Section 20 - Independently booked travel extension
Posted in General on 25 September 2014
With the recent warnings about the potential volcanic eruption in Iceland prompting a rush of calls to our office, we thought it would be a good opportunity to explain the wide range of cover and benefits available for incidents such as these on our Voyager Travel Insurance policy.
The standard Voyager policy has the ability to add Section 20 - what is known as the ‘independently booked travel extension’. While this is a bit of a mouthful, it does provide valuable additional cover for those people who like to book their travel arrangements separately without using a tour operator.
This extension is not to be confused with the fact that if you buy a family or couple annual multi-trip policy, each person named on the policy can travel independently of each other, for example children going on a school trip.
Why is this additional cover useful?
If you book your trip through a tour operator they have a duty of care to look after you and they are contractually bound to provide you with what you have paid for, therefore they must provide additional support such as accommodation in the event of a catastrophe or in terms of sorting out different transport if yours is cancelled for some reason. Section 20 helps by providing the independent traveller with the ability to recover the costs of making such necessary alternative arrangements as a tour operator would have to provide free of charge. But there is much more to it than just volcanic ash cover…
Before you go
With the Section 20 extension you are covered for cancellation if you cannot go on your trip due to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) or equivalent advice against any travel or all but essential travel to a specific country or area, perhaps because of natural disasters, disease epidemics or volatile political situations. Obviously, this can be very useful if you have booked your trip several months in advance and the travel advice to your destination changes. Tour operators will usually cancel their package tour and then have either to refund you or offer an acceptable alternative but airlines may still be flying to the destination, for instance, and thus may well not refund unused fares, leaving you out of pocket under most standard travel insurances.
While you are away
If there is an event such as a flood, earthquake or landslide affecting where you are staying and you need to evacuate your accommodation, without the extended catastrophe cover within Section 20 you will have to pay any additional accommodation charges yourself, unlike someone on a package tour, who will be looked after by his or her Tour operator.
When you are returning
In the event of a volcanic ash eruption leading to aircraft being grounded by the relevant authority, holidaymakers who have booked through a tour operator would have any additional nights’ accommodation required provided by the tour operator while they are waiting for airspace to be reopened and then be re-booked on a flight to get them home at no extra cost.
If you are travel independently, however, having booked each element of your trip separately, you will not have this safety net and you will need to pay for any additional travel or accommodation required by yourself as most travel insurance policies do not cover this as standard.
The cost of adding Section 20, the Independently Booked Travel Extension, is £6.64 per person for a short stay policy, £13.27 per person for an annual multi-trip and £26.54 for a Long Stay policy, so the extra peace of mind is great value if you prefer to make your own travel arrangements rather than choosing a tour operator’s package.
Please Note: If an event has already happened or is imminent and the information is in the public domain then you will be unable to get cover for that specific event.
Click here to buy your policy online from Voyager Travel Insurance. Section 20 cover can be added during the buying process once you have got your quote for the basic policy, or if you would like to get more information then please call the office on 01483 562 662