How Does Coronavirus Impact Travel Insurance?

Mum and daughter packing suitcase for holiday
Written by: Alistair Ball Head of Insurance, Asda Money 16 Nov 2020

A big question that many people are asking about travel and the COVID-19 pandemic is around insurance.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has swept across the world, countries began shutting down their borders, airline companies began to restrict flights and hotels began closing their doors to guests. In short, the travel industry came to a halt as the global community faced the coronavirus.

Holidays and travel plans were thrown in the air and the upheaval led to new worries about travel insurance cover, coronavirus problems, and how policies have adapted to the developing situation.

To help you work through this new normal, we’ve created this useful guide to answer your questions about coronavirus and travel insurance.

Cancelled holidays and insurance

The major question that has been asked of insurers is about whether insurance policies will cover the cancelled holidays and flights that were shut down as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

If your flight or holiday is cancelled, the first thing to do is talk to your airline or package tour operator, as they are required to provide you with a refund.

Unfortunately, when it comes to COVID-19 cancellations from booking companies and airlines, you may find that some insurers won’t allow you to claim. For information about cancellations and what they mean with your Asda travel insurance policy, you can see our FAQs with information on your cover and COVID-19 – learn more here.

You can also find out more about getting a refund for cancellations with other travel insurance providers with this Citizens Advice article.

Government advice and travel insurance

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is the branch of the UK government that decides whether a destination is safe to travel to or not.

In the case of coronavirus, the FCDO has, and regularly updates, a list of countries that they regard as safe to travel to. You can find more information about that list and what the specific advice is on their website here.

If you choose to travel to a country which is not deemed safe by the FCDO, you will not be covered for any subsequent claim from most insurance providers.

Cancelling your own holiday

If you bought travel insurance before the FCDO published their list of unsafe destinations and if you had plans to travel to a country which was later deemed unsafe by the FCDO, then you may be able to make an insurance claim if you choose to cancel your holiday.

If the FCDO deems your destinations safe however, and you still cancel, your claim may not be accepted. This is because if the destination is considered safe and you cancel, your decision might be regarded as a ‘disinclination to travel’ rather than merited concern for safety.

To be sure of what you can claim for, it’s always best to contact your insurer first.

Will you be covered for cancellation or medical costs if you catch coronavirus abroad?

The answer to this question is that it depends on your insurer.

Asda travel insurance offers medical and cancellation cover for coronavirus in case you or your family members catch it while on your travels.

For information about our coronavirus cover and what it means for you, you can learn more in our coronavirus FAQs. If you’re looking to buy your own travel insurance policy to cover you for coronavirus, you can buy travel insurance with us here.

With the coronavirus situation constantly developing, it’s a good idea to keep as informed as you can on the new updates on travel and holidays. Be sure to visit our blog for more information and guidance around your money and COVID-19.

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