What does travel insurance really cover?

Many people were left grounded and turned to their travel insurance provider in the hope of compensation. But what are passengers’ rights if they have been affected by an event that is out of their control? What does your travel insurance cover?

In the first instance holidaymakers who experience delays, cancellations and costs as a result of such an event will need to contact the airline provider. They will typically offer alternative flights and, where cancellations have occurred, alternative dates for your trip.

Compensation for delay and cancellation

If your flight is delayed, due to specified events such as strikes, adverse weather and mechanical defects some insurers will pay compensation, although individual claims are relatively small. Policies usually offer payouts for travel delays of typically only around £25 for every 12 hour delay, up to a maximum of around £250 to £300.

Some policies will pay out if delay forces you to cancel your trip following a delayed flight – check the policy print to see what cover you have.

In the case of a volcanic ash cloud, whether you’re covered depends on your insurer. While volcanic eruptions are not an insured event in most travel policies, some insurers make payments for delay and cancellation on a goodwill basis or treat such an event as adverse weather. Check with your travel insurer on its position.

Accommodation costs

If a passenger has a flight cancelled and is refunded from the airline, but still has accommodation that they can’t cancel or use, these claims can be considered under travel delay leading to trip abandonment. But you will need to provide written official evidence to support any claims where it is reasonable to request such evidence, so make sure to keep receipts.

Of course, if your airline has offered to pay for accommodation the travel insurer will not do so too. If it has not, you may be able to make a claim – again it depends on your insurer.

If you’re hoping to claim on your travel insurance for expenses accrued while stranded abroad due to a volcanic eruption you’re likely to be out of pocket – most insurance providers are refusing to cover these costs.

Insurers claim it is the duty of airlines to pay for bed and board for stranded passengers. Unfortunately in most cases these people will not be able to claim any shortfall from their travel insurer.

Exclusions in the small print

Generally, travel insurance covers a wide range of risks, including medical treatment costs, loss of possessions, delay and curtailment. However, beware of the fine print as insurers will expect you to take reasonable care – so for example, if you leave possessions unattended, then they may not be covered if they are lost or stolen.

Also, beware of boozing on holiday. If you are drunk – which is defined as anything over the UK legal limit – your claim will not be covered if, say, you were robbed or hurt.

Making a complaint

Finally, if you have exhausted your insurance company’s complaints process and still think you have been treated unfairly you could take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

We Take a Look at Japan’s Iconic Bullet Trains

What is the bullet train?

Japan’s bullet trains are pretty much the most famous contemporary trains the railways of the world have to offer. These sleek, futuristic-looking white trains – known as Shinkansen (literally “new trunk line”) in Japanese – are high-speed trains famous for their exceptional punctuality.

Where does it go?

The bullet train connects the major cities on Honshu and Kyushu (Japan’s two biggest islands) with Tokyo, the capital. Operated by Japan Railways, the routes go as far north as Aomori and as far south as Kagoshima, with various offshoots connecting cities with the main line. Among the new lines being built, one will connect the northern island of Hokkaido with the rest of Japan, with another planned extension eventually connecting Nagasaki in the far south. The three-hour stretch of railway between Tokyo and Kyoto is one of the most famous – it gives travellers a fantastic view of Mount Fuji, if the cloud allows.

How fast does it go?

Bullet trains are allowed to operate at speeds of up to 320km/hr, or just under 200mph. However, they’re capable of going much faster, with some achieving speeds of 581km/hr (361mph) during tests – a world record. Despite their great speed, the trains are very quiet and comfortable, with forward-facing seats that can be turned around so that they always face the direction of travel.

How much does it cost?

The cost of travel on the bullet train obviously depends on how long your journey is, but it isn’t especially cheap – though you can get a Japan Rail Pass to get better value for money and free seat reservations (which you normally have to pay extra for). There are two ‘classes’ of ticket for travel on most bullet trains: Ordinary and Green Car, the latter being the equivalent of Business Class. Green Car seats are bigger and comfier, though Ordinary seats are still perfectly comfortable, with adequate leg room. Some newer trains also have ‘Gran Class’, which has even better seats and more services available to travellers.

Fun facts and tips

  • Luggage should not be taken on a bullet train. There are no luggage compartments, so the bags have to be placed in front of your feet and if you are sitting with other people it makes things very difficult and uncomfortable. Indeed, taking luggage on a train is not considered polite. it is a big no no!
  • It’s very rare for a bullet train to be late. They run on time to the second, and it’s only an unavoidable natural event, such as an earthquake or heavy snow, that will disrupt the schedule.
  • They have an excellent safety record, with no fatal accidents.
  • The Tokyo-Osaka route sees up to thirteen trains an hour operate each way, each with sixteen carriages.
  • Shinkansen trains are all fitted with an earthquake warning system, called the Urgent Earthquake Detection and Alarm System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of an earthquake.

How To Become A Travel Agent

There are many jobs related to travel, but one of the most flexible and rewarding careers is being a travel agent.

Though online travel websites are frequently used among travelers, travel agents can still make great money.

Many people refrain from using travel agents because they assume the travel agent will charge a fee. However, it’s common for travel agents to work on commission and charge the agencies you end up using.

If a travel agent does charge, it won’t be too expensive, and it’ll definitely pay for itself in case the unpredictable happens, which usually does. Travel can get stressful, especially if you’re on a long-distance trip, and travel agents can relieve you of that stress.

They’ll be able to put your mind at ease and create the perfect hassle-free trip for you.

The number of travel agents is decreasing, which can actually be a good thing. The travel agents that are left are professionals in the field that are incredibly passionate about their work.

They’ve become experts in the field and have a level of expertise that no travel website will ever have. There are ways to stick out among other travel agents and agencies, and we’ll speak about it further below.

You’ll save plenty of time on creating your trip, get help from someone who has most likely spent most of their life traveling the world and be able to create a trip that fits your budget.

What does a travel agent do?

Travel agents make planning a trip easy and save you time. They are in charge of creating entire travel packages. This can include but is not limited to flights, rentals, accommodations, cruises, tours, shows, and a lot more. Travel agents are in charge of creating a trip that is designed to fit your needs and interests.

On top of that, they are in charge of letting you know of any travel advisories as well as reminding you of which documents you need to have for the country or countries you’re going to visit. Since safety is an important topic and can be confusing when traveling, travel agents make sure to stay on top of safety issues.

Specialize in a few niches or interests of yours that you’re passionate about.

Do you enjoy vacations that help out the town you’re in while also experiencing a new culture? Or are you the type to want to go on sailing trips and snorkeling in the Caribbean? Specializing in certain niches will make you stand out and become an expert in your field. It’s always to get better at a few things than trying to cover every single niche.

There are several different types of travel agents, with the most popular being travel agents for people who are going away on business, and those who are going away for a fun and relaxing vacation.