Coronavirus: how to get your money back if your holiday is cancelled

Have you had an upcoming holiday cancelled because of coronavirus? Ruth Jackson-Kirby explains how to get your cash back.

The government’s lockdown announcement on Monday included advice “that all holidays and non-essential travel within the UK should now be off limits to slow the spread of coronavirus”, says Helen Coffey in The Independent. 

“Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, campsites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence.”

So, what does that mean if you have a trip booked in the next few weeks? Generally speaking, insurers and holiday firms take their cue from official government advice, which means that trips within this country should now be treated the same as foreign holidays. You should be offered new dates for your trip or a refund.

The first thing to do is contact your accommodation or travel provider and ask what their policy is under the current circumstances. 

Accommodation firms including Airbnb, Booking.com and some hotel chains are waiving their cancellation fees for people having to abandon travel plans, says Jo Rhodes on Which?, the independent consumers’ group. Many are also offering flexible cancellation policies.

If you were due to stay somewhere that has closed owing to the virus, “it’s likely you’ll get a full refund for your trip direct from the company – and won’t need to claim on insurance”, says Naomi Schraer on Moneysavingexpert.com.

More broadly, this extraordinary situation is also causing the travel industry to change its rules regarding refunds. Almost £1bn worth of holidays due to take place between 17 March and 16 April have been cancelled, according to The Independent. These huge payouts could cause travel firms to collapse. 

As a result, the European Commission has updated its guidance on customer refunds. “Holidaymakers are being asked to take vouchers instead of refunds,” says Kara Godfrey in The Sun. An ABTA spokesperson told The Sun that accepting a voucher will mean holidaymakers get “essential assurance that they will either get a holiday or their money back, as well as providing a much needed helping hand to travel companies through these difficult and unprecedented times.”

You may also be able to claim for a cancelled trip through your travel insurance. British travel insurance claims are on track to  hit a record high because of Covid-19.

“The Association of British Insurers (ABI) expects the industry to pay out at least £275m for coronavirus-related claims, mostly to cover cancellations,” says Oliver Ralph in The Financial Times. “The previous record for cancellation payouts was £148m in 2010 when travel was disrupted by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.”

Recommended

A step back in time in the Algarve
Travel and holidays

A step back in time in the Algarve

Portugal will be a perfect place to unwind after a challenging year, says Katie Monk
16 Apr 2021
Three lesser-known holiday spots in Greece
Travel and holidays

Three lesser-known holiday spots in Greece

Foreign holiday bookings are surging– seek the spots the crowds will have missed. Chris Carter reports
9 Apr 2021
Five unusual UK holidays
Travel and holidays

Five unusual UK holidays

Looking for something different that doesn’t involve travelling abroad? Chris Carter has some ideas
1 Apr 2021
Three idyllic countryside retreats
Travel and holidays

Three idyllic countryside retreats

We could all do with a chance to stretch our legs. Chris Carter suggests a spell at a farm
26 Mar 2021

Most Popular

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?
Bitcoin

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?

Dogecoin – a cryptocurrency created as a joke – has risen by more than 9,000% this year alone. Saloni Sardana looks at how something that began as an …
19 Apr 2021
Lab-grown meat: how “moo’s law” will drive innovation
Soft commodities

Lab-grown meat: how “moo’s law” will drive innovation

Jim Mellon and Anthony Chow, co-founders of Aim-listed Agronomics, explain why they believe that “cellular agriculture” will benefit from massive long…
16 Apr 2021
The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it
Bitcoin

The bitcoin bubble will burst: here’s how to play it

The cryptocurrency’s price has soared far beyond its fundamentals, says Matthew Partridge. Here, he looks at how to short bitcoin.
12 Apr 2021