Travellers relieved as new restrictions on the sale of travel insurance begin

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As of the 1st of January 2009, travel agents are facing restrictions on the selling of travel insurance policies which will come as good news since many are accused of unscrupulous selling tactics. The new legislation means that in order to sell travel insurance, travel agents will have to be regulated by the FSA (Financial Services Authority) or alternatively sell on behalf of a company regulated by the Authority.

Each year, millions of us (8.4 million in 2008) buy travel policies from travel agents and one wonders how many of us have been hoodwinked into doing so by unscrupulous agents who tell customers that they have to buy a policy in order to buy a holiday. This is simply not true and whilst all holidaymakers should take out a policy as soon as they pay a deposit on a holiday, better deals are often to be found on the internet. This sort of sharp practice will be much harder to get away with once agents are properly regulated by the FSA.

As anyone with a pre-existing medical condition (and that includes the minor things like slightly elevated blood pressure or high cholesterol) will confirm, it is difficult to buy travel insurance “off the peg”. It is therefore worrying to know, from research carried out by Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance, that many travel agents fail to ask their clients whether they have any pre-existing medical conditions. This could mean that the policy is invalid and the holidaymaker may be faced with a hefty bill should they fall ill on holiday.

Travellers should now, as a result of the new legislation, find themselves in a much safer position as far as the purchase of travel insurance is concerned.


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