Martin Lewis outlines protections against holiday bookings
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Travel to some countries under the Government’s “traffic light” scheme resumed on May 17. However, with restrictions likely to change at short notice, many travellers may be concerned about protecting themselves against financial loss when booking a holiday.
Luckily, money saving expert Martin Lewis has offered three vital “protection” methods for people who are eager to get their future holidays booked as soon as possible.
His three steps to staying financially safe include “travel insurance”, “bookings with flexibility” and “pay by plastic”.
Speaking on his ITV show The Martin Lewis Money Show: Live, Martin explained: “The first thing to look at is travel insurance.
“Most insurers, though not all so do check, will usually cover you for Covid caused cancellations if you catch Covid before you travel or the NHS tells you that you have to self isolate and that means you can’t go.
“Similarly if you get Covid while you are abroad the medical and knock-on cost will usually be covered by a travel insurer.
“Check the policy but most are doing that.”
However, he also pointed out there are some things travel insurers will not provide coverage for.
“What they won’t cover you for is the big one: travel restrictions either from this country or abroad that means you can’t go or that you’ve to quarantine on the way back and therefore you say you can’t go because you can’t afford to take 10 days off work to quarantine,” he continued.
“You’re not covered for that generally.
“Nor are you covered if you change your mind because you don’t think it is safe to go even if they are telling you or the official rules say you can go.
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“But, and a big but here, if you go abroad, and forget Covid here, all the usual risks still apply.”
As always with travel insurance, Martin urged Britons to “get travel insurance as soon as you can.”
For European holidays, Martin also points to the new Global Health Insurance Card, which works a lot like the old EHIC.
“These cards are always free,” he said.
“If you pay, if someone is trying to charge you do not pay ever for these cards.”
The second level of protection comes in the form of “flexible bookings” something many big-name airlines such as British Airways and easyJet are offering.
“The ability to cancel or change your booking is so important right now,” said the money saving expert.
“Package holidays from travel agents and travel firms have strong protection.
“This tends to occur when you’re booking two or more things at the same time.
“Then if Covid restrictions stop the trip you are due a refund within 14 days.
“However, this is not just if you have to quarantine – it would have to stop your holiday.”
Things may be a little trickier for self-catered holidays, which is why customers are advised to always read the small print of their hotel or flight booking before purchasing.
“If you’re doing hotel or self-catering ensure a cheap option to change,” he explained.
“If you’re booking an overseas hotel and it’s open but we can’t go to that country you’re going to struggle to get a refund for it.
“You should be aiming for free cancellation 24 or 48 hours before you go there.”
Finally, Martin recommended Britons opt to pay for their holidays by credit card.
“The strongest protection is on a credit card because you get the legal section 75 protection,” he said.
“The card company is jointly liable with the retailer up to £100,000 anywhere in the world.
“Now, of course, you need to make sure you pay the card off in full at the end of the month so there is no interest.”
He added: “All credit and debit cards also have chargeback protection and can give you a refund if you don’t get the product.
“I would go for a credit card if you can pay it back in full because you get section 75 and if it doesn’t work you still get a chargeback on it.”
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