FILE - In this Aug. 13, 2019 file photo a Thomas Cook plane taxis on the runway at terminal one of Manchester Airport, England. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Thomas Cook collapse shows value of travel insurance

AMA says travel insurance covers more eventualities than many people are aware

Travellers alarmed by the collapse of tour operator Thomas Cook PLC can get some piece of mind with travel insurance.

AMA member services manager Roland van Meurs said on Monday morning they had not fielded any calls yet from travellers wondering if they should be concerned about their tour operators or vacation packages.

“Because it’s more affecting the (United Kingdom) passengers, people will see it and they may ask questions about if this happens in Canada what can I do,” he said.

Global Affairs Canada said on Monday it had no reports of any Canadians being affected by the demise of Thomas Cook, which was focused on European travellers.

Van Meurs said this is not the first time a travel company’s bankruptcies have upset people’s travel plans. A number of years ago, many Canadians were stranded when Canada 3000 went under.

“This is something where I cannot stress enough regarding (the value of) travel insurance, like cancellation insurance,” he said.

Many think that they must be extremely ill and unable to travel to collect on cancellation insurance.

“But there’s so much more to that insurance. With cancellation insurance there is default of supplier.

(Thomas Cook) is a prime example of default of supplier that people who have cancellation insurance policies on their packages and their airline tickets would be covered under these circumstances.”

Besides a vacation plan-threatening illness, insurance can cover travel plans waylaid by a death in the family or even losing a job.

“It also covers if people are halfway through their trip. If something happened with that supplier shut down it would cover them to get people home on alternate suppliers,” he said.

Those looking to book a trip and are worried about the financial status of their tour company or airline should pay attention to the news.

Tour companies and airlines typically have to release their financial status quarterly. A company in financial trouble will usually make the business news.

World events can also have an impact on travel plans and if there is unrest or natural disaster, vacationers would be wise to ensure that their trips are still going ahead.

The British government is taking a leading role in bringing back its citizens. A shadow airline has been set up and dozens of planes lined up to bring people home.

Canada’s government does not have the same sort of system. But Air Canada and other airlines have stepped in voluntarily in the past to bring Canadians home in emergency situations.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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