The UK Government and the Foreign Office (FCDO) recently updated their travel advice and announced: The Green list - a list of countries that the UK governments say it's safe to travel to.
What's the latest FCDO travel advice?
From the 17th May, the FCDO and UK Government have removed their blanket advice against all international travel and have created a list of countries and territories they feel are safe for travellers to visit.
This advice update is essential to be covered by your travel insurance. You will only be covered by your travel insurance if you travel to a country the FCDO says is safe. Specifically, when they are not advising against all but essential travel.
What is the "Green list"?
The Green list is a list of countries that you can legally travel to. And a list of countries you can travel to without quarantining when you come back home. You are still required to take a coronavirus test at your destination and when back in the UK. You may even be required to take a test before leaving (this depends on your destination government's entry requirements).
How do I know the entry requirements for a specific country?
This is unfortunately not very straightforward as the information from different countries is changing very frequently and can be inconsistent.
We've found some useful resources you can use though:
FCDO travel advice: Look at the 'Entry requirements' section for a specific country. This is the best starting point.
International Air Transport Association: Use their interactive map to see the latest border restrictions
What does this mean for Pluto's travel cover?
Whenever you go abroad, you should always protect your trip with travel insurance.
The most important thing to check is that the FCDO isn't advising against travel for your destination when you depart. If this is the case, your travel insurance won't be valid at all. So please check your country is on the list.
Your travel insurance won't cover any costs as a result of having to self-isolate when returning back to the UK after a trip abroad.
With Pluto, we can change your policy dates and sometimes the destination for free if you need to change your trip. Just message us and we'll try to help as much as we can.
If you're travelling to a country on the Green list and the FCDO has said is safe, here's what you are and aren't covered for.
What isn't covered?
Unfortunately, regardless of the new FCDO advice, we're not able to cover the following situations where it relates to coronavirus:
Cancelling your trip before you leave. For example, if the FCDO change their travel advice for a country or because you have coronavirus and/or are self-isolating with symptoms before your trip or because of an airline or event cancellation.
Having to cut your trip short or come home early. For example, a sudden change in FCDO advice while you're abroad or there's a lockdown imposed by the local government.
Travel delay, missed departures or extra accommodation costs, caused by border closure due to a local lockdown.
We're unable to cover these things because coronavirus is now classed as a 'known event' and insurance is only designed to protect you against risks and issues that are not known when you’re buying a policy or booking a trip.
What is covered?
You'll be covered as normal 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.
You can get a quote now for a specific trip, or save money with an annual policy.
If the FCDO is still advising against travel
If you travel against the FCDO's advice for a specific country or region, then you will, unfortunately, invalidate your travel insurance, this will be the same for most other travel insurers.
If the FCDO's or government's advice says it's safe to travel now, but changes before you travel
There is a risk this could happen if there is an outbreak in the UK or your destination country. But, the Government is working hard to ensure these rules don't constantly change back and forth. We would advise you to sign up to email alerts with the FCDO for a country you're travelling to.
If the advice does change from being okay to advising against travel, then we would also advise you not to travel. If you did, we wouldn't be able to cover your trip.
Unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to cover trip cancellation costs because of any change in the FCDO's travel advice.
Should I book my holiday now and get travel insurance?
We always advise you to get your travel insurance straight after booking your trip in case something goes wrong before you travel.
If your destination country is on the FCDO's safe list:
You're okay to go ahead and book a holiday and get your travel insurance. We would still advise:
Ensuring your airline tickets and accommodation bookings are flexible and can be moved last minute.
Buying travel insurance: We can protect your trip from non-coronavirus related things, like if you break your foot and can't travel or there's a flood in your flat. We can't cover you if you need to cancel the trip because of coronavirus or the FCDO's travel advice changes again.
If your destination country is not on the Green list or the FCDO's safe list:
Our advice would be to avoid booking trips in the short term for these destinations. Because, if the rules don't change you may not be able to travel there or there may be self-isolation restrictions when you land in the country and when you return to the UK and you may be out of pocket if you can't travel.
You can of course book a trip for the future when you think the rules will be more relaxed for your country, but we would advise:
Ensuring your airline tickets and accommodation bookings are flexible and can be moved last minutes.
Buying travel insurance for your trip: We can't cover you if you need to cancel the trip because of coronavirus or the FCDO's travel advice, but we can protect your trip from other things, like if you break your foot and can't travel or there's a flood in your flat.
If you need to move your trip dates, we can update your policy for free.
We hope that was useful and helped you to understand the Government's and the FCDO's new travel advice. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email or message us.