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Comment on the threat of a two-day strike by immigration officials (5th and 6th August)

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Yet more bad luck for holidaymakers looking to jet off this summer with the news the UK Border Agency staff have voted for strike action. If the dispute is not resolved, travellers could face major delays at airports as limited staff members attempt to cope with the influx of holidaymakers looking to travel.

It is worth noting exactly what your travel insurance policy covers you for in the event the strike takes place. In the event of delays to your journey, the majority of providers will only cover you if the departure time of the outward journey or return journey takes place more than 12 hours after the departure time appearing on your ticket.

After this point, compensation is normally paid, for example Insurewithease will pay out £20 per hour delayed for the first 12 hours, and £10 for each additional 12 hour period after this, up to a maximum of £200 in total. I would advise all holidaymakers to clarify this with their providers before making a trip.

“With the outbreak of swine flu still at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the pandemic has caused some confusion and anxiety for travellers regarding plans for their holidays. I advise any worried holidaymakers to contact their tour operator, airline and travel insurance provider to clarify exactly where they stand and identify who is liable to pay out in the event a claim needs to be made, whether it be as a result of swine flu or the potential strike.

“It is unsurprising holidaymakers are concerned about whether their travel insurance will cover them if they contract the swine flu virus since it could result in refused entry to board their plane, or being unable to travel at all. Although restrictions for travelling to Mexico have been lifted, it is still worth checking where you stand with your insurer if you are booked to holiday in Mexico and have any uncertainty about travelling there.

If you contract swine flu before heading off on your trip, providing you have already purchased your insurance and your doctor has deemed you medically unfit to travel, your insurance should cover you if you want to claim back the cost of the holiday you have missed. Similarly, if you contract the virus whilst holidaying abroad, any medical costs incurred will be covered through your policy. For those using their EHIC card while travelling in Europe, full cover would also still apply under the normal terms of the card.”

Top tips for travel insurance :

  • Ensure you are covered for the entire duration of your trip; its often wise to start a policy before you depart so you are covered for any cancellation
  • Check the policy covers belongings such as an ipod, mobile phone and any other items of value
  • Shop around for the best policy with the right level of cover to suit the nature of the trip, you may find an annual policy is cheaper if you take more than two holidays a year especially if one of those holidays is long haul, whereas a single trip policy could prove a bargain if you make one short trip to Europe
  • If travelling in Europe ensure that you have a valid European Health Inaurance Card (EHIC). These cards do expire so ensure you have a card that is in date in your possession when you travel.
  • Make sure the levels of cover are adequate, where possible we advise they match our recommended levels of cover (below)
  • Speak with your insurer to check you are adequately covered for scheduled airline failure or any delays to your flight
  • Check your destination is covered by your policy – the small print will list the destinations
  • Some activities will not be covered by a insurance policy – if you intend to do something specific, i.e. water jet skiing, check whether its covered and if not speak to your insurer to see if it can be added
  • Also, travel insurance policies probably won’t cover competitive or professional sports / activities; a specialist policy may be necessary
  • If you are taking specialist equipment on holiday it is also worth checking the small print, and then calling your insurer if you need to add it.

Check at least the following level of cover:

  • £2 million for medical expenses
  • £1 million personal liability
  • £3,000 cancellation – or enough to cover the cost of your holiday
  • £1,500 for baggage
  • £250 for cash

Source : moneysupermarket.com