Brits to be offered travel insurance for holidays affected by extreme heat

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Travellers will soon be able to insure themselves against very high temperatures (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Travellers will soon be able to insure themselves against very high temperatures (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Brits heading on holidays will soon be able to get insurance protecting them against extreme temperatures, a firm has announced after large parts of the world baked in record temperatures. July proved to be the hottest month globally on record as human-caused global heating combined with the El Nino weather pattern to push temperatures higher than they've ever been before.

Large parts of southern Europe including Spain, Greece and Italy sweltered as punishingly hot temperatures made going outside for much of the day a dangerous chore and led to wildfires. Now US-based Sensible Weather, an insurance start-up found in in 2019, has said it will offer travel protection against extreme temperatures and heatwaves to holidaymakers. The firm currently offers policies that mitigate for extreme rainfall.

"We will soon be offering trip protection against extreme temperatures. We’ve found that travellers have different expectations for what’s ‘too hot’, depending on where and when they are going somewhere," Nick Cavanaugh, chief executive of Sensible Weather and a former climate scientist, told the i newspaper.

Brits to be offered travel insurance for holidays affected by extreme heat eideziqkeiqhhinvTemperatures records tumbled in July (Getty Images)

The company said it plans to roll out the policies, until it works out a "sweet spot" for customers. It is likely that the hot weather cover will be similar to Sensible Weather’s rain coverage, in which weather data is used to calculate the risk of rain. When satellites detect a downpour, customers receive a pay out. Most of firm's policies offer compensation if there are two of more hours of rainfall between 8am and 8pm.

Mr Cavanaugh suggested that the hot weather cover will provide different pay-out amounts depending on how long the weather lasts for and how hot it gets. If you don't take out such coverage but you do find yourself with a holiday to an extremely hot destination that you no longer want to go on, whether or not you can ask for a refund is dependent on a number of factors.

Gales, snow and rain to batter country today with 80mph wind gustsGales, snow and rain to batter country today with 80mph wind gusts

Amidst the wildfires that hit parts of Europe last week, travel insurers warned Brits that they may not be covered if they booked a last-minute holiday during the chaos. Admiral Travel Insurance explained: "Travel insurance covers unforeseen events. The wildfires have had widespread media attention since the weekend, meaning from Sunday, 23 July, it was considered an anticipated event."

That means if you booked a holiday to Rhodes or possibly even Corfu, Sicily and Croatia where smaller fires broke out last week, your travel insurance may not be valid. The same goes for those considering booking a holiday to those destinations now.

If you booked your holiday arrangements separately and your flight has been cancelled, you should be entitled to a refund for your flight. You will then need to look at the terms of the conditions for your other bookings such as accommodation and transport, and you may also want to look at your travel insurance policy, according to ABTA.

Travel firms and airlines may be inundated by requests from customers this week, so make sure to regularly check their websites and social media feeds to any advice updates. It's worth noting that a number of travel firms including TUI, easyJet and Jet2 have been cancelling flights and holidays, and issuing refunds; if a firm cancels your trip, you're automatically entitled to getting your money back.

Milo Boyd

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