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Your guide to COVID-19 Cover on your policy and when you can claim

Posted on August 25, 2020 by Lucy Hancock
travellers walking through the airport

After months stuck at home, Brits can now step foot on planes and enjoy a sunny escape after coronavirus lockdown. With some destinations now safe to travel to, your next adventure is waiting for you.

As an existing Staysure customer, we’ve put together this guide just for you. We’ve explained how your travel insurance policy can cover you for COVID-19, from cancelling your holiday to needing medical treatment abroad.

Haven’t bought your travel insurance yet? We’ve explained the ins and outs of our travel insurance that covers coronavirus.

How your travel insurance can cover COVID-19

I have an existing travel insurance policy. Am I covered for COVID-19?

If you bought your cover after 16 March, for your holiday on or after 17 July, you can be covered for COVID-19 at no extra cost for:

  • Cancelling your trip if you have COVID-19 within 14 days of travelling*
  • Emergency medical expenses abroad**
  • Repatriation to help you get back home**
  • Cancellation and repatriation cover if you’re denied boarding with a positive test for COVID-19
  • Pre-booked, unused excursions up to your cover limits
  • Additional accommodation and transport if deemed necessary by our medical officer
  • Daily benefit if you are ordered to self-isolate in your holiday accommodation if you have COVID-19
  • Cancelling or cutting your trip short after death in the family from COVID-19
  • Your travelling companion(s), people you live with, or people you’re staying with on holiday being diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of travel.***

If you bought your cover before 16 March, with our optional Travel Disruption Extension, you can be covered if the FCO change their travel guidance as long as you’ve made no changes to your trip or policy since you bought it.

Always follow government travel advice:

Am I covered if I travel against government advice?

It’s important that you check the FCO’s travel advice regularly before you go on holiday, and while you’re away, as this could change.

If you have a holiday planned in Europe, and the FCO advises against all but essential travel to your destination because of COVID-19, you can add the European FCO Travel Advice Extension to your existing policy to still go on holiday with cover. You won’t be covered for the reason that caused the FCO to change their travel advice and coronavirus while you’re abroad.

If you have an existing policy you can add the European FCO Travel Advice Extension to your travel insurance online through My Staysure.

If the FCO have advised against all but essential travel to your destination and you travel without the European FCO Travel Advice Extension, your policy will be made invalid. Even if advice changes while you’re on holiday, you won’t be covered if your destination was listed as unsafe when you travelled.

To check your destination is safe to travel to take a look at the FCO’s travel advice.

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Can I travel if the area I live in is in lockdown?

If the area you live in is currently in lockdown, you won’t be able to travel.

If you chose to travel while your area is in lockdown, you’d be going against government guidelines and doing so would invalidate your travel insurance policy.

What to do if you can’t go on holiday:

I, or someone I live with has tested positive for COVID-19:

You’ll only be covered by your travel insurance to claim for the cancellation of your trip because of COVID-19 if:

    • Your holiday or accommodation provider can’t offer you compensation or reimbursement for your holiday.

AND

    • You bought your travel insurance after 16 March 2020 for travel on or after 17 July 2020.

AND

    • You, a family member or travel companion, didn’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 when you booked your holiday or bought your travel insurance, whichever is later.

AND

  • Since booking your holiday or buying your cover, whichever is later, you’ve received a positive COVID-19 test result from a registered medical practitioner in the 14 days before your departure. You will need a copy of your test result to support your claim.

Find out more about claiming

You want to change your travel plans

It’s not safe to travel to my destination and I want to change my travel plans:

If your travel company has cancelled your trip because of the coronavirus, then it will often be their responsibility to offer you an alternative holiday.

If you rebook a holiday, we can:

  • Change your single trip policy start date as long as it falls within 18 months from the date you bought your policy. (If there is a significant change to your trip duration, like extending your trip duration, there may be an additional charge.)
  • Change your holiday destination to any other country that is safe to travel to, as long as there is no increase in cost. If there is an increased premium, you’d need to pay the price difference to change your cover.

If you need to make changes to your Single Trip Travel Insurance policy, please do so before you were originally due to travel.

You can make either of these changes to your policy online using My Staysure, to avoid administration charges when calling to make amendments.

If there is an increase in cost to cover your new holiday destination, you can pay for this on My Staysure.

