Holidays and Covid - What we can do to help | Staysure Worried about Coronavirus and travel insurance? Find out more

Holidays and Covid: What we can do to help

Posted on February 22, 2021 by Kelly Johnstone
travellers walking through the airport

Find out how we can help if your travel plans are affected by COVID-19 and what your next steps should be.

Haven’t bought your travel insurance yet? We’ve explained the ins and outs of our travel insurance that covers coronavirus for when it’s safe to travel.

Can I buy a new travel insurance policy?

Due to current lockdown restrictions in the UK, we can only offer single trip travel insurance for trips departing on or after 1 March 2021. This date may be subject to change based on the local and national government lockdown restrictions.

You can also buy a new annual multi-trip insurance policy, but we cannot cover you for any travel before 1 March 2021. We are unable to cover any travel against local or national government restrictions, so it may be later than 1 March before you can use your annual multi-trip policy if guidelines are updated.

Is my annual travel insurance policy still valid?

If you currently hold an annual multi-trip policy we are unable to cover for you for any travel made between 5 January – 1 March 2021. 

Your annual multi-trip insurance policy will cover trips starting after 1 March 2021, but this date may be subject to change.

Can I go on holiday?

There are different government rules on travel depending on what nation you live in. You will need to check for any possible restrictions or quarantine rules that may be in place as information can change quickly and will affect whether you can travel with a valid policy or not. The below summarises the rules for travel depending on where you live, rather than where you can travel to.

England

The government has introduced a new national lockdown, restricting all but essential travel from 5 January 2021.

This means you can only travel internationally or within the UK if you have a legally permitted reason to leave your home.

If you need to travel for essential reasons, you should stay local. See the national lockdown guidance for more information.

Wales

Wales was placed at alert level 4 on Saturday 19 December 2020. This means no travel is permitted to or from Wales without ‘reasonable excuse’.

Essential travel is recommended to be kept as local as possible.

Level 4 restrictions will remain in place until at least 19 February 2021.

Scotland

Travel in Scotland must be avoided. You can only leave your home with a ‘reasonable excuse’. Residents are asked to travel no further than needed for essential travel.

See the Scottish government website for further guidance.

Northern Ireland

You are advised to avoid all except necessary travel in Northern Ireland. Current restrictions have been put in place from 26 December 2020 until 5 March 2021.

If you’re returning from another country, you may have to self-isolate for a period of 10 days on your return. See the NI government site for more information.

How you’re covered if you can travel…

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, 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 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 2020, with our optional Travel Disruption Extension, you can be covered if the FCDO change their travel guidance. As long as you’ve not increased your level of cover including changes to your trip or updating your medical cover.

Am I covered if I travel against government advice?

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

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

It’s worth knowing FCDO advice is not the same as a national government travel ban. So, you can add the European FCDO Travel Advice Extension to your policy, but we can’t cover you for travelling outside the government’s lockdown guidelines.

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

If the FCDO have advised against all but essential travel to your destination and you travel without the European FCDO 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 FCDO’s travel advice.

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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

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 FCDO 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 FCDO 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.

What to do if your holiday can’t go ahead

You’ll need to contact your holiday provider if you are unable to travel due to restrictions in your area. You should be offered either a refund or alternative dates by your provider.

If you decide to travel against government advice, then your travel insurance will be invalid during this time and will not protect you.

If you need to update your policy because your trip has been affected, then you can find out how we can help you to change your travel plans below.

Changing your travel plans and your cover

Changing your holiday dates:

If your travel company has cancelled your trip because of COVID-19, 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 in your policy, like extending your trip duration, there may be an additional charge.)
  • Also 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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Claiming for cancelling your trip:

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 with the optional Travel Disruption Extension before 16 March 2020.

AND

  • There’s been no changes which have affected the price of your policy since 16 March 2020.

AND

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

AND

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

Claim on your cover

 

Cancelling your travel insurance policy

If you 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.

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.

* 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.

Kelly Johnstone

by Kelly Johnstone

Kelly Johnstone is Staysure’s Head of Content. She’s known for a love of tea and shares data-driven and breaking travel news.