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Archive for the ‘Assistance’ Category

Protect yourself on Holiday.

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

We are all used to Kite marks and Corgi approved engineers to provide a level of consumer protection in our everyday life but what about when we go on holiday?  The nightmare scenario for any holidaymaker is being stranded when their airline or tour operator goes out of business.  Although it isn’t an everyday occurrence, these situations do happen with little or no notice so it is important to ensure that your travel organiser can provide sufficient evidence of security for the refunding and repatriation of customers in the event of insolvency.

So who or what is out there?  Some insurers offer Passenger Protection Insurance sold separately or part of a travel insurance policy but always check the small print if this is offered because these are quite often restrictive in their cover.  You can reduce the risk further by organising your travel through companies and agents covered by ATOL or who hold bonding through an approved body, such as ABTA or AITO.

What is ATOL?  This stands for Air Travel Organiser’s licensing and is a protection scheme for flights and air holidays, managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and protects the customer from losing money or being stranded abroad when a tour operator goes bust.  All licensed firms have to lodge bonds with the CAA so that, if they go out of business, the CAA can give refunds to people who can’t travel and arrange for people abroad to finish their holidays and fly home.

And ABTA?  Members of the Association of British Travel Agents are required to provide financial protection for their customers which means that you can book your holiday knowing that if an ABTA member fails financially while you are on holiday, you can continue your holiday as planned.  If your holiday has not started, then you will receive a full refund or be given help to make alternative arrangements for the trip to proceed.  Likewise AITO, or Association of Independent Tour Operators to give it its full title, require their members to protect their customer’s money in the event of an AITO member going into liquidation.

If you are looking for travel insurance or holiday insurance, why not check out www.travelandinsure.com, they offer travel insurance with a difference.

Help From A British Consul!

Friday, April 13th, 2007

IF YOU ARE A BRITISH NATIONAL, WHAT HELP CAN YOU EXPECT FROM A BRITISH CONSUL

Whilst Travel insurance policies are there to give you that ‘peace of mind’, such as a medical emergency, airport delays and loss of personal belongings, when abroad, you may become the victim of an incident and you need to know who to turn to in your hour of need. For UK nationals travelling abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office www.fco.gov.uk/travel will do everything they properly can to help British people in difficulty abroad. If you get into difficulty or trouble, you can contact British Consular Staff around the world who may be able to help. But what can they offer and, more importantly, what can they not do if you get into difficulty abroad?

They can:

  • Issue emergency passports
  • Contact relatives and friends and ask them to help you with money or tickets
  • Tell you how to transfer money
  • In an emergency, cash you a sterling cheque worth up to £100 if supported by a valid banker’s card
  • As a last resort, in exceptional circumstances, and as long as you meet certain strict rules, give you a loan to get back to the UK, but only if there is no one else who can help you
  • Help you get in touch with local lawyers, interpreters and doctors
  • Arrange for next of kin to be told of an accident or a death and advise on procedures
  • Visit you if arrested or put in prison, and arrange for messages to be sent to relatives or friends
  • Put you in touch with organisations who help trace missing persons
  • Speak to local authorities on your behalf
  • Give you a list of local lawyers

But they cannot:

  • Intervene in court cases
  • Get you out of prison
  • Give legal advice or start court proceedings for you
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to locals
  • Investigate a crime
  • Pay your hotel, legal, medical or any other bills
  • Pay your travel costs, except in special circumstances
  • Do work normally done by travel agents, airlines, banks or motoring organisations
  • Get you somewhere to live, a job, or work permit
  • Demand you be treated as British if you are a dual national in the country of your second nationality

The UK consular operation covers most countries but not all and in these countries, you may be able to get help from the consulate of another EU member state. Also, Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada may provide certain consular services to British nationals in countries where the UK is unrepresented why not take a look at www.travelandinsure.com who have included an easy to read Foreign and Commonwealth advice on what support you can expect from Embassies and Consulates worldwide. They also offer a wide range of travel insurance policies to suit all ages, numbers and destinations.

Problems Abroad?

Friday, April 13th, 2007

WHAT TO DO IF IT ALL GOES WRONG WHIST ABROAD ON HOLIDAY

People often ask what they should do if they get into  difficulties abroad and who they should contact.  A comprehensive travel insurance policy is there to give you that ‘peace of mind’ in the event of a medical  emergency, airport delays and loss of personal belongings but, when abroad, you  may become the victim of an incident and you need to know who to turn to in  your hour of need.  If you are on an  organised holiday, then the tour operator is likely to have a resident  representative at the resort but more people are now opting to be ‘independent  travellers’ and when things do go wrong, you need to know what to do in an  emergency.

The  Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London  provides excellent advice for travellers and you are strongly advised to log on  to their website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel before you go. They can also be  contacted by telephone on 0207 008 0232/0233.   Similar levels of advice to non-UK nationals can be obtained from their  respective Consulates, Embassies and High Commissions though the FCO website is  also a source of good general travel advice to anyone travelling abroad.

For UK nationals travelling abroad, the  Foreign and Commonwealth Office will do everything they properly can to help  British people in difficulty abroad.  If  you get into difficulty or trouble, you can contact British Consular Staff  around the world who may be able to help.   It’s always worth getting travel insurance cover and checking you have the address and telephone number of the  local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate before you travel.  Your rep/local guide, hotel/guesthouse or  local police are likely to have this information.  The UK consular operation covers most  countries but not all and in these countries, you may be able to get help from  the consulate of another EU member state.   Also, Commonwealth countries such as Australia  and Canada may provide  certain consular services to British nationals in countries where the UK is  unrepresented.

If you would like view a check off list of on what support you can  expect from Embassies and Consulates worldwide please feel free to visit travelandinsure.com.