The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week issues tackled include Iceland’s travel rules and restrictions, which holiday firms will have future cover for COVID-19 and how to get a refund on a cancelled cruise.
Q. In March, I purchased a Staysure insurance policy for £1,377.98 to cover a 65-night cruise to South America in January 2021. As the voyage called at three Brazilian ports, our cruise company said we could transfer to another trip. Now we intend to go on a later journey over a much shorter period, so we do not need the insurance. I phoned Staysure to ask for a refund, but it will only offer a credit. Do you have any advice?
Mrs Sue Nunn, via email.
A reader asks the Guru how they can get a refund on travel insurance now they have cancelled their 65-night cruise to South America
A. Before the pandemic, usual practice was for insurers to allow a ‘cooling off’ period of up to two weeks. Now, however, the industry is shifting tack. The Association of British Insurers says many firms will now offer either a full or a partial refund to customers in your position.
Yet Staysure is not doing this, instead offering to move the existing policy up to 18 months ahead, or issue credit vouchers for use in the next 36 months. If you remain dissatisfied, make a formal complaint to the underwriter, rather than the broker. If you are unhappy with their response, or they don’t make one, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk).
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all sea-going cruise trips at present, but this could change (gov.uk).
Q. We are waiting for a refund for a cancelled Princess Cruises trip booked through Tui for March and costing more than £10,000. First, we called the firm but, after holding for three hours, were cut off. I was contacted on June 18 and told I would be refunded within 28 days. After 30 days, I went into a Tui shop and was told that it was 28 working days. Then I emailed the executive team, without reply. Can you help?
Beverly Demirhan, via email.
A. The delay may have been caused by the fact that the trip was with a third party: Princess Cruises, not Tui. But this is no excuse. Your refund has now been put through. The Package Travel Regulations say refunds for cancellations must be paid in 14 days. A Tui spokesperson, says: ‘We apologise for the delay.’
Q. We have a holiday in Iceland booked for September 6. What restrictions and rules are in place?
Iain Gentles, via email.
Another reader wants to know what travel restrictions and rules are in place in Iceland
A. You must either take a Covid test on arrival or quarantine for 14 days. Covid tests cost £51 and can be booked in advance via covid.is/categories/tourists-travelling-to-iceland. A free second test four to six days after arrival is also required if you intend to stay for longer than ten days. There is no return quarantine. See gov.uk for more information.
Q. How can I find out which holiday firms will have future cover for Covid?
Bernie Maxwell, via email.
A. Consumer champions which.co.uk have a list. Click on ‘Coronavirus latest advice’, then ‘The travel companies you can trust with your holiday’.
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