Failure of Low Cost Holidays

Current advice regarding the failure of Low Cost Holidays which will apply to all MAPFRE underwritten schemes.

EHICPlus, EHICPlus Expand, ANZPlus

July 2016: Failure of Low Cost Holidays

On 15 July 2016, it has been confirmed that Low Cost Holidays went into liquidation.

Low Cost Holidays, Spain, S.L. registered address C/ada Byron, S/N, 07121 Parc Bit, Balears, Spain.  Its registered company number is CIF B57813248 is an Appointed Representative of Cover-More Insurance Services, PO Box 9180, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 9AG, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to transact general insurance business. Cover-More Insurance Services FCA Registration.  The underwriter is ERV.

Customers may wish to use these details to assist with any assistance they may require.

If you have booked a holiday with Low Cost Holidays and need to change the dates of your cover on your policy, due to changing your trip arrangements, we can change this to cover your new holiday providing the new trip is within three months of your original departure date, is for the same (or no longer) duration and is to the same geographical area.  If your trip is cancelled and you are being fully refunded by your holiday company and so have no claim to make under this insurance, we will also consider the cancellation and refund of your existing policy.  Please note that this will only apply to Single Trip policies for specific trips covering the dates concerned.

The insurance policies do not provide cover for situations of this nature.  In most cases, we would advise you to contact your travel company to help you make alternative arrangements.  We understand that in this instance it is the travel company that has gone into liquidation.

Customers should refer to their terms and conditions for full details of their travel insurance cover.

  • Medical expenses – The failure of the travel company will have no bearing on the medical expenses cover.
  • Repatriation – The failure of the travel company will have no bearing on the medical expenses cover.
  • Cutting short your trip – There is no cover under the policy for cutting short your trip as a result of the failure of the travel company.
  • Cancellation – There is no cover under the policy for cancelling your trip as a result of the failure of the travel company.
  • Travel delay – The failure of the travel company will have no bearing on the delayed departure / travel delay cover.
  • Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) – As described in the section this only applies where a scheduled airline has gone into liquidation, which does not apply on this occasion. So no claims can be considered under this section.
  • Supplier Failure – This cover is not available, as it only applies where elements of your trip are booked independently of a package with a travel company and only refer to the failure of the following:
    • short let holiday accommodation providers (including hotels),
    • car hire operators
    • ferry operators
    • coach operators
    • train operators

As we are sadly, therefore, unable to offer any cover in this instance, we can only advise customers already abroad to contact the travel company, or the local British Embassy, for assistance in returning home.

Please note that our advice remains valid until further notice.

For information on your local British Embassy in the country you are currently in, please go to the following website address and locate the relevant British Consulate / Embassy for assistance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations

Further to the information above, MAPFRE have advised that if a customer booked their trip with Low Cost Holidays and paid for this using their credit card, as long as this was more than £100 they should be able to contact their credit card provider to seek a refund under their protection program.

Quiberon: A Relaxing Beach Holiday in Brittany

With beautiful sandy beaches, prehistoric monuments, fishing villages and bustling markets, Quiberon (pronounced “Kibberon”) is a wonderful destination for a beach holiday.

When To Visit
Quiberon enjoys around 8 hours sunshine a day during the summer months; this is also the driest time of year. Daytime temperatures reach 22C/72F in July and August, dropping back to 20C/68F in September. The oceanic climate can be changeable and breezy, so pack a lightweight jacket.

Beaches for Everyone
Wherever you are on the Quiberon peninsula, a spit of land just 14 kilometres (8 miles) long and only 22 metres (72 feet) wide at its narrowest point, you are only a stone’s throw from the sea.

The sheltered bays near St-Pierre-Quiberon in the south are popular with swimmers and families with young children. To the north, the vast sandy beaches near Penthièvre are superb for horse riding, sand yachting and windsurfing.

The Grand Plage in Quiberon town has a boardwalk lined with boutiques and stands serving sweet and savoury crêpes — the local speciality — biscuits and salted caramels.

The Cote Sauvage, the wild coast, is best explored on foot or by bike: this is the rugged west of the peninsula, where dramatic cliffs are pounded by Atlantic waves.

Not To be Missed
The Neolithic site of Carnac lies just to the north: its rows of 3000 stones have astonished travellers for thousands of years.

Take a ferry to the island of Belle Ile and discover an array of wildflowers, pretty coves and restaurants serving some of the freshest seafood you will ever taste.

