HOLIDAY goers must check their insurance if they've been pinged as they might not be covered for cancelling their trip, experts warn.
One million people were told to self isolate by the NHS Covid app in just one week recently, grinding Britain to a standstill.
Supermarket shelves have been left bare, pubs and restaurants have had to close and transport services have been delayed as workers across the country have been told to stay at home.
But if you're due to go on holiday but have been pinged, experts have warned to check the small print of your policy.
Analysts Defaqto estimate that while nine in 10 travel insurance policies cover holiday cancellation costs if you get Covid, only six in 10 policies will cover you if in cases where you’ve been told to self-isolate.
It means that you might not get your money back for ditching your plans.
We explain whether you'll be covered if you have to scrap your trip – and what your rights are.
What happens if I cancel my holiday because I’ve been pinged?
If you've been told to self-isolate and you're due to go on holiday, unfortunately you will have to cancel your plans.
It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid-19, or you are identified as a contact and told to stay at home by NHS Track and Trace.
If you don't stick to the rules and self-isolate for the amount of time you've been told to – usually at least 10 days – then you could be slapped with a fine starting from £1,000.
Only from August 16 will you not have to self-isolate if you've come into contact with someone who tests positive and you've been double jabbed.
If you're cancelling your holiday, it’s unlikely that you’ll get your money back directly from your airline or holiday company.
Which? travel editor Rory Borland said customers could find it "incredibly difficult" to get a refund.
"There are no airlines and very few holiday operators that will allow customers to cancel for their money back in this scenario," he said.
You might also find it difficult to get your money back from your insurer.
As Defaqto says only six in 10 policies will cover you in cases where you’ve cancelled because you’re self-isolating, you might struggle to get your insurer to cough up.
Emma Coulthurst from holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket said you must check the wording of your policy to make sure you're covered for the cost of cancelling in this case, she said.
"You should also ensure you have travel insurance in place at the time when you book your holiday and you need to check if this scenario is covered and, if not, whether it can be by your insurer," she added.
What about if I've booked a package holiday?
If you've booked a package holiday, usually you'll have better protection on your trip.
This is because because these types of holidays are covered by the Packaged Travel Regulations, which give customers more rights if they cancel or make significant changes to their booking.
However, consumer expert at consumer group Resolver Martyn James said that you might not benefit from this extra protection if you've cancelled your trip because you're self isolating.
He said to get in touch with your holiday operator to see whether you will be covered, and if not, what your options are.
"Most companies will be reasonable where they can and will allow you to move your booking," he said.
A number of holiday companies, including TUI, Jet2 and easyJet are offering Covid cover and flexible booking.
We’ve rounded up a list of these companies offering policies you can take a look at here.
What if I test positive for Covid on holiday?
Depending on where you travel to and what the rules are in place in that country, you might have to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while on holiday.
Martyn added that many insurance policies will pay out in this instance under medical cover.
But again, you should take care to read the small print, he said.
"Bear in mind that the quarantine rules in that country apply so speak to the insurer as soon as possible about what you’re covered for," he said.
"Don’t just assume they’ll pay back and extend the hotel bill."
How do I claim back money on my insurance?
Before you can make a claim on your insurance, you must try to recoup the costs through your travel or accommodation providers first.
If you paid with credit card, you must also have tried to get a refund from your provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.
Your travel insurer will only consider paying out after you’ve been unsuccessful in those routes first.
The insurer you took the policy out with will have a dedicated phone line to call when you need to make a claim.
The details will be given to you when you first buy the policy or you can find them on the insurance firm’s website.
Take the policy number and contact details with you on holiday, as it is recommended to check if you are covered and to make a claim as soon as possible.
There may also be a time limit to make claims within.
Check your policy document and directly with your insurer to confirm if your claim is covered.
They will then send you a claims form or you may be able to download online.
Keep all documents and receipts, as an insurer will ask for proof if you are claiming for cancelled flights, delays – or if you had to buy new clothes as your luggage was lost or stolen.
If you need medical treatment when abroad it is best to contact your insurer first, to check that you are covered and to get them to agree to treatment.
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