OK, now France has been added to the 14 day quarantine list. For holidaymakers this is big news, especially as France is probably the most visited country (along with Spain) given the levels of second home ownership, on top of regular summer holidays, city break weekends etc.
This move creates problems for insurers too and although consumers will have little patience for them, the dilemma they face is offering Covid-19 cover upfront at the time of booking, and then finding that the rules have changed regarding quarantine – or things like local lockdowns in parts of France, Spain, Italy, USA etc mean the FCO advice is suddenly, `don’t travel unless absolutely essential.’
That advice is very little use to a family of five who have booked and paid for a £3000 annual holiday.
In a chaotic situation like this, where the rules regarding overseas travel see to change daily, and where MPs, science experts and government ministers are often vehemently disagreeing on the correct course of action, how can the insurance industry set T&Cs that are fair to all parties? How can underwriters design policies that work in the real world and act as a back-up, when the goalposts keep shifting?
Here is some industry feedback.
Antony Martin, Managing Director at Insurefor.com says:
“The latest UK Government announcement regarding the removal of France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba from the travel corridors list will once again knock consumer confidence and we are looking to evolve our travel insurance products in the event that the government imposes further quarantine requirements for UK travellers visiting other destinations.
As it stands, if a customer has already travelled to France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba before it was removed from the FCO travel corridors list, unless advised by their travel provider (they bring the flight forward for example), they can continue on their holiday as normal with Insurefor.com’s COVID-protection travel insurance cover in place.
This includes cover if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and need medical assistance, if the hotel they have already checked into is closed due to local lockdown or COVID issues if other guests tested positive.
For customers who haven’t yet travelled to France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba, visiting a country after the FCO has advised against non-essential travel would make their travel insurance invalid. In the event that customers need to change their holiday dates or their flights are cancelled, the travel company should refund or change the date.
Insurefor.com’s policy does not cover the 14 day quarantine imposed by the UK Government, but we would change the policy to another date free of charge or provide a refund if booked within 14 days.”
Insurefor.com provides a range of travel insurance for every kind of break imaginable, from business travellers to sun worshippers and sports enthusiasts. It offers quality UK, European and Worldwide cover, supported by great value family discounts. It has launched a new COVID-protection product which includes pre-departure cover for cancellation if travellers test positive for COVID-19 (even if this is at the airport) and cannot travel, emergency medical care and repatriation whilst travelling should they contract the virus whilst abroad. https://www.insurefor.com/
Tommy Lloyd, MD at Medical Travel Compared (MTC)
“The announcement about France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba is understandably going to make a lot of people very worried – as it stands, the FCO has advised against all but essential travel to these countries from 04.00 BST on Saturday which means that the vast majority of travel insurance will be invalid. The main piece of advice I would give people travelling to any destination is to firstly make sure they have travel insurance and then secondly check that their travel insurance covers them for coronavirus related incidents. There are some Covid-19 specific travel insurance products on our panel that will cover you should you contract Covid-19 either before or whilst on holiday as well as provide cover should your holiday be cancelled.
I have always said how important it is to buy travel insurance at the time of booking and this horrendous situation is a good example of why this is an absolute necessity. Generally, if you booked travel insurance right now for an imminent holiday to France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba, as the FCO advisory is now a ‘known event’, it is likely you would not be able to claim for a cancellation.
However, your holiday provider and/or airline should provide you with a refund as FCO advice is now in place and claims should be pursued through them in the first instance. If you are already in any of these countries, your travel insurance should still be valid, but as ever, individual policies vary, I would advise making a call to your insurance provider to check.
It is important to have a conversation with your insurer if you have any concerns, particularly because if they advise you of something, they are bound by that, so it is worth taking note of all conversations you have to clarify elements of your policy. Travel insurance is a hugely important part of a holiday and is often overlooked or an afterthought. When people buy a car, they immediately buy insurance – the same should go for a holiday.”
Medical Travel Compared is a specialist travel insurance comparison site that specialises in travel insurance for people with medical conditions. Medical Travel Compared’s panel of travel insurance providers means they provide one of the largest range of policy quotes including COVID-19 cover. Medical Travel Compared is not an insurance provider, but a conduit for people to compare insurance policies which best suit their medical conditions. https://www.medicaltravelcompared.co.uk/