This is where I should be right now: a divine courtyard restaurant called Es Moli in Santanyi, south-east Majorca. The tapas is inspired, the service is attentive, the garden shady in the heat of the long afternoon and, best of all, the Aperol ice-cold.
But I’m not there. I’m grounded in UK due to some unexpected surgery and foreign travel is off-limits until I’ve convalesced. That’s two trips I’ve had to cancel: half-term holiday and a girls’ weekend to Seville in two weeks’ time. I do feel sorry for myself, but not half as bad as I feel for that poor girl whose wedding was wrecked by the British Airways technical meltdown over the weekend. In light of both events, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about making a travel insurance claim (my first ever).
1. If you’re not travelling due to illness, you need a doctor’s letter. This costs. I paid £45.
2. If you’re cancelling more than one trip, you might need another doctor’s letter if there was a long period between each trip being booked. Fortunately I booked my second trip the day after the first one, so I’m hoping the doctor’s letter will stretch between the two.
3. You probably don’t realise what a huge excess you’ve signed up to until you come to claim. Mine was £50. It’s not so bad but, combined with the doctor’s letter, I’m only getting back £317.88 of the £412.88 I spent on the Seville getaway.
4. You must provide evidence the trip has been cancelled. That means cancelling it before you were meant to go – not just not showing up. I got an email from the hotel quite easily but it took three phone calls to Easyjet to secure the right document.
5. If you’ve got other travel insurance, for example free with a credit card, you have to declare it. Then the insurers battle it out to see who foots the bill – presumably with more delay to you getting refunded.
So, instead of relaxing by the pool this half-term, I’ll be filling in forms. It’s galling. Thank goodness though that I did have the insurance – presuming Cover for You will accept my claim. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of my trip is quite small. I did notice that on the cheapest policy C4U offers (Silver) the pay-out for abandonment of holiday is only up to £2,000. For some of those BA customers on the trip of a lifetime, that may not be enough. Plus if you’ve underinsured, the company may refuse to compensate you at all. I never thought I’d hear myself say this but: it probably is worth stumping up the extra quid to get comprehensive travel cover if you’re planning a big trip. And don’t travel BA …
See the SMM guide to travel insurance here.