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Travel insurance: how well are you protected?

What your travel insurance may not cover
Traffic jam

Don’t let holiday stress rob you of your enjoyment

Which? Holiday has warned people to always read a travel insurance summary before buying the policy as they may not be covered for all eventualities.

Policy holders could find themselves unprotected and facing massive bills in circumstances ranging from traffic jams to terrorism, our survey has revealed.

Will your travel insurance cover a private car in a traffic jam?

We found that just 54% of the 80 travel insurance companies we contacted would provide financial protection for a hire car, or the policy holders’ own car, if a flight is missed due to a traffic snarl-up.

Some insurers excluding the cover said it was the policy holder’s responsibility to avoid traffic jams. Familycare Travel Insurance said: ‘There is sufficient information via radio traffic programmes or on satnavs to circumvent such situations.’ Bizarrely though, 96% of the companies will pay up if the car breaks down on the way to the airport.

Acts of terrorism

The survey also showed that a niggardly 18% of insurers did not exclude acts of terrorism from cover (although 70% of companies would provide medical cover only).

Rochelle Turner, Head of research at Which? Holiday, said: ‘While insurers may be excused for not including cover in some unforeseen circumstances, there is little justification for excluding acts of terrorism from their policies. We would like to see the industry act more responsibly towards its customers’.

Other results: travel insurance cover

  • 31% covered self-booked holidays, when the hotel, car hire firm or ferry and train company become insolvent at a foreign holiday destination.
  • 41% offered cover for scheduled airline insolvency. 
  • 91% of policies covered airline strikes, as long as the policy was bought before any public announcement of industrial action.

Our survey was carried out in January 2010.


Which?Holiday April 2010

Which? Holiday

Need help planning your next well-earned break? Want to know the best tour operators to travel with, or the best airlines to fly with? Take out a subscription to Which? Holiday and make sure your holiday of a lifetime doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

With four issues of the magazine a year we provide comprehensive, unbiased travel advice. Members can also call the Which? Legal Service free to discuss any holiday-related problem.

In April’s issue, we help you make the most of the great outdoors. Whether you want to go on a lake and mountain break, explore some USA canyons or simply buy some new walking boots, Which? Holiday offers plenty of advice, tips and Best Buys. 


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