Five out of seven leading travel agents are unable to provide insurance cover guarantees in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a mystery shopper exercise has uncovered.
Following the Conservative Government’s own advice, the Liberal Democrats contacted seven of the UK’s largest insurers to ask whether or not they would provide cover for travel plans disrupted by a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
However, with only weeks to go until the UK could leave the European Union with a possible no-deal Brexit, only two of the seven companies could confirm insurance would be paid out as normal in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Another two insurers stated that travellers would not be covered at all while another three were simply unsure as to whether coverage would continue or not.
Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:
“Just when people are booking their holidays, the Conservatives’ shambolic handling of the Brexit process could turn their trips into a nightmare.
“It is a nonsense that the Tory Government appeals to people to contact their insurance companies yet they themselves have been left largely ill-informed and unable to address any uncertainties.
“It is time the Prime Minister saw sense and ruled out a chaotic ‘no deal’ scenario. Better still, Liberal Democrats want to give people an opportunity to exit from Brexit with a final say on the deal and the option to remain in the EU."
The findings follow news that 10,000 customers of Brittany Ferries have had their travel plans changed as a result of the company having to prioritise the transportation of critical goods in the event of no deal, with further disruption likely according to a leaked Home Office document.
The findings compound news from March last year, when a report by the House of Lords found that, in the event of no deal, UK travellers to the EU would no longer have their medical needs covered by the EHIC card, meaning that, without insurance cover, they could face large healthcare costs.
More on the story here.
Excerpts from the transcript of the calls.
Question asked: I'm thinking of taking out travel insurance for my holiday in the summer. Could you let me know if you will cover me for disruption to my holiday as a result of a no deal Brexit?
A: "Yes, we will cover for any disruption to travel if it's a result of delay in departure, if it's a result of any hold up on the road or anything like that accident or breakdown, any strikes or industrial action they're all covered, if you're delayed due to public transport failure then absolutely that's covered. There isn't anything particular that says it's going to be covered as a result or anything with Brexit because we wouldn't imagine that would have an impact on your travel - it may be delays and things like that but they would be covered under the usual terms of your policy"
A: "At the moment we do not know what we will cover because we haven't heard any word from the underwriter to say that so at the moment some of that is in the air.
If I were you I would assume at this very point in time there is no cover - well because we haven't heard anything from the underwriter about that, no one can really give you a specific answer but yes you will be covered or not....We do not know if there will be disruption… because that hasn't happened we do not know and there has been no word from any of the underwriter… Probably buy your policy around that time… the thing is I cannot advise you on what to do to be honest, I really can't"
A: "It's not something that we've been made aware of I'm afraid, we haven't had any information about it yet... we're not sure at the moment, I'm afraid… Give us a call nearer the time we should hopefully have some more information"
A: "All our policies wouldn't be affected by that because it's separate to like an EHIC card which is a separate thing but our travel policies nothing would change to the normal cover you'd have, so whatever you're covered for normally would still apply etc. etc... it's best sometimes if you do book ATOL protected holidays just to cover yourself a bit further obviously through our policy you'd still be covered for the same things you would if a Brexit deal was arranged or nothing happened or it's delayed however long etc etc.. it'll all be the same with no changes"
A: "We don't know anything about that at the moment, unfortunately, the best people to ask are the claims department... if you like I can pass you through to them to see if they have any answers about it at the moment"
The mystery shopper was passed through to claims department. The operator said:
"So it's Legal & General, we're not Legal and General we're Allianz… we sell insurance through lots of different companies...so if you're thinking about buying it through Legal & General, no the insurance wouldn't cover that situation I'm afraid… I've never come across one that would cover that.”
More Than (RSA)
A: "Let me get you through to the right team who can help you with that…"
The mystery shopper was passed through to the Allianz-Assistance claims line which the operator said could answer my query:
A: "Erm, just bear with me and I'll check... if there's a no deal Brexit the EHIC card would cease if there's no agreement by 29th March. If there is any agreement then the EHIC card will be valid for another year. That's the only information I have."
A: "I couldn't answer that question; we honestly wouldn't know that... I honestly wouldn't know"