Did you plan a trip but now the coronavirus means you need to cancel your travel plans?
In late March, Boris Johnson announced everyone should stay inside and warned against booking future travel. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against non-essential travel. Thousands and maybe millions of people will need to cancel holidays, weddings and events due to the coronavirus, not always knowing where to turn to for help…
The advice and terms of cancelling your travel due to coronavirus vary from insurer, provider and policy. Meanwhile, some holiday protection covers are providing more information than others.
However, there are a few tips may help you minimise the financial costs of the coronavirus ruining your break – so you can at least enjoy some time to yourself even if you can’t get away to that Caribbean island! Here’s what to do if the coronavirus cancels your travel.
Read over the terms and conditions of your insurance carefully. The majority of holiday cancellations due to the coronavirus are wholly covered by insurance. Try not to rush into any decisions. If your travel plans are a few weeks away, you might be pushed into a less desirable option, like rebooking, when you can get a full refund by contacting the airline company or hotel first.
At the moment, most travel firms are inundated with callers and customers. You may need to call in to request your refund if your trip is booked in the immediate future. If your trip isn’t for a few weeks, you may be better off emailing or writing to your insurer requesting a refund.
Most airline companies have now grounded their fleet of planes. If the airline cancels your travel because of the coronavirus, you can choose a refund or vouchers, or you can rebook your trip in the future.
You should consider all three options carefully. Some travel companies have been pushing people to choose coupons or re-arrange their travel. If the company has cancelled your flight, you have a right to a refund and can contact them to request one – you don’t have to take airline vouchers!
The majority of the hospitality industry has closed. You may have booked a local break and are worried about the money you put down.
While we are in lockdown and hotels are closed, you are entitled to a refund. You should contact the hotel directly if they have not refunded you already. If you cannot reach your hotel and you purchased the holiday on a credit card, you may want to consider asking your bank to charge back the money.
If you can move your holiday to a later date, then this could be a better option than a refund. The hotel may be happier to re-organise your holiday, and the process can be more straightforward.
When contacting your travel provider, be very clear why you are requesting a refund and changing your plans. If coronavirus is the reason, be sure to include this information in any communication.
The fact that you are cancelling your travel because of the coronavirus may seem obvious, but people often forget to include this information. Missing this information can delay your refund and confuse the administration process.
Writing in to ask your travel provider to consider your situation is always worth a go. No one could have predicted the events of the last few weeks, and very few organisations have prepared for it. Kindness can go a long way. They may have written their terms and conditions and never conceived that a virus would isolate us all in our homes, and thus be happy to bend their terms and conditions to keep valued customers.