Will my travel insurance policy cover me for Covid-19?


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People who have booked a holiday abroad later this year or who are considering taking a holiday abroad, (lock down restrictions permitting), may have questions about what will be covered under their travel insurance policy with regard to Covid-19, for example:

  • If I am ill with Covid-19 at the time I am due to go on holiday will I be covered for cancellation?
  • What if there is a second spike and another lock down?
  • Will my medical expenses be paid if I become ill with Covid-19 while on holiday?
  • What happens if I arrive at my holiday destination and I have to go into quarantine?

If you had a travel insurance policy in place and a holiday booked before lock down travel restrictions were put in place, either as a single trip policy or an annual travel insurance policy, then that pre-existing policy will probably provide cover certainly for medical expenses related to Covid-19, and repatriation in the event that you need to be brought home for medical reasons.  That cover may also apply for cancellation, delay etc, depending on the policy wording, but do beware that many policies did not provide cover for this in any event; and if your holiday, flight or accommodation was cancelled by the supplier then you should be asking them to refund your money in the first place.

But what if you do not already have a policy? At the moment some travel insurers have not resumed selling travel insurance policies and many insurers are considering what they will cover around Covid-19 in their policies going forward. 

Whilst you may expect that most travel insurance policies will cover your basic medical expenses if you contract Covid-19 while on holiday, the policy may not cover for anything else Covid related – such as cancellation or costs incurred in a quarantine situation.

There is currently concern that many policies do not fully cover Covid-19 and its issues. Some insurers have already taken steps to address the issue for example some have confirmed that treatment abroad for Covid-19 and repatriation to the UK will be included as standard as part of their travel insurance policies.

In the next few weeks we can expect to see travel insurers addressing these issues by making it clear what their policies do cover, or potentially offering additional cover for Covid-19 at additional cost.  However some insurers will still offer only limited cover, potentially only for basic medical expenses. 

We are expecting many tour operators and airlines to try to restart operations from mid July 2020 and holiday makers will want to ensure they have insurance cover in place when booking their holidays.

Of course the guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] will be key – currently the guidance is against all but essential travel – and unless this changes any travel insurance will not provide cover if you travel in any event!

Countries such as Cyprus and Greece have publicised that they would offer medical cover for holiday makers who become ill with COVID 19 while on holiday there, but it would be unwise to only rely on the protection afforded by this.

Once the lockdown has eased, and the FCO allows travel to the destination in question then the prudent holiday maker will certainly check to ensure that their travel insurance policy covers them for Covid-19, and to what extent.

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