Do I need travel insurance if I've booked an ABTA holiday?

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?

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?

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
4
minute read
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Posted 6 JULY 2020

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 and other travel arrangements each year. 

These are some benefits of ABTA: 

  • travel agents who become members of ABTA must sign up to a Code of Conduct, which means they’ll abide by certain rules and provide holidays of a certain standard. This should offer some reassurance if you book a holiday with an ABTA member
  • 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 ensure that you’re not stranded if the worst happens and 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 directly, ABTA are there to help resolve the matter
  • they have an independent complaints resolution service taht may help save you time, money and a great deal of hassle

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

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 anything 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 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 two options:

  • 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
  • contact your agent for help – if it’s your tour operator rather than your travel agent that has gone out of business

If you made a booking with a company that’s gone out of business and they’re an ABTA member, you may be able to make a claim to ABTA. This is where your receipts are required – check out their website for more details on how to register a complaint.

Is ABTA the same as ATOL?

No, although ATOL also provides consumer protection. 

ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) 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.

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

Yes, it’s a very good idea. 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:

Where can I compare travel insurance quotes fast?

To find travel insurance to go alongside your ABTA or ATOL cover, simply use our comparison service.

To find the right travel insurance deal for you, simply give us a few details and you could be covered quickly and easily. Compare travel insurance deals in minutes. 

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