The summer holiday season has begun and families, couples and friends are ready to head out into the sun for a few weeks of relaxing by the pool, sitting on the beach and taking part in fun activities.

For the most part travelling abroad is straightforward, book your flights, accommodation and excursions and make sure you get to the airport on time, but what do you do if your summer escape is not what you expected?

What can you do if your airline loses your luggage? Can you get a refund if your accommodation is not as palatial as the brochure suggested? And what happens if your flight is delayed, or worse cancelled?

Travel Insurance Explained are here to answer those all important questions.

What can you do if your holiday accommodation isn’t what you thought it would be?

Unfortunately, travel insurance doesn’t cover lack of enjoyment – if the holiday accommodation is not what was advertised, the traveller should contact their booking agent/tour operator or accommodation provider. Package Travel Regulations cover some circumstances as well as being able to approach ABTA/ATOL for complaints about accommodation provided by an ABTA/ATOL registered entity. The same applies for a disappointing excursion – unfortunately travel insurance won’t cover you for this either, and the traveller should take this up with the organiser of the excursion.

Is your money safer if you pay for your holiday by credit card?

Many customers with credit cards or premium bank accounts will find that they have some financial protection against fraud and consumer issues relating to products they have purchased using their credit card. If for example Package Travel Regulations don’t apply due to the type of booking, or if you have booked independently and suffer financial loss as a result of fraud, then there is no harm in contacting your bank or credit card provider for information as to how they may be able to help.

What happens if you miss your flight due to traffic on the way to the airport?

Generally missing your flight because you were stuck in traffic is not covered by travel insurance – insurers expect you to allow for the inevitable delays on the M25 when you set off and leave yourself plenty of time. Some Insurers will look at the reason for the claim and decide whether or not the traffic jam was caused by extraordinary circumstances, however they will always expect you to have left yourself enough time to get there under normal circumstances.

What can you do if your luggage doesn’t arrive?

If your luggage has been lost by the airline then you must report it to the airline or their appointed agents and obtain a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) this will confirm the time and date the baggage was lost, and the date it was returned (if applicable). Travellers should also keep the airline luggage stickers that they usually fix to passports or booking confirmations at check in. You may be able to claim a nominal amount under your travel insurance for delayed luggage to buy essential items. The amount claimed will vary from provider to provider, from under £100 to up to £500. Normally travellers are not able to claim under this section of the policy until the bags have been missing for 12 hours or more.

If your flight is delayed, can you claim any money back?

Under the EU Regulation 261, airlines operating in the EU have to provide certain compensation, accommodation, or refreshments if flights are delayed. There will also be some cover under your travel insurance policy. However generally travel insurance won’t kick in until the flight has been delayed for 12 hours or more and it is usually a small amount for every 12 hours you are delayed. Some travel insurers are more generous and will start paying for delays after six hours.

What do you do you if your flight is cancelled?

If the airline cancels the flight then it will generally be up to the airline to provide an alternative flight, or refund the money in full. Air Passenger Rights cover customers who find themselves in this situation, so review the information on the Civil Aviation Authority website, specifically relating to Air Passenger Rights. If you have booked your flight separately from your accommodation and you flight is cancelled, you may still need to pay for the accommodation you can no longer use. A few travel insurance policies will cover you for this eventuality so it may be worth looking for a policy that does.