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Does travel insurance cover the coronavirus?

Posted on May 21, 2020 by Lucy Hancock
travellers walking through the airport

With the outbreak of the coronavirus making it unsafe for Brits to travel at the moment, you might be wondering if your travel insurance can cover you, and what for.

While it’s unsafe to travel right now, you can still buy your travel insurance for your future holiday plans. That way, you’ll be able to travel with peace of mind once it’s safe to go on holiday again. Take a look at our ‘can I still buy travel insurance?’ if you haven’t bought your travel insurance yet.

Here, we’ve explained how we can help change your plans if they’re affected by the coronavirus.

Would I be covered for coronavirus if I buy my travel insurance now?

The only cover your new policy will give you for coronavirus (COVID-19), is emergency medical expenses and repatriation if you catch the virus during your insured trip.

This means if you develop COVID-19 while on holiday and need help, you’ll be covered as long as you have declared your pre-existing conditions.

For all other events that might be caused by coronavirus, including cancellations, you wouldn’t be covered to make a claim but we might be able to help you change your plans.

Haven’t bought your travel insurance yet? Take a look at our coronavirus travel insurance to see what we can offer you.

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

All of our travel insurance policies cover emergency medical expenses and repatriation for coronavirus (COVID-19).

This means, if you catch the virus during your insured trip, you’ll be covered for medical treatment.

Where is it not safe to travel to?

At the moment, the UK government has advised against all but essential travel abroad.

This means that if you travel against this advice, your travel insurance policy will be made invalid and you won’t be able to claim if you needed to. This includes holidays in the UK.

To check your destination is safe to travel to, when restrictions begin to be lifted, take a look at the FCO’s travel advice.

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

Your policy will be made invalid if the FCO have advised against all, or all but essential travel to your destination.

Find out if you can buy travel insurance and cover your holiday while there’s an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Can I still buy the Optional Travel Disruption Extension?

Our underwriter, along with the other travel insurance underwriters in the UK, withdrew our Travel Disruption Extension cover as of midnight 13 March 2020. We aren’t able to sell any new policies with travel disruption cover until further notice.

If you already have a policy including Travel Disruption Extension purchased before 11:59pm on the 13 March 2020, your cover will still be valid.

Cancelling my trip or policy

When am I covered to cancel my holiday?

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

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

AND

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

AND

  • When you bought your policy with the optional Travel Disruption Extension, there wasn’t a publicly known outbreak or quarantine in the resort you’re travelling to.

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 of the date you bought your policy.) 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 can receive a pro-rata Voucher Credit refund of the amount you paid for your policy.

This voucher 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 and mid-term amendments. More information about cancellations can be found here.

My travel company have cancelled my trip because of the coronavirus. What can I do?

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, at no extra cost as long as there’s no increase in holiday length other than by one extra day.
  • 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.

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

If you’re not rebooking your trip

Your travel company may be able to offer you a refund or compensation.

If you’ve paid for your trip with a credit card, including flights, section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act of 1974 gives you legal protection if things go wrong. If this is the case, it’s best for you to contact your credit card company directly to make a claim.

My pre-booked excursions/tours have been cancelled because of COVID 19. Can I claim on my travel insurance?

We understand that if a tour or excursion has been cancelled, this can be disappointing. As the tour/excursion provider have made this decision, it is their responsibility to refund you or offer compensation.

If you’ve paid for your tour or excursion with a credit card, and it cost over £100, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act of 1974, you are entitled to legal protection if the tour/excursion provider refuses to refund you or offer compensation. If this is the case, it’s recommended that you contact your credit card company directly to make a claim.

How to protect my holiday if I already have a travel insurance policy

How will I know when it’s safe to travel again?

We don’t know when it will be safe for you to travel again. If restrictions have been lifted and you haven’t heard from your travel provider, it’s important to check with the FCO before you go.

If your destination is unsafe to go to, the FCO or WHO will advise against all, or all but essential travel to your destination. If the FCO or WHO do advise against travel to your destination, and you go ahead with your trip, your travel insurance policy will be invalid.

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.

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’ll update your policy with your new travel dates to suit your new holiday plans.

First published on 28/01/20

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.