Travel insurance needs are changing as Brits go it alone

16 May 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Increasing numbers of Brits are putting their travel insurance at risk by booking different parts of their trip separately, a new study from Marks & Spencer (M&S) Money has revealed.

According to the research, a surge in internet availability and usage is responsible for the 50 per cent of British holiday makers who book their travels independently instead of using a travel agent. But the draw back of shunning the traditional package holidays is that travel insurance policies may not cover all aspects of an individually booked trip, says M&S.

Highlighting the popularity of DIY holidays, M&S Money revealed that as many as 78 per cent of people with internet access use it to research holiday costs and destinations. According to the study, the most popular reason for a trip abroad is now to see family and friends, rendering the package holiday obsolete.

The research revealed that 29 per cent of Brits now book every element of a holiday separately, meaning that no one company holds overall responsibility. Consequently, travel insurance can suffer. In the past, a travel agent would have been responsible for the entire holiday and, if a flight was cancelled or delayed causing a traveller to miss a later flight, the travel agent would organise alternative travel. However, taking control of booking means taking control of cancellations and delays and can result in extra costs.

According to M&S Money, 35 per cent of UK travellers encountered a cancelled or delayed departure during their last trip, 21 per cent of whom were travelling independently and were not covered by insurance. These statistics highlight the importance of adequate travel insurance for solo holiday makers.

The recent chaos at Heathrow's Terminal Five is an example of how travel plans can unexpectedly change. In response to this gap in the market, M&S Money has introduced an insurance policy specifically for holiday makers who book it themselves.

"As independent travel has grown we have identified changes in how customers travel and book holidays. This has changed what they need from travel insurance." said Brendan Cook, chief executive of M&S Money.

©Fair Investment Company Ltd