Despite PCR tests being scrapped in favour of cheaper later flow tests for Brits returning to the UK, some countries still require visitors to arrive at their holiday destination with proof of a negative PCR test.

In most destinations, providing proof of a full vaccine status is sufficient evidence to enter a country. However, those who are not fully vaccinated must arrive with proof of a negative Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours before their departure.

While the majority of travellers have a smooth testing experience, several people have reported test kits not arriving on time, as well as test results not being received within the promised time frame.

So, what options do you have if your results do not arrive in time and what steps can you take to avoid this happening?

Book your test through your tour operator or airline’s recommended provider

Here at Travel Insurance Explained, we always recommend booking a package holiday through a reputable company or tour operator. The reason is, travellers will have more financial protection if something was to go wrong before or during their trip compared to if they were to book their holiday independently.

In addition, passengers who buy a PCR test through their tour operator’s recommended provider (or even their airline’s recommended PCR test company) will have more chance of moving their trip dates if the PCR test result doesn’t arrive in time – or they should at least have a contact number should they need to call someone for help.

It is important to check the company or tour operations terms and condition for Covid-related incidences before booking a trip.

Check the PCR Test provider’s terms and conditions

Ok, so you’ve found a government-approved PCR test provider. Now what?

We recommend taking the time to read and fully understand your chosen test provider’s terms and conditions for test results arriving late or not at all. Knowing their refund policy and procedure for claiming will save a lot of time if travellers find themselves in this situation. And if you’re not happy with their policy, you can always shop around and find one that is suitable for your needs!

Please note: In our experience, the majority of PCR test providers specifically exclude claims as a result of their services failing at any point. This means that you may only be entitled to claim the cost of the PCR test if the result does not arrive in time, and not to any missed flight and/or accommodation costs.

Pay for PCR tests with a credit card

If your test result doesn’t arrive in time, and you are unable to get your money back from your PCR test provider, you have the option to claim your money back from your credit card provider under ‘Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act’. The reason being is because you have paid for a service that you did not receive.

However, the total costs of the tests must exceed more than £100 to do so.

Those who booked with a debit card may also be able to claim costs back through their bank under a voluntary scheme called ‘Chargeback’.

However, travellers will need to speak directly to their card provider to discuss their options in both circumstances.

Have a backup option

Prepare for the worst – hope for the best. If you are unsure whether your tests will arrive on time (or if time is running out for your result to arrive before you depart), we would recommend seeking out a new test provider that offers quick delivery and/or can provide you with results on the same day.

While we completely understand how frustrating and costly this could be, in our opinion, it is best to have two tests arrive in time and be able to board your flight, rather than have no results at all.

However, it’s worth being aware that no travel insurance providers will offer cover if you do not have the required documents for exiting the UK or entering another country, for example, a valid test result taken within the required timeframe. Additionally, the majority of travel insurers do not provide cover for unused or extra PCR test costs.

For more information on things to consider when travelling abroad, why check out our Covid Ultimate Guide?