If you are planning a staycation, travel insurance can really hit home

Linda Harrison writes that you don’t need medical cover, but what if you have to cancel? Taking out a policy for a UK holiday could make sense.

Many holiday makers will be exploring the UK over the summer months and school holidays.

Generally, we are clued up about our rights if a plane is cancelled or a package tour goes wrong, we don’t think twice about the problems we might face on a break in Cornwall or the Cotswolds.

According to research by Lloyds Bank Travel Insurance, 36% of us aren’t even aware that travel insurance can cover holidays in the UK. More than that, unlike abroad, it’s not necessary for medical treatment. So is it worth buying or  wasting of money?

Kevin Pratt at moneysupermarket says “Many people assume that it is an unnecessary expense in the UK, less than half of travellers bother to take out cover for a staycation.”

But travel insurance is more than medical cover.

He adds, “What happens if you fall ill before the date of departure and have to cancel? Without insurance you could lose your deposit, or even the full cost of the trip. And what if your camera is stolen or you lose your favourite necklace?”

First, reread the policy whether any expensive items you intend to take with you are already covered under your home contents policy. Because some policies cover items taken oputside the home, but not all. So you need to be aware that any claim you do make, would affect your no-claims discount.

More importantly, it is the cover for cancellation and curtailment.

Nolan Mortimer, partner at law firm Colemans CTTS says “If you’ve booked in advance and have to cancel, you’ll want a policy that allows you to reclaim your costs.”

And they can really add up, for example, hotels in the UK can be as expensive as abroad plus there’s any pre-booked trains or internal flights.

You can claim some circumstances including serious illness or death of the policyholder or a close relative, these policies vary in how they define “close relative”, so check your documents.

If you’re in the armed forces policies often cover you if you’re ordered back to work in an emergency. You’re also often covered for jury service.

If you plan some trips abroad and in the UK an annual travel insurance policy will work out better value. But check again the UK is covered and for exclusions.

Halifax Travel Insurance says you may not be covered if your accommodation is less than 25 miles from home, and your policy may stipulate that you must stay a minimum number of nights. Some state that the accommodation needs to be pre-booked and/or pre-paid. Mortimer also adds that most cover those aged 18-70, but there may be restrictions or a revised premium if you are older.

There are some factors, your holiday you cannot claim for, such as unsatisfactory accommodation. For losses resulting from disruption to travel, you may be get some back, this is dependent on the circumstances.

It’s worth to know clearly your rights under consumer law before you fork out for insurance. Different problems come with different solutions as below:

If a coach, train or plane in the dosmetic UK is delayed, the operator’s compensation arrangements kick in first. Most train operators provide compensation for a delay of more than 30 minutes through the “delay repay” plan. So keep your ticket and go back to where you bought it within 28 days of travel.

Claire Alderson of travel website  redspottedhanky.com says  “If your train was cancelled you’ll only be eligible for compensation if there was no replacement service to get you to your destination,” Certainly, you can’t claim if the reasons were outside the train company’s control, such as severe weather.

So what add-on policies sold with train tickets? Citizens Advice says they vary, but they may offer redress in areas where the law doesn’t give you any rights. This could include a cancellation right if the person you’re travelling with gets ill, injured or dies.

You’re covered for delayed or cancelled internal flights through the EU’s Denied Boarding Regulation. This includes claims up to £460 compensation if a flight arrives more than three hours late, but only if the delay was something within the airline’s control – not severe weather.

If you’re unhappy with what’s offered you could consider claiming on your insurance. Pratt advises if you miss your flight, ferry or train due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to check the small print as some policies don’t cover internal flights.

So you are legally covered if you arrive at your holiday cottage and it’s got two bedrooms instead of four. You won’t be able to claim on your insurance.

Citizens Advice advises that you as below:

■ Keep a copy of the original advert, brochure or web page.

■ Decide whether to stay and claim damages or ditch it and pay for an alternative.

■ If you book alternative accommodation try to find something of the same standard or be ready to show that more expensive accommodation was the only option.

■ Take pictures of the original accommodation.

If your complaint is not resolved to your need, you should find out if the trader is a member of a trade association that offers a resolution service.

If you paid by credit card or Visa debit card, you may be able to claim back money through your card provider then.

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