The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has warned British travellers that they need to ensure they protect themselves with travel insurance that is ‘fit for purpose’, in order to avoid being the latest high-profile case of crowdfunding after a holiday goes wrong.
Angela Hills, ABTA’s Senior Destinations Manager, told delegates the recent World Travel Market 2018 event that around 22 per cent of Brits are still heading abroad without taking out comprehensive travel insurance – a problem in and of itself, before you consider the fact that many travellers are increasingly taking risks while on holiday as part of their desire for a more exciting, authentic experience.
“One of the core messages today is the importance of travel insurance,” she said. “Customers need to have the right insurance – for example, if they are going to participate in water sports, they need to make sure their insurance covers that sport.”
Everybody is familiar, she said, with media coverage where an uninsured traveller has been forced to launch a crowdfunding appeal to get them home after experiencing a disaster while on holiday, with emotional appeals from family members on news programmes. ABTA’s core message, she reiterated, is that if awareness and take-up of travel insurance improves, there will be no need for these appeals. This is obviously better for travellers, but from a PR perspective it is also better for the travel insurance industry.
“Buy travel insurance that is fit for purpose,” said Hills. “Do not buy travel insurance that is the cheapest available, and if you buy insurance that last a year, that is fabulous – but make sure it covers your next adventure before you travel.”
She also said that travel agents needed to ensure that they kept their customers up to date with correct information, rather than leaving it to news reports, which could be potentially misleading.