When rain stops play check the small print

SO NOW you can insure yourself against having your holiday washed out by rain. If you are off in Lerwick (or wherever) for a week, and if at least half an inch of rain falls on four days out of the seven - and if you took your cancellation insurance out with Rothwell and Towler of Sidmouth, Devon - then you would be entitled to a refund of a fifth of the cost of the entire holiday.

This may not sound very generous. The odds of so precise a combination of meteorological circumstances actually happening sound pretty remote to me. But Rothwell and Towler claim that their phones have not stopped ringing and I can well believe it. I know people who would jump at this kind of insurance policy. My father, for example.

He has never knowingly gone on holiday to a place with significant risk of rainfall, but he claims that it always manages to bucket down on him. I keep suggesting that he consider a holiday in the empty quarter of Saudi Arabia or Chile's Atacama Desert (where it has not rained for 400 years), but he refuses on the grounds that the locals are not equipped to deal with the sudden deluges which follow him around wherever he travels.

But the idea that there might be some compensation at the end of his rain tunnel would cast a ray of light over the whole experience. Last summer there were a number of theoretical weeks at various British resorts which might have been wet enough to qualify for a pay-out. And given that the anti-rain policy will cover people equally in the wettest parts of the country as in the driest, I can see pluviophobes like my father heading for the Outer Hebrides for the first time in their lives.

Mind you, rain is but one of the hazards which have been difficult to claim for under traditional travel insurance policies. I think I would have wanted my money back, for example, if I had gone to Paris last week specifically to see the "Millet-Van Gogh" exhibition in the Orsay Museum, only to find that it was closed down for four days by a strike among staff. Fortunately, a spokesperson for Columbus Travel Insurance tells me that although a loss of enjoyment because of rain is not covered by standard policies, a strike in a French museum might be.

The current threat to holidays concerns the possibility of their being curtailed or cancelled due to nasty goings on in the Gulf. All those aggrieved British holiday-makers whose holidays were suddenly cut short without notice last Thursday might well feel that their tour operators' reactions did not seem proportionate to the risk.

True, Israel is in the Middle East, but it is about as far away from Baghdad as London is from Geneva. If I suspected that my holiday had fallen victim to the Foreign Office's propaganda war against Saddam I think I would feel rather aggrieved, too. In fact, the only thing that the Foreign Office actually said was that "non-essential" travel was not advised. What I wonder is whether a long overdue and hard-earned holiday can accurately be described as "non-essential".

Anyway, I flew to Egypt yesterday and am currently heading for the middle of the Sahara Desert. The odds of it raining down here are probably about the same as the odds of my becoming the victim of a poison-gas attack, that is to say fairly slight. The small print of my travel insurance will not cover me for either.

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own