As we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, many in the UK are desperate to get away for a much-needed holiday, but securing your trip away may not be as straightforward as you think.
Aside from the confusion still in place over which countries you are allowed to visit and whether quarantine rules will still be applicable there is also confusion around whether you can get adequate travel insurance.
So far, from July 4th, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has said that British people can now travel to 66 countries however this list could change at any time and if you arrive back in England after July 10th you won’t have to self-quarantine on return.
Before you do anything, check the FCO website for details on which countries are currently safe to visit.
But whichever country you visit it is unthinkable that you would travel with inadequate or no travel insurance, and one problem relates to COVID-19; if you have it before departure you run a risk of not being allowed into your destination country. Insurance may not cover you in this instance. Read on to find out how much cover your travel insurance provides and what to look out for.
Am I Covered?
Although many insurers stopped providing travel insurance at the start of the pandemic many have now resumed but with COVID-19 exclusions. In short, most policies now on offer either refuse to provide any coronavirus related cover or will cover emergency medical expenses but not COVID-19-related cancellation or disruption. In nearly all cases, if you catch the virus or are self-quarantining before departure you are not covered for cancelling your holiday. Neither are you covered for being turned away due to lockdown restrictions at any time in your destination country.
Be aware that if, after booking your holiday the FCO advice on travelling changes some policies may cover you for non-coronavirus related cancellation so you need to establish this before you travel. Travelling to countries such as USA or most of Africa, which the FCO has advised against, would mean your travel insurance is invalidated.
FCO advice on safe travelling should trigger your insurance cancellation cover on which you can claim but only if you bought your policy before March 17th.
Getting Money Back
Insurers only pay out for costs which can’t be refunded elsewhere so your first call should be to your travel or holiday accommodation providers. If you think you won’t be able to travel due to the pandemic cancel all refundable parts of your trip. For non-refundable parts wait for the airline or hotel to cancel because then you’ll be entitled to a refund or re-booking. If your travel operator refuses to offer a refund try claiming through your bank under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 or through the credit card chargeback scheme.
There are hundreds of travel insurance companies offering policies but many have different rules on what they will cover so double check your cover with your insurer right up to the point of departure and always read the small print on your policy for details of exclusions.