We answer your questions around Brexit
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what impact this could have on travelling after 31st January 2020 – the current date the UK is set to leave the European Union without a deal. As with any live situation, developments are happening in real-time, so we do strongly advise our customers to check directly with their preferred travel insurance provider before purchasing a policy if there any particular concerns.
We’ve seen an increasing concern from our customers looking to understand the impact on their holidays. Here are the answers to some of the most common queries.
Will my passport still work?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised that if the UK leaves the EU on 31st January with no deal, you will need six months left on your passport from your date of arrival in that country. This is similar to many other countries outside of the EU.
The government advises that you do not book travel unless your passport meets the entry requirements of the country you’re travelling to, and you can use this government tool to check if your passport needs updating.
As always, it is advisable that you apply for a new passport in plenty of time before travel. This usually take up to 3 weeks but may be longer in busy periods. You can apply for a passport here https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports
Will I need a visa to get into Europe?
Not straight away. The European Commission has confirmed that while UK travelers will not need a visa, they will need to apply for and buy an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System). However, this is not expected to be launched until 2021.
Will I still be covered by my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
The EHIC currently gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, on the same basis as a resident of the country that you are visiting. It will cover you for the necessary treatment until your planned return.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31st January, your access to healthcare is likely to change and you will no longer have the right to access.
The government has always advised that the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, being flown back to the UK, cancellation or lost/stolen property. Their advice is that customers continue to take out travel insurance when going abroad.
Will I be covered if my holiday is cancelled because of Brexit?
It’s unlikely that your holiday will be cancelled due to Brexit and there is nothing to suggest that you will not be able to continue with your holiday plans after 31st January 2020. Even in a no-deal scenario, the European Commission and UK Government has said flights to and from the UK will still be able to operate.
As Brexit is considered a circumstance beyond the control of travel companies, compensation is unlikely in the event of cancellation, so it is important to check the terms of your booking with your travel agent or operator. You may also be afforded more protection if you paid for your trip by credit card, please check with your credit card provider.
Will I be covered if flights are disrupted, or grounded due to Brexit?
It’s unlikely that this will happen, and if it does your airline will have a duty of care to get you to your destination. The European Commission introduced regulation on Air Passenger Rights, and these rights are set to remain post-Brexit. This regulation has rules for passengers to claim compensation in the event of delays, cancellations or denied boarding.
Unfortunately, the regulation does not extend to cover ‘extraordinary circumstances’, or rather anything outside of the airlines control. Under the regulation this would mean that passengers would be unable to claim compensation as a result of Brexit.
Will I be covered if I miss my flight due to Brexit delays?
Leaving the EU with a no-deal Brexit may put additional pressures on passport control in the UK and many EU countries, which could lead to queues when trying to depart for your outbound and inbound flight.
Whilst many policies can provide cover for missed flights, it’s very unlikely that they will cover you for delays at the airport. We would recommend allowing yourself additional time to arrive at the airport in case there are delays.
Should I still take out travel insurance?
Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, we strongly believe a comprehensive travel insurance policy should be arranged for any planned trips, even more so in light of the changes to the EHIC scheme. Remember that travel disruption is only one part of what your policy will cover you for.
If you are concerned whether a provider will extend cover in respect of Brexit, it is important to check the small print. Some providers may deem Brexit to be outside the control of travel operators.