M&S Money warns tourists holidaying in the Caribbean or USA during the hurricane season should make sure they have the necessary financial protection before heading to the sun.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising tourists to follow all weather updates and FCO Travel Advice when planning a journey to the Caribbean or US during the hurricane season which normally starts in June and lasts until November, especially in light of the news that Hurricane Alex has strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the event of a hurricane, the FCO travel advice will be regularly updated if it approaches a populated area. However the FCO will only advise against travel to an area or region if it considers that the risks of travel there are too high.
Tourists travelling to the US or Caribbean independently from a package tour should remember that they will not benefit from the protection provided via a package tour. For example, an independent traveller whose flight is cancelled could find they are unable to claim for subsequent connections, facing the cost of new flights or accommodation.
The popularity of package tours has decreased in recent years. The 17.9million package holidays in 2008 made up 39% of all holiday trips abroad that year, compared with 20.6million in 2002 when 52% of all overseas holidays were of this type.
Andrew Ferguson, M&S head of General Insurance, said: "Holidaymakers who have booked flights as part of a package holiday enjoy protection if they are unable to travel. However, travellers booking flights independently can often find themselves stranded and out of pocket and should make sure they have adequate insurance."
Independent Traveller cover is included as standard in M&S Premier annual multi-trip insurance, and is available as an optional extra with single trip travelling insurance.
M&S Money (the trading name of Marks & Spencer Financial Services) was founded in 1985 as the financial services division of Marks and Spencer Group plc, making 2010 the company's 25th anniversary.
The company is a top-ten credit card provider and the second-largest travel money retailer in the UK. M&S Money also offers a range of insurance cover, including house insurance and motor insurance, as well as loans, currency exchange, savings and investment products.
In November 2004, Marks & Spencer sold M&S Money to HSBC. HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 8,000 offices in 88 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa. With assets of US$2,364 billion at 31 December 2009, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'the world's local bank'.
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