Martin Lewis reveals how to protect holidays from Covid uncertainty

How to protect YOUR holiday from Covid uncertainty: Martin Lewis advises booking flexibly, paying with a credit card and ALWAYS getting travel insurance if going abroad

  • Martin Lewis appeared on ITV programme this evening to give advice on travel 
  • International travel allowed for people who live in England, Scotland and Wales 
  • MoneySavingExpert shared advice on insurance, payment and holiday packages

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis has shared a three-step guide on how to protect your holiday booking from Covid uncertainty. 

The London-based finance expert told viewers of his ITV show how to safeguard your money now that international travel is allowed for those living in England, Scotland and Wales. 

He explained that for those visiting a green category country, travel insurance is a vital way of ensuring you’re protected if you catch Covid before you go or while you’re abroad. 

He also advised paying on a credit card and making sure to choose a package which allows the holiday to be cancelled or rescheduled, because Covid restrictions may mean it’s open, but you won’t be able to go. 

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis shared his three-step guide on how to protect your holiday booking from Covid uncertainty. Stock image

He explained that for those visiting a green category country, travel insurance is a vital way of ensuring you’re protected if you catch Covid

Travel insurance 

Martin explained that most airlines will cover Covid-caused cancellations, including catching Covid or if you are asked not to go abroad by the NHS, and says if you catch Covid abroad the medical costs will normally be covered by your insurance.  

However you will likely not be covered by travel restrictions or quarantine rules, or if you change your mind about travelling because you personally feel it’s too unsafe. 

However, he stressed that despite the pandemic, if going abroad, all the usual risks still apply, advising people to get travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday.  

For European travel, Martin advised making sure you have a valid European Health Card, known as a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if you are renewing them. 

The London-based finance expert told viewers of his ITV show how to safeguard your money now that international travel is allowed

He added that these cards should always be free of cost when applying on the NHS website, stressing ‘do not pay, ever, for these cards’. 

When asked whether to get insurance for a UK-based trip, he explained: ‘UK travel insurance tends to cover you for two nights away, in pre-booked accommodation if you’re staying at least 20 miles away from where you live. 

‘But the big difference is in the UK, you don’t need the medical cover and that’s what you’re really getting travel insurance for abroad.’ 

He went on: ‘What would I do? Let me be honest, if I were going away for a weekend in Europe that wasn’t that expensive and wasn’t taking any valuables, I wouldn’t bother. 

‘But if this was my main holiday and I’d spent a decent amount of money on it and it was for a family of four, I’d probably spend £10/20/30 to give me some extra peace of mind. That’s my personal balance, you have to make your own decision. Going abroad I’d always get it.’ 

Book with flexibility

‘The ability to change or cancel your booking is so important right now. Package holidays, often from travel agents or travel firms, have strong protection’, said Martin. 

‘This tends to occur when you’re booking two or more things like your flight and hotel together. Or flight and major excursion.’ 

For several such packages, if Covid restrictions stop the trip from going ahead, then you are entitled to refund a within 14-days. 

Martin says to choose a package which allows the holiday to be cancelled or rescheduled, because Covid restrictions may mean it’s open, but you won’t be able to go

However this does not apply if you do not want to quarantine before or after travel: ‘It would have to generally be the foreign office is saying you’re not eligible to go, you may be able to change to a suitable other booking’.

If choosing a hotel or self-catering option, Martin advises ensuring there is an option to change or cancel the booking. 

‘It’s worth noting if you’re booking an overseas hotel, and it’s open, but we can’t go to that country, you’re going to struggle to get a refund, so you should be aiming for free cancelation 24/48 hours before going there’,’ he said. 

He added: ‘The big point here is the Competition and Markets Authority says in the UK, if you cannot go due to restrictions you should get a refund – but it hasn’t been tested in court, there is no perfect solution on this I’m afraid.’ 

Pay by using a credit card 

Martin advises paying on a credit card, so that if the company goes bust, you are still entitled to a refund

Even if you book your holiday flexibly, Martin still advises paying on a credit card, so that if the company goes bankrupt you are still entitled to a refund. 

‘If the company goes bust and you’ve booked a hotel what’s going to happen? The strongest protection is on a credit card,’ he explained.

‘Because you get the legal Section 75, which means the card company is jointly liable with the retailer if you buy something of £100-30,000.’ 

He advised paying off the card in full at the end of the month to avoid interest, adding: ‘The rules do state if there is a causal break in the relationship between the debt and the product that you get, it doesn’t usually work and the travel agent will usually break that relationship. 

‘But it’s worth noting all credit and debit cards also have charge back protection, which is AMEX, Visa, Mastercard rules rather than the law and can give you a refund if you don’t get the product.’

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