Passengers are being warned they may not qualify for holiday refunds if they have to self-isolate due to coronavirus symptoms, as the UK reopens its borders for travellers heading abroad.
Those who are asked to quarantine though the NHS’s test and trace initiative, for example, may not be eligible for a refund on their flight or booking.
Alex Neill, of resolution service Resolver, said UK tourists needed to be aware they were “taking a risk”.
She said anyone who gets coronavirus symptoms at the time they are booked to go away is highly unlikely to get their money back when they cancel their holiday package holiday and travel insurance firms will probably not pay out.
“It is likely that new travel insurance policies won’t cover you if you develop symptoms before going on holiday – and if the flight or packaged holiday isn’t cancelled then you have no automatic right to compensation,” she said.
“While it’s important to the economy to support the travel industry, at this time it’s the customer who is bearing all of the risk.”
People going on overseas getaways are strongly advised to take out travel insurance, which will still cover them for accidents and loss of luggage.
A European Health Insurance Card will also give access to state healthcare in the EU.
Some new travel insurance policies will now cover medical treatment for Covid-19 which has been caught while in a resort.
However, people who need to cancel a holiday because one or more passengers is in self-isolation could be refused their money back.
“Most people would behave responsibly even if that meant losing their holiday, but I would also expect holiday and insurance companies to show a little compassion in these circumstances,” Neill said, suggesting the measures could encourage people to flout the rules.
“Driving consumers to do the wrong thing can’t be an unintended consequence of opening back up from lockdown.”
Insurance companies argue that coronavirus is no longer an unforeseen event, so may not be included in cover.
There may be better news for people who already had a travel insurance policy bought or renewed prior to early March as they may still be able to make a claim for such a cancellation, but they should check their policy.
If the UK, or a destination country, re-introduces restrictions on travel as a result of a fresh outbreak, then a package holiday company or airline should refund holidays or flights that they then need to cancel.
However, refunds are unlikely if a holidaymaker chooses to cancel as a result.
On Friday, the Department for Transport released a list of 74 countries that English tourists can now visit without having to quarantine on their return.
The Foreign Office also released a list of 67 destinations which are exempt from its advisory against all non-essential travel.
Both of the lists include holiday favourites such as Spain, France and Italy.
However, with two Spanish cities now in lockdown, passengers face a fresh wave of flight cancellations amid fears of a second outbreak.
Elsewhere, Japan and Cyprus have said they will not accept anyone who has been in the UK in the last 14 days.
And Greece will not accept direct flights from the UK until July 15.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to decide if and when they will lift or loosen the restrictions.
On Friday Nicola Sturgeon dubbed the measures “shambolic”.
She said: “When so much is at stake, as it is right now, we can’t allow ourselves to be dragged along in the wake of, to be quite frank about it, another government’s shambolic decision making process.
“We want to welcome visitors from around the world and we also want to allow our own citizens to travel.
“We also want, if possible, for obvious practical reasons, to have alignment on these matters with the rest of the UK.”
Emma Coulthurst, consumer advocate for price comparison site TravelSupermarket, said: “The Government’s latest information released late on Friday on where UK citizens can holiday this summer has the potential to confuse people and see them unwittingly book holidays which, due to restrictions imposed by the destination country, they might not be able to take.
“It is vitally important that holidaymakers check the individual country’s entry requirements before booking and also book cancel-for-free or flexible rebooking options in case they unintentionally book a holiday which entry restrictions then prevent them from taking.
“The UK Government should be making it clearer what the actual situation is for travel from the UK to countries on their lists and providing a lot more clarity on where holidaymakers can actually go to from the UK without restriction.”