Travel insurance - does it cover Covid-19?


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Many of us will be hoping that we will be able to go on holiday later in the year when Government travel restrictions are lifted.

Those wanting to travel will understandably want to ensure that their travel insurance policy will cover them for coronavirus related issues, and may consider taking out a specific "Covid-19" policy.

Some tour operators and travel insurers are offering what they call specific "Covid-19" cover.  However, it is important to check carefully what is covered.  Even with the most comprehensive policies do not expect to be covered for everything related to coronavirus.

Those people with annual insurance policies which automatically renew should check whether amendments have been made to the policy, what they are and when they were made.  The amended policy will certainly affect any holidays booked after the date of the amendment.

When taking out a single trip policy then do check whether you can change the dates of the insurance cover if you can’t travel or your trip is cancelled and you need to change your holiday dates.

Some providers offer an enhanced level of cover, which offers more protection than standard policies. However, for your policy to be valid, you must not be travelling against Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office [the FCDO]  advice. This means you will not be covered if you travel during a lockdown or to countries that do not feature on the FCDO exempt list.

If you choose to travel overseas to a destination whilst the FCDO has advised against non-essential travel, or domestically against the instructions of the UK Government then your travel insurance policy will be invalid and you should expect to have any claim rejected.

Whilst most of the "Covid-19" policies will offer cover for emergency medical and repatriation costs if you catch Coronavirus while you are on holiday, other types of claims related to Covid-19, such as cancellation, vary by provider so you should check your policy before purchasing.

There are some policies presently available which provide cancellation and repatriation cover if you are denied boarding with a positive test for Covid-19 and even a daily benefit if you are ordered to self-isolate in your holiday accommodation if you have Covid-19, but these are in the minority.

Only a few travel insurance policies cover cancellation or costs if you or a close relative or travelling companion have to quarantine or self isolate in the UK or abroad and many will not cover cancellation if the FCDO advises against all but essential travel.

The advice is to check your travel insurance policy carefully to see what is covered in relation to Coronavirus to ensure you are sufficiently covered.

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