Martin Lewis spoke to Holly & Phil on This Morning about a range of travel issues relating to coronavirus. The money saving expert’s appearance came within hours of the announcement that the USA is closing its borders to visitors from Europe – but so far, not the UK.
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Martin said: “We’ve heard today that the United States has said travellers from the Schengen area, which is travel within the EU, are not going to be allowed to go to the US.
“Britain is not included in this but there are other countries which are stopping British travellers going to an extent.
“You have Israel, which is now saying unless you have somewhere to self-isolate that’s not a hotel for two weeks, you can’t go. India is stopping visas.
“I think it is likely we are going to see much more of travel bans. At the moment the US is saying Brits can go – I don’t think we can guarantee that there won’t come a time when they say Brits can’t go, and other countries lose their borders.”
Martin issued further travel insurance advice as holidaymakers face cancellations due to the pandemic.
He said: “Last week I covered your travel insurance rights when it came to Coronavirus. Yet as this is a fast-changing situation with new developments daily, I’m constantly receiving huge number of questions from more concerned travellers. So, I’m going to address two of the most common new questions asked.”
Booked a ticket for an event, if it is cancelled, can you get your hotel and flight costs back if you decide not to go?
“Many events around the world, including sports (both watching and participating), festivals and more are being cancelled or postponed.
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“When events are cancelled you should get the ticket money back. But the issue is if you’ve flights and hotels linked with it.
“Sadly, even if that was the primary purpose of your trip, if the Foreign Office hasn’t issued an advisory against travel to that country, then if you booked your flight, hotel and event ticket separately it’s very unlikely you’ll be covered for any costs.
“However if you booked it as a package, then there’s a chance you may be able to get a refund from your tour operator, as arguably the event being cancelled has caused a significant change to your package and you aren’t obliged to go.
“So, if you don’t have a free cancellation option for the hotel or flight, you’re probably best to wait rather than cancel straight away.
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“This is because the FCO advice may change later to say you can’t go and this would trigger a travel insurance pay out. If you cancel before the FCO advice changes you won’t be able to get your money back.”
What happens if the Foreign Office haven’t put a travel ban on a country but the country itself doesn’t let us in?
“Currently, there are few restrictions on UK travellers entering countries, for example Israel has said you can only travel there if you have a place (not a hotel) where you can put yourself in quarantine for a couple of weeks. This is likely to get more common.
“In most cases, sadly you won’t be covered, so it’s important to be looking again at cancelling only if it’s free (if so note in your diary your last free cancellation date and be prepared).
“Of the eight insurers we checked only three said they would cover in these circumstances, as they’d count this as a regulatory authority, two wouldn’t. And again, if you don’t have insurance yet, do it urgently – especially as travel insurers are starting to change and limiting what’s available.”
Martin also appeared on Good Morning Britain earlier today, speaking about how to save £1000 on energy bills.
He said: “British Gas has just relaunched its super-cheap tariff – sadly not for those on prepay, or in Northern Ireland – and has made it even cheaper.
“The new dual-fuel ‘Energy Plus Protection Mar 2021v2’ costs a typical £839 a year – £315 cheaper than the average big standard tariff most people are on (including British Gas itself).”
For more information from Martin Lewis on coronavirus, check his handy guide here.
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