People planning to attend gigs and major events may not get the coronavirus-related cover they are expecting, Which? is warning.
It is urging people to check the small print on policies.
Around three in 10 people told the consumer group they would now be more likely to pay for ticket insurance, after the pandemic led to mass cancellations of concerts, festivals and sports events.
One in five had tickets to an event they could not attend or was cancelled due to coronavirus between April 2020 and May 2021.
In the event of a national or local lockdown or mandatory self-isolation, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) guidance suggests that consumers should be able to expect a refund from the ticket provider.
In those circumstances, consumers should not need an insurance policy, Which? said, and only one of the policies it reviewed included cover for this.
But it said the situation is less clear when consumers are following Government advice rather than a legal requirement – such as advice not to travel outside their local area. In these situations, consumers may need insurance to get a refund – but some of the policies Which? reviewed do not cover this.
This may create a risk that some people may disregard important health guidance rather than miss an event and lose their money, the consumer champion warned.
Which? asked 2,000 people across the UK what they thought ticket insurance policies would cover them for in terms of Covid-19 related cancellations.
Four in 10 (41%) believed they would be covered if a national lockdown meant the event could not go ahead as planned, while a third (35%) thought they would be covered if the event could not go ahead due to the event being in a local lockdown area.
A quarter (27%) also thought they would be covered if they were told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app.
But insurance policies do not have to cover these cases, as the ticket provider should provide a refund regardless of whether the customer has insurance, Which? said.
The consumer group said it is important to check each policy’s terms and conditions to see if it is worth paying extra.
Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “With more and more people tempted by ticket insurance during the pandemic, many don’t know what it would cover them for and could be buying insurance assuming that it covers them for all Covid disruptions.
“Consumers should check the terms and conditions carefully to see if it’s worth buying insurance and should remember that if an event is cancelled or postponed due to lockdown rules, primary ticket sellers have to offer a refund.”
Ticket insurers told Which? that many customers have been able to obtain full refunds due to their cover.
Festicket said: “Booking protect offers customers confidence when booking in case they cannot attend the event due to accident or illness.
“During the pandemic, this coverage has been widened to include Covid-19 protection, which covers customers in the case where they have Covid-19, have unfortunately had a bereavement due to Covid-19, or also if they have been made redundant and have fallen on hard times.
“This has enabled close to 1,000 customers to obtain full refunds since the start of the pandemic outside of those offered by the festivals.”
Gigs and Tours said: “Gigs and Tours terms and conditions are accessible via the site homepage and are listed at the time of booking.”
Here are tips from Which? for what to do if you need to get your money back for a cancelled event:
– Check your travel insurance if you have it – you may be able to make a claim if you have tested positive for coronavirus or need to self-isolate.
– Contact your ticket seller – primary ticket sellers should offer you a refund if an event is cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus.
– Think carefully about whether you want your tickets to the postponed event – once you have confirmed you want to roll your tickets over, it may be unlikely you will be able to change your mind afterwards.
– If you paid by credit card it may be possible in certain circumstances to make a Section 75 claim under the Consumer Credit Act to your credit provider.
More information about getting refunds is on the Which? website.