Travel Insurance and COVID-19: What you should know
From the 6th July, the blanket restrictions which had previously been placed on non-essential travel will be relaxed for certain countries meaning that holidaymakers will not be required to quarantine for 14 days on their return.
While the full list of permissible countries will be published this week, they are thought to include France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Finland, Belgium, Turkey, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. Going forward, all countries will be classified under a traffic light system of red, amber and green based on the prevalence of the coronavirus.
The Government has made it clear that these changes are subject to be retracted should the situation change and cases being to rise.
As a result of these changes, travel companies have already seen a steep rise in holiday bookings in 2020 with Andrew Flintham, managing director at TUI UK and Ireland, noting that they have seen bookings increase by 50% in the last week, compared to the previous week. These relaxed restrictions have been a welcome development for the travel industry.
In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading in transit, travellers will be required to wear face coverings while travelling and provide the details of any addresses they will be staying at on their return.
Does Travel Insurance cover COVID-19?
If you choose to travel to a country which is not deemed as safe by the Government, it’s very unlikely that your Travel Insurance will be valid or cover you against any COVID-19 related medical claims.
As the Government gives the go-ahead for tourist travel to individual countries, it will depend on your particular policy and policy wording whether you’re covered or not. While many Travel Insurers will include cover for illness and injury while abroad, some policies may completely exclude any claims that are related to the virus or will offer limited cover for certain types of claims, such as emergency medical expenses and repatriation.
At present, it’s unlikely that you will find cover for coronavirus-related delays or flight cancellations should the country you’re travelling to experience a sudden surge in cases – although if you have an existing policy in place, you may still potentially be able to make a claim for such a cancellation – this will depend on your individual terms and conditions.
The reason behind these exclusions is due to the increased level of risk that is currently associated with travelling abroad. The Association of British Insurers (AIB) points out that the purpose of Travel Insurance is to cover losses incurred by unforeseen circumstances and coronavirus no longer meets these criteria.
Advice for travelling abroad
While it may be difficult to obtain the full scope of cover you may want at this time, it’s important that you don’t disregard the importance of having Travel Insurance in place for your trip.