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Expat Investor : August 2009
EXPAT INSURANCE Packing the right protection Sunglasses, first-aid kit and currency – they’re probably all on your holiday must-haves list, but what about financial protection of your holiday? Directgov explains what it’s all about. According to a survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the UK’s Department for Transport, over half of holidaymakers (57%) don’t always check if their holiday is protected when they book. To help with your travel planning, the Government has published information on financial protection aimed specifically at holidaymakers on the Directgov website www.direct.gov.uk/ holidayprotection. Almost half of those surveyed (43%) admitted not knowing where to go for advice on whether their holiday is protected, or for advice on what to do if their travel company or airline goes out of business (49%). It is rare for an airline or tour operator to go bust, but it’s essential to know what protection is available to make sure your holiday is as stress free as possible should plans go wrong. The information available at direct.gov.uk/holidayprotection will help you understand the various types of financial protection available, which can be different depending on whether you have booked a package holiday or made plans independently. The YouGov survey showed 32% of people planning holidays would not be booking a package holiday; the money they have paid could be vulnerable, whereas air package holidaymakers are protected under the ATOL scheme. Even amongst those holidaymakers surveyed who had travel insurance, at least 34% fail to check if their travel insurance covers them against airline failure. Many policies exclude scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI), so consumers should read the small print if they want this. This new Directgov ‘holiday protection’ page aims to help you make smart travel plans and includes some essential facts. Did you know...? ? There are different types of travel protection available depending on the type of holiday you book. ? Independent travellers who book with an airline by credit card may be able to reclaim the price of the lost flights (for amounts over £100). ? ATOL is a financial protection scheme which all companies selling air holiday packages in the UK are bound by. Under ATOL, if any part of the package fails, the tour operator (or if that fails, the CAA) provides a 100% refund or replacement holiday and repatriates holidaymakers who are already abroad, after completion of their holiday. ? Your invoice, issued by your travel company, will show whether your holiday is ATOL-protected. This is an important document and you should take it on holiday with you as proof of cover. ? Passengers who are abroad in the 8 EXPAT INVESTOR ? event of a failure (and who are not protected under the ATOL scheme) normally have to organise their own journey home. ? Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) is included in some but not all travel insurance policies. The Government suggests you should think about whether you want cover for the cost of your holiday and any extra costs you could face if the company you are travelling with goes bust. This might depend on: ? The cost of your trip. ? How cheaply or easily you could get home if something goes wrong. Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick tells Expat Investor, “Half the people surveyed are planning a trip in the next 12 months, so we want to ensure holidaymakers have the right July/August 2009 information about what they can do to protect their holidays. There are numerous types of financial protection available, so the launch of the ‘holiday protection’ information on Directgov aims to outline the facts and help you make the right decisions according to your travel plans. It’s only very occasionally that holidays go wrong, but smart planning can make all the difference in helping you return home with minimal problems and expense.” Michelle Shambrook, operations manager, Consumer Direct, comments, “Having handled many calls from confused holidaymakers in the past, we know just how essential it is for consumers to have the right information. If there is any uncertainty when booking holidays or flights our recommendation to expatinvestor.com consumers is to seek advice about the protection available.” European travellers The European Health Insurance Card Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland (the EEA consists of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The card enables Brits to access reduced cost, sometimes free, state-provided healthcare that becomes necessary during your trip because of either illness or an accident. It also covers you for pre-existing conditions. How to get an EHIC The quickest way is to apply online (www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/home.do. Your card will normally arrive within seven days. You can also apply by phone or by post using an application form available from the post office. Those who have to apply by post include anyone studying abroad, and those of you already working abroad who are UK employed or self-employed. You can apply just for yourself or on behalf of your partner and any of your children who are under 18 and in full-time education. Boarding school teaching staff can also apply on behalf of any children in their care. For each person applied for you will have to provide their: ? full name ? date of birth ? National Insurance or NHS number Source: www.directgov.co.uk/ holidayprotection
May June 2009
September October 2009