Holidays: What should travel insurance include in case of coronavirus-linked cancellation?

Travel insurance for holidays is always vital to have at the best times to ensure maximum protection. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown numerous holidaymakers’ plans into chaos. Many Britons will want to make sure the next time they travel their travel insurance will cover them appropriately.


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So what should holiday insurance include in the event of coronavirus-related cancellations? spoke to two experts to find out more.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen governments around the world impose travel restrictions to stem the tide of infections, and it is now estimated that over a third of the global population is living under some form of lockdown,” said Aman Johal, Lawyer and Director of Your Lawyers.

“As such, we know huge numbers of consumers are worried about if their summer holiday plans will go ahead and if they’ll be able to claim or get their money back from their insurer where refunds are refused from travel companies, hoteliers and airlines.”

Neil Wright, founder and managing director of UK travel insurance company, explained the problem with cover in the current climate is that the crisis has become a “known event.”

“The short answer is, that it is currently impossible to include any type of cover for Coronavirus cancellations because once it was declared a pandemic (March 11 2020), it became a ‘known event’, and could no longer be covered by travel insurance,” said Wright.

“That said, it’s not completely cut and dry, there are various scenarios, for our existing policyholders, where they may be entitled to seek some type of cancellation cover.”  

Those who had already bought travel insurance should read their policies carefully to check if the insurance they took out prior to the FCO restricting travel covers them for FCO restrictions and imposed quarantine events.

Wright said: “Anyone who purchased a travel insurance policy with Travel Disruption Cover with us before 13.00 hrs on 13 March 2020 will be covered for cancellation of a trip due to FCO advice, providing that the FCO advice was not in place at the time of booking.  

“They will also be covered for Coronavirus as per the terms of the policy.”

“All our products will also continue to cover any medical claims because of Coronavirus if people are travelling to a region where no Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice exists.”

For instance, any policies purchased now (i.e. after 13 March 2020) will not cover any cancellation claims in relation to Coronavirus, including but not limited to, cancellation due to diagnosis of Coronavirus, Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice or flights being cancelled.


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However, new policies purchased will benefit from all other cover including Emergency Medical Costs, Cancellation and Baggage.

“For consumers purchasing policies following the FCO restrictions put in place in March, they should carefully read and compare policies on offer before purchasing insurance to ensure they are protected from coronavirus-induced disruption,” advises Johal.

Holidaymakers should be sure to examine the policy section labelled ‘Cancellation/Curtailment Cover’ or similar in their travel insurance.

If you’re going somewhere the FCO doesn’t currently issue advice on, make sure that any new policy will cover you if the government changes its stance and tells people not to travel.

Travellers should also check their cover levels for Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI).

This provides cover for your flights if your airline goes into administration and ceases trading.

In short, you’ll get your money back for the cost of your flights if your travel insurance includes SAFI.

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