During the last week of July, Vannes hosts an open air jazz festival.

From 5-14 August, Lorient hosts the Interceltique Festival, an international celebration of Celtic music, dance and culture.

Where To Stay 
Quiberon has a range of hotels and self-catering apartments to suit all budgets. The town gets busy during July and August so make your booking well in advance. Bed and Breakfast is a popular option, with prices from around £60 per night.

Getting there
By car: Ferries run to St Malo and Roscoff. Many summer visitors park their cars at Quiberon’s main railway station and take the shuttle bus into town, as the two-lane road can get very busy in high season.

By train: the TGV runs from Paris Montparnasse to Auray, where you change to the local connection to Quiberon.

NEW: Introducing our Premier Gadget Insurance

We know that you value your holiday insurance, but many people also worry about their electronic gadgets when they are at home. What if they are stolen, or they break down, or they get dropped and damaged?

To help you with this, we’ve just introduced a new policy, Premier Gadget Insurance.

This offers low monthly payments (or yearly payments if you prefer), and gives you up to £1,500 of cover on every gadget.

You also get 90 days worldwide gadget cover, which is useful because most travel insurance policies offer only limited cover for your gadgets.

We offer cover for mobile phones, tablet computers, iPads, laptops, cameras, MP3 music players, and other popular gadgets too.

What’s covered?
You can enjoy peace of mind, with all our policies covering:

  • Accidental damage
  • Theft
  • Liquid damage
  • Fraudulent use
  • 90 days worldwide cover
  • Upgrade to our Silver policy to also get cover on Loss, and the Gold policy also includes cover for Breakdown.

Get your 10% discount today
So whether you lose your gadget, have it stolen or it just breaks down, our Premier Gadget Insurance policy could have you covered.

Get a quote on Premier Gadget Insurance today and save 10% with code LAUNCH10.

Brexit – getting good value on your holiday

Although the UK has voted to leave the European Union, the decision has not yet formally come into effect, and will not do so for at least a couple of years.

Nothing changes yet
The good news is that you will not face any immediate obstacles to your holiday arrangements. You will not need additional visas to enter EU countries this summer, and your current European-Union-issued passport remains valid.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) remains valid, allowing access to emergency treatment and healthcare while travelling within EEA countries and Switzerland.

How this affects your holiday money
Bear in mind that the media always likes to dramatise a crisis. That’s how they get more readers and more viewers, by pumping out a story of constant crisis!

So let’s have a look what’s really going on here.

Currencies have been fluctuating in value, and this volatility is likely to remain until the end of the year, perhaps longer, although of course nobody can be certain.

On 23rd June, the day of the referendum, you could have bought 1.30 euros for your pound (you had to pay 77p to buy a euro).

At the time of writing (on 4th July 2016), you can currently buy around 1.19 euros for your pound (you now have to pay 84p to buy a euro).

So it’s become a bit more expensive to buy your euros. Having said that, buying euros is still better value now than it was back in 2013, which wasn’t exactly eons ago, so don’t be too disheartened – the sky most certainly hasn’t fallen in!

Should you buy euros now, or wait a while?
If anyone knew this for certain, they would be able to predict the money markets and would be the richest person in the world! (Maybe we should ask the richest person in the world and see what he thinks!)

So any advice or articles you see in the media about whether to buy currency now or later are complete guesswork! Unless you’ve got a crystal ball, there’s no right or wrong answer here.

The exchange rate seems to have stabilised now, but of course you can never be sure!

The easy way to find the exchange rate
To keep an eye on exchange rates, you can just do a google search for GBPEUR (this is just what the banks call the pound-euro exchange rate). A handy currency converter and exchange rate will then appear immediately within Google.

One note of caution though: Google will show you the rate that the banks use to trade with each other, it’s not the tourist rate, so you will have to pay a little more than this, but it’s a good guide.

You can also see a more detailed currency chart for the past few months if you wish.

Where to buy your currency 
Keep in mind that exchange rates can change quite quickly, so check for the best deal only at the point when you’re actually ready to buy.

The Post Office and supermarkets are still easily-accessible places to buy currency, and they still offer reasonable deals.

You might find a price comparison site such as Money Saving Expert or Money Supermarket useful.

Airline seats are cheap now!
Insiders in the airline industry will readily tell you that right now airline seats are cheap.

