DIY Travellers face insurance problems

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We all love a bargain and it is easy to save money by using the internet to put together our holiday. However, when things go wrong, we have no agent to step in and sort things out and a lot of us are finding that our travel policies are not up to the job either.

With two thirds of households having a fast broadband connection, it is no wonder that we net-savvy Brits are turning our backs on the traditional travel agent and their package holidays. According to recent research carried out by M&S Money, 78% of internet users use the net to research holiday destinations and costings. The same research reveals that 17% of all trips abroad are to visit friends and family living overseas and it is easy to see how tempting it must be to book our own transport arrangements online. However, even those needing to book much more than a flight use the internet to put together all the elements of their break, from flights to car hire and even hot-air balloon rides.

The Terminal 5 fiasco, however, brought into focus the range of things that can go wrong before we even leave UK soil and Heathrow is not the only place where flights can be cancelled and delayed. In fact, 35% of us experienced some sort of cancellation or delay last year and 21% of those found their travel policy lacking. With UK citizens having made 70 million trips abroad there are a lot of people with sob stories to tell, leaving aside the 12% of us who did not even bother to take out insurance in the first place.

If you have booked an onward flight from your international destination and a delay in the UK means that you miss your connection, or you don’t make it to your overnight hotel in time, this is where the problems can really kick in. In the past you would have had an agent to sort out the resultant chaos but now you’re on your own and may well find that your policy does not cover you for recovering your hotel costs or the cost of booking an alternative flight.

However, the new M&S policy, Independent Traveller, may be the answer to the problem. A spokesman has said that with the change in booking habits comes changes to what travellers require from their travel policy and this is what their new policy seeks to address. For more information on exactly what is covered see the website.


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