Covid-19, Overseas Travel and Insurance

Insight

Published

11 August 2021

In spite of restrictions easing in the UK, Covid-19 continues to have a major impact on travel arrangements. Therefore, whether you are looking to buy a new or renewal travel insurance policy or already have an existing policy and are considering taking a trip abroad, we have highlighted below some key points for you to consider in advance of you taking your trip and, in particular, to consider the degree to which your travel insurance policy may provide cover and respond to different Covid-19 related scenarios.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) continues to advise against non-essential travel to many countries and territories.  Equally, there may be local travel restrictions in the UK, which might affect any travel plans.

Prior to travelling, you should check for up to date advice on foreign travel, as well as specific advice for your proposed destinations here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#coronavirus-covid-19-travel.  We also recommend that you regularly review local travel advice for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Most travel insurance policies will not provide you with any cover where you choose to travel to a country or territory where the FCDO has advised against non-essential travel. Most travel insurance policies are also unlikely to provide cover, including cancellation cover, where FCDO advice changes after you have booked your trip, but in advance of you taking your trip. This will also likely apply where there is a change to local lockdowns or other government restrictions after you have booked your trip, but in advance you taking your trip. We will make you aware of such restrictions and exclusions.   

You should be aware that other certain Covid-19 related circumstances may not be covered in full or at all under your travel insurance policy and, where this is the case, you will not be able to make a full claim for any unrecoverable costs or losses you incur as a result of these circumstances.. The following is a list of possible Covid-19 related circumstances, which are unlikely to be covered in full or at all by travel insurance policies:

  • Where the airline or travel provider postpones or cancels your trip, but offers a rebooking or credit rather than a refund, you are unlikely to be able to claim for the original cost of your holiday.
  • Where your ability to take your trip or the trip itself is disrupted by local Covid-19 measures, restrictions or isolation requirements, including UK or overseas lockdowns, you will unlikely be able to make a claim to recover the cost of your holiday or any additional unrecoverable costs incurred - even if the FCDO advises that it is safe to travel to a particular country,
  • Some travel insurance policies will provide you with cancellation cover, if you become unwell and have been signed off by a doctor as being unfit to travel. However, this is likely to exclude illnesses arising from Covid-19. Therefore, if you contract Covid-19 in advance of your trip and are unable to or are not permitted to travel, you will be unlikely to able to make a claim to recover the costs of your holiday
  • If you contract Covid-19 whilst on a trip, your travel insurance policy may include specific exclusions or limitations where you are required to isolate, or where you require medical assistance abroad; and
  • Your travel insurance policy may not provide cover where your trip is cancelled or curtailed due to a change in the status of the destination country (for example the UK government changes the status from Green to Red).

In each case, you must carefully read the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy which has been arranged by Howden. If you are unsure of the insurer’s stance, or of any requirements asked of you under the policy, please do not hesitate to contact Howden and we would be happy to discuss this with you further.