How will Brexit affect travel?
The 31st January has finally been and gone and the UK have started the process of leaving the European Union. But there is still some uncertainty around Brexit and what impact this could have on travelling.
As with any live situation, developments are happening in real-time, so we do strongly advise you to check directly with your preferred travel insurance provider before purchasing a policy if you have any particular concerns.
Here are answers to some of the most common questions we get asked frequently.
Will my passport still work?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised that if you’re from the UK, after the 31st January you will still be able to travel freely into Europe with your current passport if it is 6 months in date. This is similar to many other countries outside of the EU. The UK have entered a transition period, which will come to a close on the 31st December 2020, after this date immigration and travel laws will change for UK citizens travelling into the EU but it is yet unknown as to what these will be.
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 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 now the UK has officially left the EU. Even after the transition period if there is still a no-deal scenario, the European Commission and the UK Government have 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 airline's 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.
Will cruises or ferries be affected by Brexit?
You’ll be pleased to know that cruises and ferries should generally remain unaffected by Brexit as they are operated under maritime laws, rather than European. But whether there is a deal or not, it’s expected that the pricing for cruises could rise due to the impact Brexit will have on the pound.
However, many cruising companies will have take sterling as a currency on board, so your spending on the ship won’t be affected should exchange rates change.
If there is indeed a no-deal Brexit after the 31st December 2020 it’s expected that there may be longer queues at ports due to extra security procedures. But on a positive note, should your cruise include flights the European Commission will still permit UK airlines to fly between the UK and Europe, even in a no-deal setting.
Will I still be covered whilst I am driving in Europe?
It is probable that after the transition period you will need an International Driving permit in addition to your current UK drivers license. But don’t worry, these are easy to find and usually cheap too.
It’s worth having a look at the government website below for more details, as different permits may be needed for different countries. So, if you’re planning a road trip to Berlin, you may need separate permits for France, Belgium and Germany for example.
Check out the government's website for all the information: Driving in the EU after Brexit: international driving permits
Will I still need to take out travel insurance post-Brexit?
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.Get a quote
What do you need to look out for in a travel insurance policy after Brexit?
It will be more important than ever to make sure your travel insurance also provides medical cover, especially if you have any health conditions which you need to disclose. Healthcare costs can be quite expensive in certain countries, and having protection against these costs will be worth it in the long run.
You may also want to consider taking out a policy which includes Scheduled Airline Failure cover (sometimes known as SAFI) or Supplier Failure cover. These will help protect you should your airline, travel provider or accommodation provider get into difficulty and are no longer able to offer their services for your trip.