As news breaks today confirming the collapse of Thomas Cook and plans for the repatriation of over 150,000 British tourists abroad commence, travel insurance and assistance expert, Allianz Assistance UK, is offering advice to those affected.
Lee Taylor, Chief Sales Officer at Allianz Partners UK, which provides travel insurance under the Allianz Assistance brand, said; “This morning’s news is a devastating blow for the global travel industry and British holidaymakers alike.
"The first priority will be to ensure any Thomas Cook customers who are either currently abroad or were expecting to travel in the near future, have clear and confident guidelines as to what steps they need to take next.”
Allianz Assistance confirms that financial failure of a Tour Operator is not something typically covered by travel insurance policies as UK firms are, in the main, financially protected by an Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) or Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) financial bond.
People who used a credit card to purchase their holiday will have additional consumer protection and should contact their credit card provider.
Customers of Thomas Cook or one of its Group companies should visit the ABTA website here for advice, including if they are currently away on a Thomas Cook package holiday or staying in accommodation booked with Thomas Cook, or have yet to travel.
Customers of Allianz Assistance UK who have bought travel insurance to accompany a Thomas Cook holiday are being offered a free travel insurance transfer or full travel insurance refund.
Mr Taylor said; “Any Thomas Cook customer who has bought one of our single trip travel insurance policies and wishes to travel on another date for the same duration and to the same country, then we’ll will be happy to transfer the insurance policy to another date without charge.
“If any of our customers have bought a single trip policy and wish to transfer the trip for a different duration or country, then we will be happy to discuss any additional premium that may be required to do so.
"Those customers who have bought a single trip policy and cannot transfer the trip dates, we will be happy to refund the travel insurance premium in full.
“Regardless of who you bought travel insurance from, if you have questions about what is covered under your travel insurance policy contact your insurance provider as a matter of priority."
Here's the advice given on the ABTA website this morning.
Holidaymakers currently away on a Thomas Cook package holiday or staying in accommodation booked with Thomas Cook
Customers who are currently overseas on a flight package holiday will be financially protected under the ATOL scheme and should contact the CAA. The CAA will advise on return flight arrangements.
The CAA’s call centre for Thomas Cook customers is 0300 303 2800 calling from the UK or +44 1753 330 330 if calling from abroad.
Customers who are currently overseas on a package holiday that does not include a flight are protected by ABTA and should continue their holiday as normal.
Customers who are currently overseas and staying in accommodation booked through Thomas Cook Tour Operations are financially protected by ABTA and should continue their holiday as normal.
Customers who are currently overseas and have booked flights directly with the Thomas Cook Airline, or who have booked accommodation via Thomas Cook Retail with a third party (e.g. Expedia) are not financially protected. For flights, they should contact the CAA in the first instance, for accommodation contact the company named on the travel documents.
Customers who are yet to travel
If you’ve booked a package holiday through a Thomas Cook Group retail company, but that holiday is provided by another travel company, you should contact that travel company to check your arrangements will continue as normal.
Customers who have a booked a Thomas Cook package holiday or accommodation through a Thomas Cook Group retail company (Thomas Cook, TCCT Retail Ltd, Future Travel Ltd or Freedom Travel Group Ltd) these holidays will not go ahead, and you will be entitled to a refund.
If you’ve booked a Thomas Cook package holiday through another travel company, you should contact that company to discuss options which may include re-booking or making alternative arrangements.
If you’ve booked flights from Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd, these are not covered by ATOL or ABTA protection, so you will need to pursue a claim through your card issuer.