We are inundated with concerns and queries from customers due to travel abroad and those planning trips later this year regarding the coverage for an epidemic or pandemic under a travel insurance policy.
Whilst the advice we give can differ from policy to policy, there are some general guidelines that may help clarify what is and what is not covered under a travel insurance policy.
In the first instance your travel insurance policy becomes invalid if you choose to travel against the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
There maybe be circumstances that would be acceptable if the FCO advice is “all but essential travel” rather than against “all travel”, however these must be referred to underwriters for approval prior to departure.
Policies will provide cover if you catch the Coronavirus and require medical treatment, however they will not authorise private medical treatment where public facilities are available. The advice is to contact the medical assistance company in the first instance.
Whilst policies will provide cover for repatriation that is medically necessary, this is dependent on the situation at your location and advice from the local medical authorities, if quarantined it is unlikely that you will be allowed to travel.
Cancellation or curtailment of a holiday is not usually covered across the travel industry, most will have a specific reason for cancellation and the “fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction” is not one of those reasons.
If there is a medical justification these maybe considered on a case-by-case basis and we recommend you contacting your insurer as soon as possible.
If you are stuck abroad and cannot return home, then most policies will provide cover for your hospitalisation and medical treatment. If confined to your holiday accommodation, then you will need to contact the travel provider for further advice and information on the extended stay repatriation.
Taking out travel insurance after the outbreak has occurred could invalidate the cover purchased, we recommend you take advice before the purchase of any policy post outbreak to check its validity.
If your travel provider offers an alternative trip due to FCO advice against travel to an area, then your travel insurance can be amended to accommodate the new trip. If you are offered a full refund as a result of the trip being cancelled and there is no alternative, insurers will agree to cancellation of cover and a refund in the premium paid.
Please note that these guidelines can differ from provider to provider and in the first instance please contact us or your insurance provider directly for a specific query, more advice can be found at.
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