Due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) spreading throughout numerous countries across the globe in recent months, those with upcoming travel plans are understandably going to have concerns.
However, even if you have purchased a travel insurance policy, you may be left wondering if you are covered and can make a claim if necessary.
Thankfully, the following article will remove any guesswork by providing you with essential information regarding which travel insurance policy features you’ll need. That way, you can ensure that you’re fully covered for any upcoming trips you may have.
Here’s everything that you need to know.
What to do if your trip is cancelled by the airline, hotel, or package holiday company
In the event that your airline cancels your flight, they have a legal responsibility to provide you with a full refund, a free replacement flight to your final destination, or a free replacement flight at a later date (in accordance with EC Regulation No. 261/2004). In any instance that you are given less than 14 days’ notice, you may be entitled to compensation according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
However, with the Coronavirus outbreak now affecting a large number of countries, it’s important to take notice of the latest travel advice that is issued by the Government. Typically speaking, travel insurance with cancellation or disruption cover will activate when the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) advises against all travel or all but essential travel.
If you have booked a package holiday that has been cancelled or a part of your trip has changed significantly prior to departure, you will be entitled to one of the following:
- A refund with no cancellation fee.
- An inferior substitute with a refund for the price difference.
- An equivalent or superior alternative at no additional cost.
If you need to make a claim with your insurer, you’ll need to have Trip Cancellation coverage, which may not be included as standard. So, you’ll need to read through the wording of your policy to be on the safe side. To see a list of recommended insurers that do provide varying degrees of cancellation cover, head to our travel insurance guide here.
What to do if you fall ill before leaving
Sometimes, unforeseen illnesses can disrupt your travel plans. But as long as you had a valid travel insurance policy in place prior to falling ill, you should be able to make a claim with your insurance provider.
However, if you make a claim regarding a pre-existing medical condition that you failed to declare to your travel insurance provider beforehand, you won’t be entitled to any reimbursement or compensation. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to purchase a plan at the point of booking your trip in order to cover any pre-existing medical conditions.
Falling ill while abroad – what to do
If you fall ill while you’re away, you’ll need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible prior to returning home. Inform your insurance provider immediately and you will be presented with advice on what to do next.
If you are on a trip within Europe, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover you for treatment at least until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020. For any trips elsewhere, your travel insurance provider should reimburse you for any medical expenses and any other reasonable additional expenses such as food and accommodation.
Either way, you will only be covered if you fully complied with the latest government travel advice. Here are the features you need to look out for on your policy for optimal coverage:
- Trip Interruption
- Emergency Medical
- Emergency Evacuation
Cancelling your trip for any reason – are you covered?
If you want to be covered regardless of the reason for cancelling your trip, you’ll need to have Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. This reimburses you with up to 75% of your total trip costs if you cancel your trip for any reason other than what is listed in the standard coverage.
However, you will need to have been insured prior to 21 January 2020 in order to have Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption coverage in Coronavirus affected areas. Otherwise, you will only be covered for Emergency Medical and Evacuation as necessary. This is because, after the aforementioned date, Coronavirus was declared as an event and no longer classed as unforeseeable.
By now, it should be clear that taking the time to read through your policy wording is incredibly important. Doing so effectively ensures that you have all the appropriate travel insurance features before your trip.
However, with the Covid-19 outbreak continuing to disrupt travel plans, it’s absolutely crucial to follow the latest Government advice to avoid invalidating your policy. All in all, you’ll be fully prepared for all eventualities if you take into account the information mentioned throughout this article.