Foreign Office's advice causes dilemma for holidaymakers

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THE FOREIGN OFFICE has stopped short of advising motorists not to travel to France. So those who decide to cancel their trips because of the horrific traffic jams and fuel shortages will not be covered by their insurance policies.

Normally, when the Foreign Office advises travellers to avoid a country insurers will pay out under the cancellation clauses.

But the Foreign Office, warning motorists of long delays, is repeating the advice of the French National Centre for Traffic Information that motorists should delay their trips. This falls short of advice not to travel.

The AA says that travellers' insurance will not pay out because the problems have not been caused by public transport. 'We are telling people to think twice about not travelling,' it adds.

Commercial Union, which runs Travellers Insurance Association, supplying policies for Pickfords, says a policy would only pay out if it was 'necessary' to cancel. The current siruation would not be covered.

Europ Assistance, the largest motoring organisation on the Continent, has policies that will pay out if motorists are forced to change their route.

Family Continental Motoring Assistance, which costs pounds 22 plus pounds 3 a day for everyone in a car, will pay up to pounds 1,500 for alternative travel arrangements if a family cannot travel on its planned route. The benefits would only be paid if motorists were prevented from catching ferries.

This would pay out pounds 2,000 if the family decided to cancel the holiday after a delay of more than 12 hours. Otherwise, payments are pounds 50 for the first eight hours delay and then pounds 25 for every further 12 hours up to a maximum of pounds 150.

RAC Roadata special hotline: 0891 700 300.

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