It looks like tough times ahead for travel insurers and brokers, as the UK continues with its lockdown policy whilst the two vaccines are rolled out.
Although many celebrities, footballers and Instagram influencers have all enjoyed long haul breaks over Christmas and the New Year to the Maldives, Dubai and the Caribbean, there have been few opportunities for regular citizens to venture much further than their nearest Aldi.
It will be difficult to deliver the vaccines promptly to say 25% of the UK adult population by summer. Add on the strong possibility of more local lockdowns, plus vaccine passports and all the box ticking that will inevitably accompany such a system, and the net result will be that many Brits will simply play wait-and-see this year. Few will risk booking a holiday that simply may not happen. Even fewer will purchase travel insurance on top.
Assuming overseas travel is allowed for the general public later in the summer, say during the school holidays in August, the other issue will be underwriting insurance for the over 65s, or those with pre-existing medical conditions who fancy a trip from September onwards. Travel insurance prices will inevitably rise for those with existing respiratory conditions, heart problems, asthma and so on, given that any Covid infection may well prove more serious for someone who is vulnerable already.
Tommy Lloyd, MD of Medical Travel Compared commented:
“The latest government update about the Tier 4 travel ban and countries closing their borders to UK visitors is understandably going to make a lot of people apprehensive because the vast majority of travel insurance will become invalid.
The first piece of advice I would give to anyone affected by the latest announcement is to 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.
This ever-developing situation is a good example of why it is essential to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking a trip anywhere, even if it is a staycation. Generally, if you are in a Tier 4 area and booked travel insurance right now for an imminent holiday 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. Travel insurance is a hugely important part of a holiday and is often overlooked or an afterthought.”