The airlines are struggling. The reason for this may surprise you: it’s because the cost of aviation fuel went down so much, as oil dropped from over $100 to around $35 per barrel (it’s gone up a bit since then). This meant that airlines decided to fly far more planes this year than they did last year, because it costs them less to fly.

This extra “capacity”, as they call it, means they’ve all got lots of planes to fill with happy travellers like us, and they’re having to sell tickets at bargain-basement prices. It’s almost turning into a price war – bad news for shareholders, good news for travellers.

It all balances out
There’s no need to panic. You might need to pay a bit more for your hotel in Europe, and your spending money might not go as far, but the cost of your flights will have gone down compared to last year, so probably overall you’re not much better or worse off.

Better-value places for a holiday
Some areas of the Eurozone still retain a significantly lower cost of living than the European average. This means your costly Euros will go just that little bit further.

The best value for money can be found in the east and the south of  mainland Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia, and Portugal are all traditionally affordable, and each one offers more than their fair share of spectacular rural scenery, and metropolitan excitement, for your trip away this summer.

So have a good shop around online, and prepare to go somewhere a little bit unusual and off the beaten track, and you might just have your best holiday yet!

Airline apps and parking apps

To celebrate the launch of our Premier Gadget Insurance policy, we’re starting a new series looking at travel gadgets and apps for your smartphone, helping you to make the most of your holiday.

Check your app store
There’s an obvious place to start when looking for travel apps for your phone.

If you have an iPhone, bring up the App Store, choose Categories from the top left, and scroll down to the travel category. You’ll be surprised what you find. A treasure trove of apps awaits, from airline apps, to travel guides, to apps for individual attractions such as museums.

If you have an Android phone, you can find a similar set of travel apps on the Google Play store.

Airline apps
This month, we’ll look at airline apps, to help you book your flight, change your flight, check your flight is on time, and help you at the airport. Airlines are putting a lot of time and money into their apps at the moment, because they see it as one of the ways to encourage you to fly with them and not their competitors.

The most popular airline for European destinations is easyJet, so let’s start there. The easyJet app is free to use, and gets updated regularly.

To see it on your app store, click one of these links:
easyJet app for iPhone
easyJet app for Android

You can search for flights, make bookings, and check in up to 30 days in advance, directly from your phone. You can also keep your boarding passes directly within the mobile app, which saves you having to print out your boarding passes – a welcome relief if you’ve ever tried to find a working printer while you’re on holiday!

Of course, don’t let your phone run out of battery while you’re away, or a mobile boarding pass won’t be much use!

The Flight Tracker part of the easyJet app lets you keep an eye on your flight, see if it’s on time, and will give you the latest messages directly from the Operations Control Centre at easyJet if your flight gets disrupted.

Although disruption is often unavoidable in this era of frequent air traffic control strikes, airlines know it is a major source of dissatisfaction for travellers, so they are trying hard to help by at least giving us information on what we can expect when our flights don’t leave on time.

You can use Apple Pay to pay for easyJet flights on the app too, which saves the difficulty of having to type your payment card details into a phone.

The future of airline apps?
An interesting innovation that easyJet is currently experimenting with is called Mobile Host. It’s being trialled at Gatwick, and a dozen other popular airports.

The idea is that app will guide you through the airport process, reminding you to check in online before travelling to the airport, providing directions to the bag drop area, telling you which gate your flight will depart from, and telling you which baggage belt your suitcase will arrive on. It also gives live flight updates and directions to the gate as soon as it is open.

It sounds like this could make travelling a lot easier, especially if you are unfamiliar with the airport, or if you do not fly very often.

Other airlines also have apps, including Ryanair and British Airways — some more advanced with others — so search your app store before you fly and download your airline’s app. You could find it very useful, especially if your flight is delayed.

Parking your car
One last useful little gem this month:
Ever forgotten where you parked your car at the airport? There are several apps that use the GPS on your phone to remember where you are. You just set it when you park, and it drops a pin on the map to remember where you are.

Your phone’s GPS is accurate to within a few feet, so when you come back from your holiday you can use it to guide yourself back to your car! Simple but often very useful.

On the iPhone, the Parking Aid for iPhone app costs £0.79.

Android users have a couple of other choices, both free to download: ParKing for Androidor Valet for Android.

Be safe – insure your gadgets
Get 90 days Worldwide cover for your gadgets with Premier Gadget Insurance, and save 10% with code LAUNCH10.