More than half (58%) of holidaymakers are leaving travel insurance as an afterthought and risk losing out on valuable cancellation cover should something go wrong.
Research from GoCompare shows 85% of the travel policies arranged through the comparison website in 2017 were for holidays starting within a month. For 58% of holidaymakers the insurance was purchased within one week of the departure date, and 28% of those arranged it on the actual start date of their holidays.
The analysis of GoCompare customer data of single-trip travel insurance policies purchased in 2017 shows only 15% of those buying travel insurance had a policy in place more than a month before departure, allowing them to take advantage of cancellation cover should the need arise.
Cancellation cover would allow a holidaymaker to reclaim the costs of their holiday, up to the cover limit and minus any excess, should certain circumstances arise before taking the trip.
GoCompare looked at 880 single-trip travel insurance policies, using Defaqto Matrix data, of which only 25 did not offer cancellation cover as standard. Of those that did, the cover offered ranged from £500 per person insured to £20,000 per person.
Only 11% of the policies offered a discount if taken without cancellation cover, and unless you are travelling almost immediately it doesn’t make sense to give up this valuable cover.
Georgie Frost, GoCompare’s consumer advocate, says: “You’ve booked the hotel, the flights, you’ve even bought the sun cream but what happens if something goes wrong and you have to cancel?
“It’s shocking that so many people are treating travel insurance as an afterthought, with many sorting it on the actual day their holiday begins, meaning they have no protection from the valuable cancellation cover provided by most single-trip policies.”
She points out insurers will only consider claims due to events travellers could not have known about before buying their insurance, so the sooner the policy is bought, the more likely it is they’ll be covered if something happens.
“This could include a serious illness or injury affecting someone in the travelling party or a close relative who isn’t travelling with you but who you’d like to stay at home with. A major incident, such as a serious fire or flood at home, may be another reason why you might want to cancel or postpone,” she explains.
“However, if these events happen after you’d paid for your holiday but before you’d arranged your travel cover, you couldn’t then buy insurance retrospectively with a view to making a claim on the cancellation cover if the condition worsened. Insurers would argue that there was already an increased risk you’d cancel the holiday when you took out the insurance.”