1million Christmas travellers shouldn't set off without travel insurance

04 December 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Travel insurance should be at the top of the Christmas list for the one million travellers who will leave home this Christmas to visit family and friends abroad, urges M&S Money.

More than a third of independent travellers, who make their own travel arrangements, experience a cancellation or delay during the course of their trip, so travel insurance could prove to be a valuable investment.

But, M&S Money found that 21 per cent of travellers will not be covered by their travel insurance policy in this instance, so it is also important to check the policy small print to see what it covers.

DIY holidays – as opposed to ones arranged by a travel agency – have become increasingly popular with the dawn of the internet, rising by six million in just five years, and M&S Money estimates that fewer than half of those travelling abroad this Christmas will be booked as a complete package.

With the rise of the independent traveller and the recent economic turmoil which has been the downfall of several travel companies, travel insurance is more important than ever, but the research found that almost half of consumers have no idea what cover is provided by their travel insurance policy.

Most travel insurance companies do not offer protection against the collapse of an airline, M&S Money said, as thousands of disappointed customers have found out this year, so it is vital that travellers compare travel insurance policies to see what they're covered for.

The premier level of Marks & Spencer travel insurance includes independent cover as part of its annual multi-trip travel insurance policy and can be added as an optional extra to single trip travel insurance policies, so they will be protected against cancelled flights even if they do not book through a tour operator.

Judith Roberts, M&S Money insurance manager, commented: "For most people Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family, even if that means making a trip abroad. Travel insurance was originally designed for the package holiday market and we felt it was time to improve our policy as so many people now book independently."

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