British holidaymakers who are forced to delay or cancel their trips because of the lengthy process of getting their passports might be able to reclaim the cost of their trips. Of course, this is only possible if holidaymakers have travel insurance. It also depends on the travel insurance policies that cover their trips. If travellers have the right insurance, they can get their money back even if the insurance company told them it would not be possible.
The Financial Ombudsman Service deals with many disputes between financial institutions and customers. This group said that it asks insurers to pay back claims for cancelled holidays as long as the travellers did everything within their power to make sure that the trip would not be cancelled.
The FOS said that in order for holidaymakers to get their money back on a trip due to a delayed passport, they must have done everything possible to push the passport application along. They also must have put the passport application in far in advance. If they have done both of these and are still unable to make their trip due to a delay in the application process, they could be reimbursed.
The FOS even went on to give an example. Say the deadline for getting a passport is four weeks. If a traveller applied for her passport nearly seven to eight weeks in advance, she can expect the insurance company to pay and cover the cost of the trip. Right now, the passport service website says that it will take about three weeks for applications to be processed. Holidaymakers need to file their applications around five to six weeks in advance to be covered.
The huge stance that the FOS is holding on this policy is very important. This is because insurance companies remain extremely adamant that they will not pay holidaymakers who miss their trips because of huge delays in the passport process. The FOS does not think this is right because this is something that is outside the travellers’ control, which is something that insurance is supposed to protect against.
The Association of British Insurers, however, has a different view on the matter. This group said that the policies that its insurance companies offer are not designed to cover cancellations that are brought on by obtaining passports.
Even the British Insurance Brokers Association said that it would not expect any insurance company to cover a consumer in this kind of situation. The head of corporate affairs at the BIBA, Graeme Trudgill, said that travel insurance mentions all of the specific ways that it covers travellers. It does not cover people who miss their trips because they could not get their passports on time.