policy elsewhere. Always ensure you are covered before travelling.’
For more information on the best travel insurance for you then read our Which? travel insurance best buys. Or read our report on travel insurance for general information.
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