A Guide to ABTA Insurance

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) can offer you valuable protection when it comes to booking your holiday.

So who are ABTA, what do they cover, and do you still need travel insurance?


Who are ABTA?

ABTA is the largest association of travel agents and operators in the UK - its members sell around £32 billion worth of holidays to us each year. That’s a lot of holidays!

Travel agents who become members of ABTA must sign up to a Code of Conduct which means they will abide by certain rules and provide holidays of a certain standard. This gives us holiday makers some reassurance that when you book a holiday with an ABTA member, you should get some peace of mind.

If you buy a package or ‘Flight-Plus’ holiday from an ABTA member, you’re protected in the event that the agent goes out of business. A flight-plus holiday is where you book a flight, accommodation and maybe car hire from one company but they’re not packaged together.

ABTA cover is important because if your travel agent went bust while you were away, you could potentially be left stranded abroad. ABTA ensure that you can either continue your holiday as planned, or make a claim to get your money back.

Additionally, if you raise a complaint with an ABTA member that you’re unable to resolve, ABTA are there to help resolve the matter. They have an independent complaints resolution service which may help save you time, money and a great deal of hassle.

Is ABTA the same as ATOL?

No, though ATOL also provides consumer protection. ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser’s Licence and covers flight based holidays. If a travel company with an ATOL ceases to trade, the ATOL scheme protects customers who’ve booked holidays through the firm - either by ensuring they get their money back, or that they can get home.


Booking an ABTA holiday

Booking through an ABTA travel agent is a good way of carrying out some vetting on your travel provider. Don’t take everything for granted though. Though ABTA try to ensure their members are financially sound, some do fail. As with most purchases, make sure you acquire and keep a receipt for the money you’ve paid for your holiday.

If you’ve bought a package holiday, it’s pretty simple; your flights and holiday will be included on just the one receipt. If services are provided by more than one company, make sure you keep all the receipts so you can see how much each service has cost.

If your travel company goes bust before you go on holiday, you’ll have three options:

1) Carry on as planned. Just because your travel agent has gone, your flight and accommodation bookings may still be fine. You’ll need to contact the tour operator, airline or hotels yourself to check.

2) If it’s your tour operator rather than your travel agent that has gone out of business, contact your agent for help.

3) If you made the booking with a company that has gone out of business, and it’s an ABTA member, you may be able to make a claim to ABTA. This is where your receipts are required. Go to their website for details.


Do you still need travel insurance if you book with an ABTA or ATOL member?

Almost certainly yes. While ABTA and ATOL cover you in the event of a travel agency or airline going bust, they don’t cover any of the things that a typical travel insurance policy covers, such as:

  • Cancellation and delays
  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Medical expenses

To ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance to go alongside your ABTA or ATOL cover, simply go to our travel insurance portal and compare prices and cover today. It really is simple. A few straightforward details and you could be comprehensively covered in minutes.

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