Ticket holders could be buying insurance policies for gigs and major events which do not provide them with the Covid cover they expect, Which? can reveal.
After a year of cancellations, it's hardly surprising that almost three in ten of us are more likely to buy ticket insurance for events than before the pandemic.
But some ticket holders will be disappointed to find their insurance doesn't cover them for what they assume it will.
We looked at five ticket insurance and guarantee providers offered by some of the biggest online ticket sellers.
And while some sell insurance policies that include additional coronavirus-specific cover, it's inconsistent - and in some cases a waste of money .
Here, we set the record straight on what different ticket insurance and guarantee policies cover, and explain how to get a refund if you can't attend an event due to coronavirus.
We asked 2,000 UK consumers what they thought ticket insurance policies would cover them for if there are Covid-related cancellations.
Four in 10 (41%) consumers believe they will be covered if a national lockdown means the event cannot go ahead as planned, while a third (35%) assume they will be covered if the event cannot go ahead due to it taking place in a local lockdown area.
A quarter (27%) also think they will be covered if they are told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app.
The truth is that paying for insurance to guard against this is a waste of money. Insurance policies do not have to payout because the ticket seller should provide a refund regardless of whether the customer has insurance.
Despite one in four (26%) people assuming they can claim a refund from their insurer if they're advised not to travel due to local lockdown restrictions in their area, only one policy provides this cover.
Most of the policies we looked at do cover you if you test positive for coronavirus and cannot attend - although only one in four (25%) people thought this would be the case.
It's well worth doing your research into what ticket insurance actually gets you before ticking the opt-in box at the checkout.
We looked at five ticket insurance and guarantee providers offered at the point of sale by some of the biggest ticketing sites.
XCover used by AXS had the most comprehensive cover across the categories - refunding customers in all the scenarios we looked at.
Aside from TicketPlan and XCover, all other insurance and guarantee providers we looked at do not cover you if you're told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app. Booking Protect, a refund guarantee used by Festicket, says you'd need a positive test to get a refund in this situation.
And if one of your party tests positive for coronavirus, meaning you no longer want to attend, only TicketPlan, Vista Insurance (used by Skiddle) and XCover (used by AXS) would allow you to claim for a refund.
Eventim's insurance provider, Great Lakes Insurance, specifically states that it does not cover any Covid-related claims - if you're looking for Covid cover when booking tickets on the site you'd be better off paying for additional cover elsewhere.
Here's a summary of what five of the biggest ticketing sites offer:
|You test positive for coronavirus and can't attend||NHS Test and Trace app tells you to self-isolate and you cannot attend||Someone in your household tests positive for coronavirus so you have to isolate||National lockdown restrictions mean the event can't go ahead as planned||Local lockdown restrictions mean you can't attend the event||You have symptoms of coronavirus but later test negative||One of your party tests positive for coronavirus so you no longer want to attend|
|Booking Protect (used by Festicket)||Yes||No - only if there's positive test||Yes||No||No||Yes - if you can provide evidence you can't attend in line with its T&Cs e.g. a doctor's note for the illness causing your symptoms||No|
|TicketPlan (used by Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Gigs and Tours, Gigantic, Ticketline)||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes - if you can provide evidence you can't attend in line with its T&Cs e.g. a doctor's note for the illness causing your symptoms||Yes|
|XCover (used by AXS)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes - If customer is prevented from attending because of a government mandate, this is covered.||Yes - If customer is prevented from attending because of a government mandate, this is covered. However, it is not clear if this would cover government advice.||Yes||Yes|
|Great Lakes Insurance (used by Eventim)||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Vista Insurance (used by Skiddle)||Yes||No||Cover applies if an immediate family member or a member of the booking party tests positive. It doesn't apply to housemates who aren't family members or due to attend the event.||No||No||No||Yes|
Festicket told us Booking Protect covers consumers if they have Covid-19, if they've had a bereavement due to Covid-19, or if they've been made redundant. This has enabled close to 1,000 customers to obtain full refunds since the start of the pandemic. Booking Protect also covers you if you test positive when taking a pre-event rapid test as well as PCR testing.
Ben Sebborn, CTO at Skiddle told us protection for imposed quarantine was only removed on or after 8th January 2021 because the insurers of the scheme lost their own reinsurance for such cover. If a ticket was purchased through Skiddle before this date, ticket holders will be covered for imposed Covid-19 quarantine, including for events that have been rearranged.
Gigs and Tours told us its terms and conditions are accessible via its site homepage and are listed at the time of booking. Ticketplan's terms can be found on the Ticketplan website.
All the remaining ticketing sites and insurance providers either did not respond in time or declined to comment.
Though it's quick and easy to tick the box for insurance (which is usually flagged as 'recommended' by the ticket seller) at the checkout, it's worth doing some research before adding it to your order.
Most policies (bar Eventim's) will allow you to claim for a refund if you get coronavirus and can provide a positive test result as evidence.
But beyond this scenario, it's important to check each policy's terms and conditions to see if it's worth paying extra - and don't take the ticket seller's wording at the checkout or on promotional banners at face value.
Festicket, for example, has a banner on its site which says: 'Get a full refund in case you are unable to attend the event (COVID-19 coverage included) Just add it at checkout. T&Cs may apply.'
But looking at the terms and conditions of Festicket's guarantee provider, Booking Protect, you'll find that you're only entitled to a refund if you or someone in your household tests positive for coronavirus - not if you're told to self-isolate, or if you can't travel due to local restrictions in your area, or if the event can't go ahead due to lockdown rules.
It's also not worth paying extra for ticket insurance assuming it will cover you if an event is cancelled or postponed due to lockdown rules - primary ticket sellers are required by STAR (The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers) to offer you a refund in these situations.