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I want to claim for the cancellation of my trip because it’s unsafe to travel

It’s important that you contact your travel provider first, before submitting your claim to us. Your travel provider may be able to offer you compensation if your holiday was cancelled because of COVID-19.

You’ll only be covered by your travel insurance to claim for the cancellation of your holiday if:

    • You bought your policy before 16 March, with the optional Travel Disruption Extension. (We no longer sell this, but you can check if you added this to your policy through My Staysure.)

AND

    • There’s been no changes which have affected the price of your policy since the 16 March.

AND

    • There wasn’t a publicly known outbreak or quarantine in the resort you’re travelling to.

AND

    • The government, FCO, WHO (World Health Organization) or local authorities haven’t issued any advice before you bought your policy with (or added) the optional Travel Disruption Extension.

AND

  • The FCO has now, since buying your policy, advised against all or all but essential travel to your destination.

Can I cancel my travel insurance policy if I can’t travel?

If you can’t travel and want to cancel your travel insurance policy, you can do so within the cooling off period (14 days from receiving your documents.) We can offer you either a full refund as a voucher for you to use at a later date, or a cash refund minus an admin charge.

If you choose to cancel your Single Trip Travel Insurance policy outside of the 14 day cooling off period, you will need to do so before you were originally due to travel. After the 14 day cooling off period, refunds are usually only given in extenuating circumstances for those with a single trip policy. At the moment, these restrictions have been lifted, and you may get a pro-rata credit refund of the amount you paid for your policy.

This voucher credit will be valid for 36 months, as long as you haven’t travelled and haven’t or aren’t intending to make a claim. The voucher can be used to pay in full or part pay for future policies. More information about cancellations can be found here.

Your single trip policy has been protecting you with cancellation cover from the moment you bought it. So although it might feel like you’ve not used it because you haven’t needed to claim, or haven’t been on holiday, you have been using your travel insurance. This means that the amount you’ll be refunded is unlikely to be the full value of your policy.

This is because you’ll only receive a refund for the unused part of your travel insurance.

I don’t feel safe going on holiday abroad and want to cancel

Your travel insurance can’t cover you for the cancellation of your trip if you don’t want to travel.

If you aren’t comfortable with travelling abroad at the moment, why not explore destinations closer to home? You can buy an annual UK travel insurance policy which can cover you for trips in:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • The Channel Islands including Jersey and Guernsey.

Make sure you always check local government advice for the above destinations before you travel, and while you’re away.

What happens if you get COVID-19 abroad:

What happens if I get COVID-19 symptoms abroad?

If you get symptoms of COVID-19 while you’re away, and your destination was listed by the FCO as safe when you travelled, you must follow UK and local government advice and give us a call as soon as you can. Our medical emergency team, who are multilingual, are available 24 hours a day, worldwide.

What to do if you’re denied boarding or your flights are cancelled:

What will happen if I am refused boarding my flight home because of the coronavirus – am I covered by my travel insurance?

If your airline doesn’t let you board your flight home, you’ll need to contact your airline or tour operator to get a refund or be offered an alternative flight.

If you are refused boarding your outbound or return flight after testing positive for COVID-19, make sure you contact your airline or tour operator to see if you can be refunded, or offered an alternative flight.

If you’re refused boarding after testing positive for COVID-19, you can be covered if you bought your policy on or after 16 March 2020, for travel on or after 17 July 2020, as long as your destination was listed as safe to travel to by the FCO when you set off.

My airline has cancelled my flights – what can I do?

Whether you’ve booked your flights through a travel agent or tour operator, or independently, it’s important you contact them first to see if they can offer you a refund or make changes to your trip.

If you’ve been offered alternative flights, give us a call and we would look to update your policy with your new travel dates to suit your new holiday plans.

First published on 28/01/20

* Subject to medical certification / test result. No cover if symptoms or diagnosis occurred prior to your policy purchase.
**Cover only applies for newly diagnosed cases while travelling.
***No cover if your relative was already hospitalised before you left on your trip.

Lucy Hancock

by Lucy Hancock

Lucy Hancock is Staysure's Content Executive. As a specialist travel insurance provider, we aim to keep up-to-date with travel trends, all while offering tips on how to make the most of your holiday. Lucy travelled across Europe with Interrail in 2017, and her favourite destination was Budapest. She likes big books, big words and the colour yellow.