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Travel Ban & Beyond: How we’re protecting our customers

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The government has banned all travel from 5 November to 2 December 2020 for England. If you were ready to jet off for a holiday between these dates, then you’ll need to change your plans and might need to update your cover.

To help put your mind at ease for how you can update your plans and what you’ll be covered for when you can travel here’s how we can help.

The travel ban and what it means for your holiday

A government travel ban is different from Foreign Office travel advice. The Foreign Office gives advice on whether you should travel to a country based on the level of risk in your destination. A travel ban on the other hand, is law. This means that the relevant authorities will have the power to enforce the travel ban through fines.

Travelling when there’s a travel ban in place means that you would be breaking the law – even for holidays closer to home. This also means your cover would be invalid and wouldn’t protect you if you needed it.

England

The government’s ban on travel from England means that holidays that were due to start between 5 November and 2 December 2020 are having to be postponed or cancelled. This includes holidays in England.

Wales

If you live in Wales, then there is currently a ‘firebreak lockdown’, restricting travel until 12.01am 9 November. After this point, the Welsh Government have agreed that although there won’t be travel restrictions inside Wales, travel will not be permitted outside Wales without a reasonable excuse in line with the travel ban for England. This means that if you live in Wales, you could still go on a staycation in Wales.

Scotland

The travel ban for England does not affect international travel for Scotland. But you must be flying from an airport in Scotland for your travel insurance to be valid.

Northern Ireland

The travel ban for England does not affect international travel from Northern Ireland but you must be flying from an airport in Northern Ireland.

What happens if I’m already abroad when a travel ban is introduced?

If you are already abroad when the ban starts, then don’t worry, your cover will still be valid. The government currently advise that you don’t need to return home immediately.

You’ll be covered up to your limits as explained in your policy until you get back in the UK. You’ll still need to check with your travel provider as your return flights might be affected. You’ll also need to follow Foreign Office advice on quarantining on arrival depending on where you’ve been.

If your holiday is affected and you need to change your plans, then find out how you can do this by reading on.

What to do if your holiday can’t go ahead

If you have a valid Avanti Travel Insurance policy and were planning on travelling from England or Wales between 5 November and 2 December 2020 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). This won’t cost you a thing as long as there’s no increase in your trip duration – although we will honour one extra day for no extra fee.
  • Change the destination of your trip to another country in line with government advice. If the area you want to travel to is more expensive, then you can choose to pay the difference.
  • If you need to make changes to, or cancel, your Single Trip Travel Insurance policy, be sure to do this before you were originally due to travel.

Cancelling your policy because of Covid

If your holiday is no longer going ahead, you can cancel your travel insurance policy within the cooling off period (14 days from the date you took out your policy.) If you decide to cancel your policy, we can currently offer you a full credit voucher refund (for you to use at a later date) or a cash refund.

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 credit voucher refund based on the value of your policy.

Your pro-rata credit voucher refund may not be for the full value of your policy as the refund you receive will be for the unused part of your travel insurance. Your refund is calculated from the point you ask to cancel your policy up to the end date of your policy. As soon as you took out your cover, you were covered for cancellation, so it isn’t possible to be refunded for this part of the policy.

Credit vouchers are valid for 36 months, just as long as you haven’t travelled and haven’t, or aren’t intending to, make a claim on your policy. Your credit voucher may be used to pay in full or part pay for your future Avanti Travel Insurance policy.

Buying a new policy

Haven’t got your travel insurance yet? Your new Avanti Travel Insurance policy can cover you for emergency medical expenses and repatriation, if you catch coronavirus (COVID-19) during your trip, for no extra cost. Take a look at our travel insurance that covers Covid, for how your new policy can protect you when the Foreign Office have added your destination to the exempt list.

We know how disappointing it can be to have your holiday planned but for travel advice to go and change. If the Foreign Office advise against all but essential travel to your holiday destination, you can still get a level of cover with us. Take a look at our European FCDO Travel Advice Extension for full cover limits and how you can travel with a valid policy if you choose to travel against Foreign Office advice.

Your Covid Cover

If you have an existing policy with us (bought on or after 16 March 2020, for travel on or after 17 July 2020), here’s a reminder of what you’re covered for. You can find the ins and outs of your policy in your policy booklet. Your level of cover will depend on the date you bought your travel insurance, so be sure to check this.

With our COVID-19 cancellation cover, you’ll be covered for:

  • Cancelling your trip if you have COVID-19 within 14 days of travelling
  • Cancellation and repatriation cover if you’re denied boarding with a positive test for COVID-19
  • Cancelling or cutting your trip short after a death in the family from COVID-19
  • Unused, pre-booked excursions if you’re told you self-isolate after getting COVID-19 abroad.

Travelling to Europe

If your European destination is on the Foreign Office exempt list, meaning it’s safe for you to visit, you will have valid cover for your trip. Just make sure you keep in the know with the latest travel advice before you travel and while you’re on holiday as things change daily.

If the Foreign Office have advised against all but essential travel to your destination but you feel safe to go ahead with your trip, our European FCDO Travel Advice Extension can help offer you a level of cover for your trip. Please bear in mind that Foreign Office advice is different from a government travel ban. This add-on does not allow you to travel if you live in an area with a national government travel ban.

Travelling outside Europe

Looking to go on holiday a little further from home? If you’re travelling outside Europe, your travel insurance can cover you if your destination is on the Foreign Office exempt list. Make sure you keep up-to-date with their travel advice, so you’re not caught out before you set off and while you’re away soaking up the sun.

If the Foreign Office advise against all or all but essential travel to your destination outside of Europe, and you travelled against their advice, your policy would become invalid. This means we wouldn’t be able to help you if you needed to make any claims.

How to add the European FCO Travel Advice Extension to your policy

You can add the European FCO Travel Advice Extension to your policy by giving us a call, or by going online, for as little as £5. If you make changes online you’ll save on admin fees too!

It’s easy and quick to make changes. Simply log into your My Avanti account and add the European FCDO Travel Advice Extension to your policy yourself.

Don’t have an account set up yet? Just click ‘Create an account’ and fill in your details.

Once you’re all logged in, follow these steps:

  • Click ‘My Insurance’ on the side bar
  • Select ‘My Current Policies’
  • Once you’ve found the policy you want to amend, click ‘Amend my policy’
  • Read through the Terms & Conditions of amending your policy and once you’re happy, click ‘I agree’
  • Go through your policy for any amends you would like to make until you get to ‘Additional Cover Options’
  • Select ‘European FCDO Travel Advice Extension’ from the list
  • Continue to checkout and pay for the European FCDO Travel Advice Extension that you’ve added to your policy.

Check Foreign Office advice & local government advice

One of the most important things you can do when thinking about taking a holiday is to keep an eye on the Foreign Office website and their 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 email alerts, which is helpful when advice changes so quickly.

As well as checking before you book your holiday, be sure to check Foreign Office travel advice before you go.

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.

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