Why are insurers stopping selling some policies?
- Trips already booked abroad under existing policies remain unaffected. Travel insurance for new customers remains available, so people should shop around for the cover that best meets their needs. Insurers are carefully monitoring the fast-moving developments in the Coronavirus outbreak, and will keep their positions under review. Insurance is based on assessing the possibility of an event occurring. Insurers take account of when any risk becomes more of a probability than a possibility and then make commercial decisions.
What should I do about travelling?
- Anyone planning to travel should check and follow travel advice on the Foreign and Commonwealth website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Anyone travelling to a country or region against government advice risks invalidating their travel insurance.
- If you make alternative travel plans, then you may be able to transfer your travel insurance to cover your new destination.
- Travel insurance policies may cover some out-of-pocket losses, and also help you to leave the area and return back to the UK if you are advised to do so, and if you are unable to get assistance from any other source.
If I ignore any government advice against all but essential travel, will my travel insurance still cover me?
- If you travel against government advice then you are likely to invalidate your travel insurance. If you are unsure check with your travel insurer.
If I cancel my travel plans can I claim any cancellation costs on my travel insurance?
- Travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. These may include medical advice against you or a member of your group from travelling or government advice against travelling. Check your travel insurance policy for the scope of cover. Travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ where the FCO advice has not changed to advise against travel.
What would be classed as ‘essential’ travel?
- You should check with your travel insurer if the reasons for your trip would or would not invalidate your travel insurance. A holiday to the area is unlikely to be considered as essential.
If I am in an area and the Government advice is to return home, will my travel insurer cover any additional costs I incur in getting back to the UK?
- Travel insurance policies may cover some out-of-pocket losses, and also help you to leave the area if a warning to return back to the UK comes into effect while you are there, if you are unable to get assistance from any other source. You should keep up to date with government advice on the FCO website.
Would any ATOL compensation arrangements operate here?
- No. These relate to the failure of the providers of package holidays, and not for a major medical outbreak like Coronavirus.
Will travel insurance cover me if I have to cancel due to an overseas government restricting entry into their country, even if there is no FCO advice against travel to that country?
- Check your travel insurance policy for the scope of your cover. Some policies will specify FCO advice and some will specify government advice (which may cover foreign governments). If you are unsure, you should check with your insurer.
What happens if I’m quarantined overseas?
- If you are required to be quarantined while abroad, you should be covered by your insurance policy, including any relevant medical expenses that are required. Your insurer may consider additional travel expenses at the end of the quarantined period to allow you to return home. Check with your insurer if you have any questions.
- Many policies can be extended for a specific period, if you are unavoidably detained from returning to the UK. If this happens, then check with your insurer.
Travel insurer pledges:
ABI travel insurance members have pledged to:
- Ensure that customers are provided with, or directed to, the most up-to-date information around the Coronavirus outbreak and publish clear information at the point-of-sale around the valid coverage of their policies.
- Work closely with customers to signpost them to where compensation may be received for cancelled transport, holidays or an inability to travel abroad e.g. airlines, travel providers and travel agents.
- Consider all valid travel insurance claims quickly and fairly for costs not recoverable from elsewhere arising from cancellation, travel curtailment or disruption so that customers receive a fair outcome.
- Upon notification from their customers, help them consider their options for transferring their travel insurance to cover a new destination should people wish to make alternative travel plans.
- Implement business continuity plans to be able to continue to handle travel insurance claims in challenging circumstances.
- Be understanding of the difficulties customers may have in getting medical certification and consider, where appropriate, alternative evidence that customers may be able to provide.