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

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?

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
4
minute read
posted 27 JANUARY 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

As of 23rd Match 2020, the UK Government announced a series of restrictions to travel, public spaces and gatherings. For a minimum of three weeks, people are being instructed to stay at home whenever possible. For this reason, travel insurance policies purchased from this date, for trips within the UK with a start date before 13th April 2020, will not be valid.
 
The UK Government also instructed all British tourists and travellers, that are currently abroad, to return to the UK as soon as possible.
 
As of 17th March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all non-essential travel abroad for an initial period of 30 days. This means that any travel insurance purchased from this date, for trips outside of the UK with a start date before 16th April 2020, will not be covered by the provider.
 
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020, so this may also affect your policy, particularly those taken out on or after that date. Please check any existing policies carefully, to find out what you’re covered for.
 
For more information please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.

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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