Concert and festival ticket buyers have been warned to check the small print before buying insurance to cover cancellations, after a survey found many do not know what cover they are paying for.
Research by Which? found ticket buyers were now more likely to pay for insurance than before the Covid-19 pandemic, but that many did not know what was covered, or that event organisers were in some cases obliged to compensate them as a matter of course.
The insurance is an optional extra sold by websites alongside tickets to events. At Ticketmaster, it costs £4.73 to cover each ticket to events such as Elton John on tour next year, or this month’s Latitude festival. At Eventim, covering a £60 ticket to the Killers at the Emirates stadium costs £3.90.
The consumer group surveyed 2,000 people and found two-fifths thought insurance would cover them if a national lockdown meant the event could not go ahead as planned, while a third thought it would pay out if the event could not go ahead due to a local lockdown.
A quarter thought they would be covered if they were told to self-isolate by the NHS test-and-trace app.
However, in all of these cases ticket holders should be refunded regardless of whether they bought insurance.
For occasions where government advice is in place telling people not to travel outside their local area, and that means they cannot attend an event, the rules are less clear and customers may not automatically be entitled to a refund.
While insurance might seem to be the answer, when Which? checked the terms and conditions of policies being sold on ticket sites, it found not all policies offered a payout.
The group looked at five insurers used by some of the UK’s biggest ticket sales websites. It found XCover used by AXS was the most comprehensive.
In a situation where one person tests positive for Covid and everyone else wants to cancel as a result, Booking Protect, used by Festicket, and Great Lakes Insurance, used by Eventim, would not cover the loss.
Under the “protect my ticket purchase option”, Eventim’s website states that it does not cover any Covid-related claims.
TicketPlan, used by Ticketmaster and See Tickets among others, offered cover in all of the scenarios Which? looked at.
Adam French, the Which? consumer rights expert, said: “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.”