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Coronavirus: How to protect your holiday from health risks and outbreaks

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When you’re looking forward to your holiday, hearing about an outbreak of infectious conditions can be worrying.

To help put your mind at ease for your next trip, here’s what we currently know about the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak in China and what it means for travel plans. We’ve also explained what steps you can take to protect your holiday from unforeseen health risks or outbreaks for your next trip.

This article was last updated on 30/01/20 with updated travel advice for China.

Travelling in early 2020 and the Wuhan Coronavirus

The outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus has led to the Foreign Commonweath Office (FCO) advising against all travel to Wuhan, China and all but essential travel to the rest of China.

To help stop the spread of the virus, travel bans have been put in place to quarantine other areas in China that are at high risk.

Airlines have been cancelling some flights to China, with British Airways suspending all direct flights to and from mainland China.

There is a possibility that if more cases are confirmed in different countries, that more travel restrictions will be put in place.

Brad May, Chief Marketing Officer at Avanti Travel Insurance says:

“We’ve been following the news of the Wuhan Coronavirus closely and at this stage, government advice suggests that most Brits going on holiday won’t be impacted by the virus.

“Although that’s fantastic news for most travellers, it does bring to light the fact that unexpected things like health outbreaks do happen and could impact your trip. That’s where travel insurance can help you to feel confident.

“Having comprehensive travel insurance and covering yourself against catastrophes is the best way of protecting your holiday. It means you can sit back and feel reassured, knowing that you’re covered if something unexpected happens.”

Protecting your travel plans from health outbreaks

One of the most important things you can do when thinking about taking a holiday is to check FCO travel advice. It won’t tell you where the best beaches are, but it does contain information about any risks that you should be aware of. You can even sign up to receive email alerts, which is helpful when advice changes.

As well as checking before you book your holiday, it’s also important to check FCO travel advice before you go. Travel insurance will only cover your trip if it’s safe to travel. If the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the area you’re going on holiday to, you’ll not be covered.

What to do if your holiday is affected by the Wuhan Coronavirus and you have an Avanti Travel Insurance policy

If you have a valid Avanti Travel Insurance policy and were planning on travelling to Wuhan, or any other region that may be affected by the Coronavirus, then we can offer to:

  • Change the travel dates of your travel insurance to within six months of your original policy start date at no additional cost as long as there’s no increase in duration – although we will allow one extra day without charging an additional fee.
  • Change the destination of your trip to another country as long as there’s no increase in cost. If the area you want to travel to is more expensive, then you can choose to pay the difference.
  • If you have a single trip travel insurance policy and don’t want to travel, then you will be offered a full refund of the amount you paid, even if this is outside of the usual 14-day cooling off period.

What happens if you’re on holiday and an outbreak happens?

So, you’re on holiday and you’ve been asked to move, or to stay longer due to a quarantine. What do you do? The first thing to check is whether your accommodation provider could offer you a reasonable alternative.

If an alternative is not possible and you have to make your own arrangements, then you should be covered by your travel insurance if you have catastrophe cover (up to the cover limits of your policy).

This won’t be included with all policies as standard – but is included in Avanti’s Classic and Deluxe policies. This type of cover is also sometimes called travel disruption.

It’s worth telling your travel insurance provider that you want to be covered for catastrophes like health outbreaks when you’re buying your cover so that they can offer you a policy that includes this.

If you’re on a cruise and there’s an outbreak, then you’ll also be covered for cruise-only eventualities if you have cruise travel insurance. This covers you for things like cabin confinement and itinerary changes that may have been caused by an outbreak.

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