After Boris Johnson reiterated this week that international travel is still banned, there is some confusion on when, and if, UK travellers will get abroad this year.
It is clear, however, that the Government roadmap for England offers the possibility for a staycation from 12 April, even though the decision on foreign travel has been delayed until 17 May.
With campsites, caravan parks, rental cottages, and other ‘self-contained accommodation’ set to reopen, many of us will be searching for socially distanced staycations that will allow us to shake off that cabin fever.
However, anyone travelling abroad will be taking a risk. The FCDO has not lifted its advice that only essential travel should be taken at the moment by UK travellers, and while this advice stays in place, travel insurers will not cover your trip. The UK economy is still suffering so this could be a chance to boost the ailing UK tourist trade and help small businesses return to some kind of normality and save the summer.
Fiona Macrae, head of consumer awareness initiative,travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk explains why travel insurance is still important even if you are holidaying in the UK and highlights that added financial protection is now available to cover Covid-19:
What is a staycation and what are the benefits?
To put it simply, a staycation is a holiday spent in your own country. The concept is an increasingly popular trend across the UK.
In 2018, over 45.2 million staycations were taken in England alone, two-thirds consisted of fewer than three-night stays, whereas one-third consisted of over four nights breaks. Visit Britain noted in its GB Tourist 2018 Report that expenditure on this holiday tourism reached £11.1bn.
According to ABTA, nearly three quarters (72%) of us enjoyed a staycation between October 2018 and October 2019– up 4% on the previous year. ABTA also revealed that the most popular countryside and coastal locations include Cornwall, Devon, Bournemouth, Norfolk, and the Lake District.
Do I need insurance for a UK-based holiday?
Thanks to the NHS, medical costs are free in the UK, thereby removing the need for medical treatment to be covered during a domestic holiday. Having said that, there are still factors related to potential unforeseen events.
Although different from a policy designed for a foreign trip, the core elements of UK-based cover will be included as standard. One example is cancellation cover, and if the only option for the Brits this summer is a UK holiday, then prices could increase. So, make sure you have a travel insurance policy that covers you for cancellation for any kind of UK holiday.
Many staycation policies now include cover for factors relating to Covid-19. For example, cover for cancellation if anyone on the policy catches Covid-19 before the trip and has to isolate, as well as a benefit if you fall ill with Covid-19 on your trip and miss out on your holiday as a result of being hospitalised or confined to your accommodation. Additionally, some policies even include cover for any necessary repatriation costs. For example, if tourists need to travel to the hospital during the trip or if they require help getting home as a result of falling ill or becoming seriously injured - this includes providing help to transport vehicles or providing a driver to take holiday members home if the driver is too ill or in hospital.
Remember, just because you’re holidaying in the UK, doesn’t mean your cash, valuables, or electrical items can’t be lost, stolen, or are accidentally damaged during your trip. So if you’re considering bringing items such as laptops, tablets, portable speakers, and various other high-tech gadgets or compact outdoor toys for the children with you, it’s worth looking for this type of cover or policy extension. Most home insurance policies do not usually include cover for these types of items outside of the home. Most travel insurance policies will also cover you should you or your children accidentally damage anything in your rental property - ensuring you have this cover could be the difference between getting your deposit back or not!
Finally, in a bid to offer holidaymakers more financial protection, some insurers have recently introduced a policy specifically for those who have bought a holiday but only paid the deposit. The policy offers cover in the event that should you no longer be able to go on your trip, before the final holiday balance is due, you’ll be covered for cancellation costs without having to pay your policy excess. Alternatively, if you have already paid your final trip balance but need to cancel for any reason covered under the policy, you’ll still be covered but will be required to pay your excess.
Travel insurance cover varies between providers, so it’s important to read the policy wording to make sure you’re 100% happy with the cover of your chosen provider before you buy.