New consumer research from travel insurance comparison site Medical Travel Compared:
- 75% of travellers intend to shun travel insurance
- 1/3 Brits currently seeking refunds
- One in five looking for a last-minute deal
- Spain tops the wish list for 2021
- 17% still keen to cruise
11 weeks after FCO advice was amended to advise against all non-essential international travel, 60 per cent of Brits have now had a holiday cancelled due to COVID-19. It has been a financial blow for many, with a third of Brits still seeking a refund from their travel provider and just 3 per cent having already claimed on their travel insurance policy. Medical Travel Compared’s survey, completed by 3,182 respondents, revealed that one in ten has lost out on some or all of the cost their holiday.
As discussions are underway about possible ‘air bridges’ to certain destinations as well as some countries gearing up to accept tourists this summer, the possibility of international travel is on the horizon, yet the results of the survey show that there is disparity between what consumers expect travel insurance providers to cover and what the providers actually offer as four in five expect travel insurers to cover cancellation of a holiday for any reason due to the virus* whilst currently this is not the case and three quarters of UK travellers state that they will not take out insurance if COVID-19-related cover is not included.
“We were not surprised that 75 per cent of Brits claim they won’t take out travel insurance if COVID-19 cancellations are not covered and that a third will be looking for specific COVID-19 cover in the future. We have all come to the realisation that coronavirus is a virus that we have to live and work alongside now and into the future, which is why we are working with our providers to find solutions and provide policies or add on services that offer travellers with the protection that they are seeking – otherwise there’s a real concern that a lot of people may travel without any insurance, which is obviously a real risk to take.” commented Tommy Lloyd, MD of Medical Travel Compared, a comparison travel insurance website specialising in policies for those with medical conditions.
Lloyd continues “Many of our customers are in the shielded category and as recommendations are eased on the movement of those who are shielded, we know many are keen to explore beyond their homes but do so with even more caution than the rest of the general population. A third of the population has a pre-existing medical condition and additional insurance cover will add a layer of reassurance to this vulnerable group as having the right insurance policy in place gives peace of mind to our customers. It is something we are keen to help our panel of insurance providers deliver once FCO advice changes about international travel – it is also important to note that it is relevant for UK travel as well. We ask that all providers come together to find solutions to provide travellers with the cover that they are entitled to.”
The survey also found that a fifth of people have changed their travel dates due to the pandemic with half booked to travel in the latter half of 2020 with a quarter believing sanctions will lift from September onwards and four in five feeling optimistic about travel in 2021 stating that they do not think restrictions will remain in place next year.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and TV Doctor, commented; “After all we have gone through in the last few months, I am not at all surprised to hear that people are looking forward to getting away with even more excitement than usual. Getting a break is extremely important for your mental wellbeing, and we know many people have been going through high levels of stress. Many countries have a lower risk of coronavirus than the UK’s current level, and in many areas the risk is extremely small. However, it is still important to take precautions to protect your health when you are travelling. It’s also easy to forget that other conditions than COVID-19 can cause illness, and to ensure you take steps to avoid becoming ill on holiday. Having the correct travel health insurance, especially if you have a medical condition, is key to peace of mind should things go wrong.”
Interestingly, the hitlist for when international travel does return includes over a quarter planning to visit mainland Spain & the Canary Islands and half of the respondents opting to remain in the EU for their first holiday. It looks like the great British staycation won’t last into 2021 with just 4 per cent opting to stay in the UK and the spirit of wanderlust is still very much alive as 17 per cent of Brits are still hoping to sail away on cruise. However the pandemic has certainly taken its toll on the excitement of travel with 65 per cent stating that they feel apprehensive about getting away.
Medical Travel Compared works with more than 40 specialist insurance providers to help travellers compare the best deals from providers offering travel cover for those with medical conditions.
*The cancellation reasons that respondents expect travel insurance cover to include are countries being closed, a hotel being closed, flights being cancelled, FCO advises against travel to my holiday destination, cancellation of trip because the traveller contracted COVID-19 prior to departure.
Survey of 3,182 people conducted in May 2020.