British holidaymakers continue to put themselves at risk of a severe financial hit by not taking out travel insurance at the earliest opportunity, according to SportsCover Direct’s latest data.
Of all successful claims received for our Sports Travel Insurance product between 2014 and 2017, 13% were attributed to individuals who were unable to go on their trip due to unforeseen circumstances, with the average claim totalling over £900.
However, by delaying the time period between booking their holiday and purchasing their insurance, travellers are opening themselves up to difficulties if an injury or illness prevents them from reaching their destination.
In the past year nearly 60% of all Sports Travel Insurance policies sold were purchased less than a week before departure date, with a worryingly high 26% of policies purchased within one day of the customer travelling.
Just 27% of travellers give themselves more than two weeks worth of cancellation protection by buying early, while only 14% buy at least a month in advance.
The risks of leaving it late
According to figures from Statista, over 90% of people book their holidays more than a month in advance.
Compare that to the 35% of people that have even begun looking for protection more than four weeks before departure, according to a SportsCover Direct survey, and a large number of unprotected holiday-makers are revealed.
It could be easy to assume that insurance doesn’t need to be in place until just before you travel, but this is simply not the case. In the vast majority of travel insurance policies, cancellation cover will offer some protection should an individual not be able to travel.
Although 13% may seem like a small percentage of claims to come about because of a trip cancellation, the financial problems without this protection in place can often be far greater than the inconvenience of a lost suitcase for example, something that is far more likely to happen.
Without insurance in place, a cancelled holiday could easily end up costing holiday-makers thousands of pounds. Compare that then to the cost of replacing a suitcase and buying a few new clothes.
The coverage that this offers will vary from insurer to insurer, but will generally cover holiday-makers if they are deemed unfit to fly by a doctor, or if a close family member is severely unwell.
As SportsCover Direct provides travel insurance for thousands of sporting holidays, it is perhaps unsurprising that the majority of cancellation claims relate to trips being cancelled due to not being able to travel because of injury.
Injuries the biggest factor
In total 38% of all claims for trip cancellations came after an injury picked up before departure date prevented the traveller from going on their particular trip. This was followed by illness claims, with 30% of cancellations coming after individuals were deemed too unwell to travel.
Another 24% of claims were the result, not because of injury or illness to the insured, but a close family member. Many travel insurance policies will protect individuals if a parent, sibling or child is ill enough that the insured person cannot go on their booked trip.
By taking out insurance as soon as your holiday is booked, this cancellation cover kicks in automatically for single trip policies. The same applies for annual policies as long as you have not selected a future start date for the annual cover. This means that should any illness or injury befall the individual, they have protection in place.
Leave it until the last minute though, and it’s likely that the consumer will miss out on the cover, opening themselves up to the possibility of losing all of the money paid for a trip should they be unable to travel.
A recent YouGov study found that less than half of travellers head overseas with the correct insurance in place. And it seems that even those who do take out suitable cover, the majority are missing out on full cover for no extra cost.
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