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The difference between ABTA and ATOL holiday protection

When booking a holiday, customers will often take comfort in knowing they are ABTA or ATOL protected. Often the two terms are used interchangeably. However, while they are both watchdogs of tour operators, the cover they supply depends upon your mode of transport. Here, we will explain when you need ABTA or ATOL, what benefits you are entitled to and why these insurances policies are essential for keeping your money safe.

When do you need ABTA or ATOL?

ABTA stands for the Association of British Travel Agents, while ATOL stands for Air Travel Organiser's Licence.

ABTA only covers trips that involve trains, cruises and car travel when a provider goes bust or has mis-sold to you – not package holidays where flights are included; this is when ATOL protection is needed. Crucially, your holiday and flights must also be booked through the same provider to count as a package holiday. Thankfully, if you are an Ocean Florida customer, we can confirm you are ATOL protected. This cover is especially vital should an airline go bust, such as Thomas Cook in 2019, and Monarch Holidays in 2017, respectively. ATOL also covers costs for accommodation (including a cruise) and car hire when the package holiday is booked with flights..

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How much cover does ABTA or ATOL provide?

ABTA offers two forms of protection: legal and financial.

Your legal protection ensures that 'you get the holiday you paid for,' this can include an alternative trip if you are mis-sold a holiday. An example of a mis-sold holiday is not finding your destination as described, such as your ocean-view hotel having scaffolding in the way. However, you cannot claim for what is outside of the travel company’s control, such as bad weather and the behaviour of other guests. ABTA also do not provide cover for holidays from over 18 months ago.

Your financial protection includes a full refund when you are mis-sold a holiday or the provider ceases trading. If you are abroad when your holiday company ceases trading, you will be transported home through ABTA.

ATOL protection - like ABTA - entitles you to a full refund for cancelled trips if your holiday company ceases trading or a safe return from abroad, but through the Civil Aviation Authority in this case. It is worth remembering, that every UK travel company which sells overseas holidays and flights, is required by law to hold an ATOL licence. You can check your provider is certified by looking for the ATOL logo on their website.

Planning a holiday?

Not only do we provide ATOL protection but also Covid-19 cover with extra flexibility to your booking, allowing you to holiday with confidence. For a quote in a matter of minutes, call our travel specialists today. Over 300,000 happy customers have fulfilled their travel dreams with Ocean Florida, and we would love to help you too. 


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