A relaxing escape from UK lockdown may be on the horizon for you soon. Before you set foot on those sandy beaches and soak up the sun again, it’s important to check what you’re covered for.
To help put your mind at ease for your next holiday, here’s how we’re covering our customers with their travel insurance after lockdown.
- Where is it now safe to travel to?
- Would I be covered for coronavirus if I buy my policy today?
- I already have my travel insurance, will I be covered for COVID-19?
- Can I still buy a travel insurance policy while it’s unsafe to travel?
- How to check if my holiday will be affected by the coronavirus and how can I protect it?
- My upcoming holiday is unsafe to travel to because of coronavirus, what can I do?
- Can I cancel my travel insurance policy because of coronavirus?
Where is it now safe to travel to?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are still advising against all but essential travel, except for destinations on their ‘exempt’ list.
Before you book your holiday or plan on travelling, you must check with the FCO’s travel advice that it’s safe for you to travel. It’s also important for you to check your destination’s local government advice, as different countries’ advice will vary.
If you decided to travel to a destination against government advice, your travel insurance would not be able to protect you.
Would I be covered for coronavirus if I buy my policy today?
Your Avanti Travel Insurance policy can cover you for emergency medical expenses and repatriation, if you catch the coronavirus (COVID-19) during your insured trip, for no extra cost.
Your travel insurance can protect you if you need medical emergency help with COVID-19 while you’re away and need our help. As long as you’ve declared your pre-existing health conditions on your policy, your travel insurance should cover you for coronavirus medical claims.
New policies also cover you for having to cancel or cut your trip short. To be covered for cancellation because of coronavrius, you, or your travelling companion, will need to have tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of the date you were due to travel.
I already have my travel insurance sorted. Will I be covered for COVID-19?
To put your mind at ease, you’ll be relieved to know that all our travel insurance policies cover medical and repatriation expenses for coronavirus. So, if you unfortunately fall unwell with coronavirus while on holiday, you’ll be covered for the medical treatment needed to get you back home safely.
If you bought your cover on or after 17 July you’ll also be covered for cancellation if you tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of travel.
Can I still buy a travel insurance policy while it’s unsafe to travel?
Buying your travel insurance is still important to protect your trip when it is safe to travel.
If you’re buying a travel insurance policy while there are travel bans in place, your policy will be made valid when the bans are lifted. For your policy to cover you, make sure not to travel while travel restrictions are in place.
Buying your cover now is a small step, but one that can leave you with peace of mind that you’ve already covered your holiday ready for when it’s safe to go.
If you can go away, you’ll have one less thing to worry about, having already sorted your travel insurance. That way, you can focus on more exciting things like your upcoming trip.
If you can’t travel, because it’s still not safe to go, then most holiday companies are helping people whose holidays are newly affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Your travel company may be able to help you by moving your holiday date to a later one where they can. If this does happen to you, then you can move your single trip policy dates to within 18 months of the date you first bought your policy, to cover your new trip. That way, you can relax knowing everything is sorted for when it’s safe for you to travel.
How to check if my holiday will be affected by the coronavirus and how can I protect it?
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 so quickly.
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.
It’s important that you also check the cancellation policy of your travel provider. They’ll be able to give you clear guidance on what their policy is on cancellations due to COVID-19 if your holiday is affected.
My upcoming holiday is unsafe to travel to because of coronavirus, what can I do?
While it’s still unsafe for Brits to travel abroad, it’s important you contact your travel provider, airline or accommodation provider to see if they are offering alternatives or refunds.
If you have a valid Avanti Travel Insurance policy and were planning on travelling to any region that the FCO has now advised against all, or all but essential travel because of the coronavirus, then we can offer to:
- Change the travel dates of your single trip travel insurance to within 18 months of your original policy start date (the date you bought the policy) 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 pay the difference.
If you need to make changes to or cancel your Single Trip Travel Insurance policy, please do so before you were originally due to travel.
Can I cancel my travel insurance policy because of coronavirus?
If your holiday is no longer going ahead, you can cancel your travel insurance policy within the cooling off period (14 days of the date you bought your policy.)
Within the 14 day cooling off period, if you decide to cancel your policy, we can offer you either a full refund as a voucher for you to use at a later date, or a cash refund minus an admin charge.
Wanting to cancel your Single Trip Travel Insurance policy outside the 14 day cooling off period? Just make sure you cancel your policy before you were originally due to travel.
You can receive a pro-rata Voucher Credit refund based on the value of your policy.
Your pro-rata refund might not be for the full value of your policy. This is because you will only receive a refund for the unused part of your travel insurance. Your refund is calculated from the point you ask for cancellation up until to the date your cover would end. As soon as you bought your cover, you were covered for cancellation, so it isn’t possible to receive a refund for this.
Your voucher will be valid for 36 months, as long as you haven’t travelled and haven’t or aren’t intending to make a claim on your travel insurance. You can use your voucher to pay in full or part pay for your future travel insurance policy.
This article was first published on 28 January 2020.