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Coronavirus outbreak: How we’re protecting our customers

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When you’re looking forward to your holiday, being unable to travel because of a health outbreak can feel worrying.

To help put your mind at ease for your next trip, here’s how we’re covering our customers with their travel insurance during the outbreak.

While it’s unsafe to go on holiday right now, this shouldn’t stop you buying your cover ready for when it’s safe to travel again. Read here for information on buying travel insurance while it’s unsafe to travel.

This article was first published on 28 January 2020.

Where is it unsafe to travel to because of the coronavirus?

The outbreak of the coronavirus has led to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advising against all but essential travel to all holiday destinations for Brits. You must check the FCO’s travel advice regularly before you travel.

This means that if you decided to travel, your travel insurance would no longer protect you.

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.

What to do if your upcoming holiday is now unsafe to travel to because of the coronavirus

As it’s currently 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.

What can I do if I don’t want to go on my booked holiday anymore?

If you just don’t want to go on holiday anymore, then you will need to contact your travel providers to discuss your options such as changing your holiday dates.

You may want to change your holiday because public events, football matches and local attractions have been cancelled that you were travelling to see.

If this happens, we know it’s disappointing and frustrating.

When it’s still safe to go, you wouldn’t be able to claim for the cancellation of your holiday as you could still go away if you wanted to.

But if you bought your cover within the last 14 days and haven’t travelled or needed to make a claim, then you could cancel your travel insurance policy as this is within the cooling off period. You would receive the full premium minus an administration fee.

If you bought your cover more than 14 days ago, then you won’t be able to cancel your travel insurance policy. But, we can help you to move your single trip travel insurance policy start date to within 18 months of the original start date, if you plan on going on a different date, or to a different place.

What could happen to me if I’m on holiday and I’m quarantined?

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, or local authorities will help.

In most instances, if you are in a local government imposed quarantine, then they will supply you with reasonable accommodation, food and drink as well as help you to get home safely. They may have to impose an additional quarantine once you get back to the UK, but will evacuate you back to your home country and transport you to where you need to be if that’s the case.

This is what happened for the evacuated Brits who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan who were quarantined on the liner for over two weeks. The Foreign Office advised British nationals to stay onboard until it organised an evacuation flight for them.

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