Is your holiday ATOL protected?
If you've already booked your summer holiday this year, have you double checked to make sure it's ATOL protected? ATOL, or Air Travel Organisers' Licensing, is protection given to consumers in case a travel company collapses. This protects you from losing money or being stranded abroad if the worst happens and your travel provider goes under.
From October 2012, anyone booking an ATOL protected holiday should be given an ATOL certificate, even if you're only paying a deposit. You should read the certificate and information on the ATOL website carefully and take your certificate on holiday with you, in case you need to make a claim.
Most overseas holidays booked through a UK based travel company qualify for ATOL protection, but if in doubt, check for the ATOL logo on the company's website, advertising or in their holiday brochures. Whether you book flights and accommodation or a package deal including car hire, or even a cruise, your holiday should be ATOL protected. If you're only booking flight, ATOL protection won't apply.
In the event that your holiday company collapses whilst you're still in the UK, you'll normally receive a full refund of your holiday costs. Should you already be on holiday when the company collapses, ATOL will ensure that you can continue to enjoy your holiday and make provisions for you to return home safely.
What Isn't Provided
ATOL only covers you in the event that your holiday company collapses. If your travel plans are cancelled or curtailed due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances, you won't be covered. By taking out travel insurance in addition to your ATOL protection, you can ensure that you'll receive compensation should your travel plans change. Travel insurance also provides medical and luggage cover for the whole family - some insurers will even cover children for free! Optional extras such as winter sports cover, backpackers insurance and gadget cover are perfect for anyone who needs a little extra cover for their travels and with multi-trip annual travel insurance, you'll be covered no matter how many times you jet off abroad during the next 12 months!
The protection provided by ATOL relates solely to the collapse of a holiday company and whilst it's beneficial to ensure the travel company you book with offer ATOL protection, you should also protect yourself and your family with adequate travel insurance - if the worst happens, you're simply a phone call away from making a claim and receiving compensation.