An important update on our Travel Insurance FAQ's article where we answered your most common questions.
No doubt you will be aware that during the last few weeks, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been lifting travel restrictions to certain overseas destinations…..however this is being closely monitored and as was the case last weekend, they can also reverse this at short notice for travel to/in/from countries where they believe there is a high risk of infections being brought back to the UK, and in addition - apply quarantine requirements on travellers' return.
The position remains that claims related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) are now generally likely to be excluded from travel insurance policies (even if travelling to permitted countries) as it is considered a 'known event' that Insurers and travellers are aware of, therefore claims are no longer just possible, but probable.
In view of the above, where do travellers stand if they travel to a 'safe' destination and subsequently the FCO revises its guidance at short notice, to advising against all or all but essential travel (as happened in the case with Spain) whilst travellers are there?
Our advice would always be to check the wording of your travel policy carefully as Insurer stances vary. Some will not restrict cover, as at the time of departure the destination was deemed safe. However, some limit their cover and will only continue to cover you for medical expenses for a period of 48 hours from the time the announcement is made – this is to allow you enough time to leave the country and return home. In the latter case, if you decide to continue your trip and do not return home within 48 hours, you will have no medical expenses cover regardless of whether your trip started before the change in advice. There are some situations where this may be extended if you physically cannot leave the destination in time.
If you commence a trip against FCO advice then your travel cover becomes invalidated – this can be for all sections of cover, not just claims arising from Covid-19.
However, there are certain Insurers who are offering cover for travel to/through countries that the FCO have deemed 'unsafe', whether prior to departure, or where advices change during a trip. Some additionally provide medical cover for Covid-19.
If you are planning a trip abroad and you are concerned that the advices may change whilst you are there, or you are in this situation now, then please do call us for further information and advice.
You may also find some of the information here from ABI useful too when looking for guideance on travel advice
Please note, this information is correct at the time of writing, is subject to change and individual insurers are responding in different ways, the above is intended to be guidance only and of course, this could change depending on FCO advice. Please contact us if you have a specific situation to discuss.