Does my existing travel insurance cover coronavirus related claims?
If you bought your policy and booked your holiday before the 11th March you would need the extended travel disruption extra to be covered for trip cancellations or coming home early due to changes in travel advice and the pandemic situation. You may also be covered for trip cancellations from catching the virus in the UK or being told to quarantine by a medical professional in the UK. The 11th March is when the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced coronavirus as a pandemic.
What if my trip was booked after the 11th March?
Unfortunately, we can't cover any travel disruption, trip cancellations or if you need to come home early because of coronavirus. This is because coronavirus is now a known event and is still highly unpredictable. This will be the same for most travel insurers. For example, if a country you're about to visit imposes a lockdown and you can't travel there, you wouldn't be covered for cancelling your trip.
We also can't cover you if you have to cancel a trip because you have coronavirus or are self-isolating with symptoms before your trip. For example, if you're advised not to travel due to coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, you wouldn't be covered for cancelling your trip.
Please see below for what we can cover and see here for more on UK trips.
What is covered if I travel?
- If the FCO's travel advice is that it's ok to travel to a country and you go abroad, we will cover you as normal. For example, you'd be covered for all the usual things as part of your policy, like medical expenses, your baggage, travel delay costs, legal costs, missed departures, and many more things.
- Your policy does also still cover trip cancellations and travel disruptions for reasons other than coronavirus. Your policy will have these reasons listed out, or you can send us a message to ask a specific question. For example, if you broke your foot the day before you travel, you'd be covered for cancelling your trip.
- Finally, if you catch coronavirus in another country and require medical treatment, you're covered for medical expenses.
How does the FCO's travel advice affect my cover?
We always recommend that you follow the FCO's travel advice. And, if you choose to travel against their advice, you would, unfortunately, invalidate your travel insurance and we wouldn't be able to cover anything.
This is still the case, even if your trip is considered essential.
How do I know if my trip is affected?
The most accurate and up to date information for UK residents is the Foreign Office’s website, usually referred to as the FCO.
You can search for any country and check what the latest advice is. They will clearly state if they advise against travel to a certain destination.
If the FCO or even the World Health Organisation advises against travel to a specific country, region or town that you’re going to, you’ll likely want to cancel your trip and make a claim for all the costs you can’t get refunded, like flights and hotels. You will invalidate your cover if you travel somewhere the FCO or WHO is advising against travel to.
When can I cancel my trip and claim?
If you have the extended travel disruption extra and bought your policy before the 11th of March, then you may be able to claim for a cancelled trip.
Firstly, you should speak to your tour operator, travel agent or airline before cancelling your trip as they may be able to rearrange, refund or offer alternative travel arrangements. You will need to show this if you submit any claim.
If you have to cancel your trip and have not paid the full cost yet, you should cancel within 5 days of any further payments being due. If you have paid the full trip cost, you should cancel within 5 days of your planned departure date.
If you cancel too early and the WHO downgrade coronavirus from being a pandemic or the FCO changes their travel advice, for example, more than 5 days before your trip is due to commence, this could be considered as unwillingness to travel and you might not be able to make a claim for this as we don't cover this as a reason to cancel your trip.
What can I claim for a cancelled trip?
If you’re covered for trip cancellation, then you claim for all the costs you can’t recover or get refunded that you’ve paid for upfront - E.g. Flights, accommodation, car rental and so on.
Before submitting a claim, please make sure you cancel everything you're looking to claim for and try to request refunds or date changes where possible. You'll be asked to submit evidence that the trip has been cancelled when you submit a claim, in addition to evidence of any refunds that have been given or declined.