Travel Insurance Coronavirus - Are you covered? | Staysure
Coronavirus update - read more

Does travel insurance cover the coronavirus and will it affect my holiday?

Posted on February 28, 2020 by Lucy Hancock
seniors walking together on the beach

With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, you might be wondering if this will affect your holiday – and if your travel insurance can cover you.

Here we’ve outlined current government advice on the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as explained how we can help protect your holiday.

Where is it not safe to travel to?

Government advice on travel to China:

The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned against all travel to Wuhan, China and all but essential travel to the rest of China.

Government advice on travel to Italy:

The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel to some small towns in northern Italy. If you’re going on holiday to Italy, it’s important that you check FCO travel advice before you go on holiday as this could change.

This means that if you travel to any of these towns in northern Italy, your policy will be made invalid and you won’t be covered by your travel insurance.

Most regions in Italy are still safe to travel to and your travel insurance will still cover you if you decide to go on holiday.

If the FCO lists your destination as unsafe after you’ve bought your travel insurance and you have the optional Travel Disruption Extension, you’ll be covered to cancel your holiday because of the coronavirus.

If you can’t claim to cancel your trip, we may be able to help change your policy to suit your new travel plans.

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

Cancelling my trip or policy

Am I covered to cancel my trip if my destination has confirmed cases of coronavirus?

While many countries have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, you may still be able to travel to your destination and shouldn’t need to cancel because of there being cases of the coronavirus.
Having confirmed cases of the coronavirus doesn’t always mean that a place is unsafe to travel to.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) or the World Health Organisation (WHO) make this decision. They can advise against all, or all but essential travel if a place becomes unsafe to travel to because of a health outbreak.

You’d only be covered to cancel your trip if the FCO hadn’t issued any advice before you bought your policy with the optional Travel Disruption Extension and the FCO have now advised against all or all but essential travel to your destination.

I have a trip booked but I don’t want to go because of the coronavirus, can I claim to cancel my holiday?

If these statements are all true, then you should be able to claim on your travel insurance for cancelling your holiday because of the coronavirus outbreak:

  • The FCO or World Health Organisation (WHO) have advised against all but essential travel to the region I was planning on going to.

AND

  • I bought my travel insurance and holiday before the outbreak was a known event (for example, bought before 25 February 2020 if travelling to the listed small towns in Northern Italy.)

AND

  • I’m covered for travel disruption that is caused by a health outbreak. This isn’t covered as standard and for Staysure policies is covered as an optional extra as part of the Travel Disruption Extension cover.

If you have booked a trip to any other country where there have been confirmed cases of the virus, but where there isn’t currently advice against travel, then you will still be able to go on your holiday. This also means that you won’t be able to claim for the cancellation of your holiday on your travel insurance because of the coronavirus.

If you are travelling soon, it’s a good idea to check the latest FCO advice on travel before you go, just in case advice changes. If you decide to travel against FCO advice, then your travel insurance would be invalid and wouldn’t cover you.

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 in which case we can:

  • Change your policy start date as long as it falls within six months of your original policy start date, 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.

or 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.

If we are unable to transfer your insurance to an alternative trip, please call us.

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.

I have a Staysure Travel Insurance policy and want to know what my options are if I can’t claim to cancel my trip:

Before you contact us, it’s important to find out what your airline, tour operator, accommodation provider or other travel operator advise if you’re worried about travelling.
They will be able to give you specific advice on your holiday and how they plan on helping you if your holiday is affected.

If the FCO advise against all travel or all but essential travel to the place you’re going on holiday, there’s a couple of things we can help you with on your travel insurance policy:
You can change your travel dates to a new date that falls within six months of the original policy start date at no additional cost as long as there is no increase in length of holiday (with a day extra if you need it too).

If you wanted to change your destination to any other country where it’s safe to travel to, then you can do this as long as there isn’t an increase in cost. If there is a change to cost then you would have to pay the difference to change your cover.

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

I already have a Staysure travel insurance policy. Can I add the optional Travel Disruption Extension to my policy?

You can amend your travel insurance policy to add optional Travel Disruption Extension for an additional fee, as long as the FCO haven’t advised against all, or all but essential travel to your destination.

To do this, you can add the optional Travel Disruption Extension to your policy online with your MyStaysure account, or over the phone. If you call to add the TDE, you’ll be charged an additional admin fee. You can add this to a Single Trip Travel Insurance or Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance policy.

How do I know it’s safe to travel?

It’s important you check that your destination is safe to travel to. If your destination is unsafe to travel 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.

I’m going on a cruise

My cruise itinerary has changed because of the coronavirus. Am I covered by my travel insurance?

If your itinerary has changed and you’re no longer stopping at one of the listed ports, you’ll only be covered by your travel insurance if you have Cruise Plus Cover.

Am I covered by my travel insurance if I’m confined to my cabin?

We’ll only cover you for cabin confinement if you have been confined by a medical professional because you’re unwell. You’ll only be covered for this if you have our optional Cruise Plus Cover which covers cabin confinement, up to your policy limits.

Quarantined while on holiday – what travel insurance can cover you for

Will my travel insurance policy be extended if I’m quarantined on holiday?

If you have to be in quarantine while on holiday, we will extend the length of your cover (for both single trip or annual policies) until you’ve returned home safely.

If I’m kept in quarantine while on holiday, who will pay?

If your hotel or cruise ship you’re staying on is quarantined because of the coronavirus, or you’re placed in compulsory quarantine by any authority, you shouldn’t be expected to have to pay for any expenses for food or accommodation. It’s expected that the government or local authority that issued quarantine would cover these costs.

To make sure you’re covered for medical emergencies while abroad, your policy length will be extended until you return home safely. Any claims relating to quarantine would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The British Government may also arrange your evacuation/return home, like those on The Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama.

I have coronavirus and haven’t yet travelled

Is coronavirus a pre-existing medical condition for travel insurance?

The coronavirus is a pre-existing medical condition and it’s important you declare it on your travel insurance. For us to cover any pre-existing medical condition, including coronavirus, you need to be able to say ‘yes’ to ALL of the following:

      • I am not travelling against the advice of my doctor
      • I am not travelling with the intention of receiving medical treatment, tests or consultations abroad
      • I am not travelling having received a terminal prognosis.

If you have been to the doctors about your symptoms of coronavirus or any other flu or viral infection, whether diagnosed or not, or are awaiting further investigations or tests for it, you would need to declare this on your travel insurance.

If you have had the coronavirus, and have been signed off by your doctor, declared fit to travel, and aren’t awaiting any further treatment, investigations or tests, we should be able to cover you for travel insurance.

I have been told to self-isolate/self-quarantine by my doctor, am I covered to cancel my holiday?

If you’ve been told by a doctor to self-isolate, you should contact your airline, tour operator, accommodation provider and other carriers to ask about refunds or changing your travel date.

With your travel insurance you are covered to:

      • Change your policy start date as long as it falls within six months of your original policy start date, 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.

First published on 28/01/20
Updated: 28/02/20

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.