Summer holidays beckon as borders open up, but travellers are likely to find themselves with little to no cover if they fall ill or if their trip is cancelled due to coronavirus.
Most travel insurance providers have rewritten their policies to include virus-related exclusions. This means that holidaymakers will be left with little protection and will have to bear the cost of any disruptions.
Leicester’s new lockdown restrictions serve as a reminder that plans can be dashed overnight if the spread of coronavirus picks back up either in your home region or your destination of choice.
Most policies taken out or renewed after the pandemic are likely to exclude cover for cancellation due to coronavirus as it is a “known risk”, according to the Association of British Insurers. Travel insurance is designed and priced to cover you against anything that is unforeseen.
Insurers must provide cover
The Foreign Office is expected to announce it is lifting restrictions on international travel, which means that insurance providers will have to provide cover for those who travel abroad. However, no insurer will cover you for any trip that is not on the Government’s list of approved countries.
Travel insurance policies will be adapted to include provisions that allow travel to the specified countries, British transport minister Grant Shapps told Times Radio.
He said: “What we will find from discussions with the travel industry and insurers is that the insurance market will adjust to put provisions in for those countries.”
Even if you are travelling to one of those countries on the Government's list, most insurers will not cover you if you can’t travel due to either catching Covid-19 or being told to quarantine by the Government's track and trace team, according to Brian Brown of Defaqto, a ratings agency.
Policies that cover coronavirus
There are a few providers that are offering wider Covid-19 cover, including costs of cancellations, medical treatment and repatriation.
Trailfinders, CoverForYou, Cedar Tree and Outbacker are all offering full cover, according to Mr Brown.
Provider Insurefor.com is also due to sell new policies with full cover, including protection before and during the trip, such as if you test positive for Covid-19 within 14 days of your holiday, if you have been hospitalised within 28 days of your holiday, or if you are not allowed to board your flight as a result of a positive coronavirus test or raised temperature.
An increasing number of insurance providers are changing their policies to include cover for medical costs if you catch Covid-19 while on holiday.
Axa, Coverwise, Leisure Guard, The Post Office, Saga and Staysure are offering policies with some coronavirus cover, including medical treatment and repatriation. It is understood that LV and Insurewith also cover medical costs.
Many large insurance providers, including Direct Line and Churchill, will not cover any kind of coronavirus-related cancellation or medical costs unless the policy was bought and the trip booked before March.
There are concerns that the list of coronavirus exclusions made by insurers could lead to a spike in people travelling without cover, with three quarters of Britons saying they will not take out a policy if Covid-19 cancellations are not covered, according to comparison group Medical Travel Compared.