Coronavirus: what’s covered by travel insurance policies, exemptions & more

The demand for summer vacations is booming, but most travel insurance plans offer little to no corona virus protection. We'll tell you what you need to do to make sure you're protected when you travel abroad.

Corona virus: Most insurers will not cover it

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on our lives and has led to widespread flight cancellations since much of the world has been blocked.

Given the horrific spread of the virus, travel insurers have become more cautious and are reluctant to cover COVID-19.

As a result, most travel insurance plans will not cover this, possibly putting travelers at risk.

As the lock slowly clears and the British hurry to book summer vacation, we explain exactly what you need to know to ensure that you and your money are protected in these unprecedented times.

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A couple reviewing an insurance policy. (Image: Shutterstock)

Check your coverage before you buy

As mentioned above, there are some insurers that now offer protection against coronavirus problems. However, it is worth examining exactly what the individual insurers cover.

For example, Staysure covers medical emergency costs and repatriation if you become infected with the virus (if you have reported existing conditions), but does not cover cancellations.

The Post has a similar policy, but you need to travel to an area where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the UK government don't make any travel recommendations.

"It is more important than ever that customers seek cover from different providers and review the wording of the policy before buying a policy to make sure they understand what they are insured for," advised Ikhena.

“It also remains important for people to declare existing illnesses, such as diabetes, to ensure that their coverage takes this into account.

"This is particularly important for customers who may be considered at risk because they need to be particularly careful with both their vacation arrangements and when choosing travel insurance that meets their specific needs."

If you take out travel insurance, you should consider taking out comprehensive travel insurance.

Ikhena recommends looking for a noise protection policy to reimburse delayed costs and protect you in case you need to be quarantined.

Now we're going to go through some scenarios and explain how you can protect both yourself and your money in these unprecedented times.

Woman walking through an airport. (Image: Shutterstock)

"I booked a vacation and bought a policy before the pandemic."

If you opted for travel insurance before the pandemic, that's good news.

"Assuming a customer has travel insurance before COVID-19 is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, their existing policy is likely to cover COVID-19," said Patrick Ikhena, travel manager at CompareTheMarket.

"However, it’s always worth checking the policy document and contacting your provider if you’re not sure."

Coronavirus: Can I take out travel insurance for a vacation this year?

"I booked a vacation, but no travel insurance."

Many people will have seen that many travelers are already struggling to get refunds for canceled flights while blocked, or are worried about getting sick abroad, and are now considering travel insurance to be a priority.

Ikhena says you can take out travel insurance for a trip that you booked before the pandemic started but may not be covered for corona virus related problems.

"As with all policies purchased after March 11, cancellation and treatment costs associated with COVID-19 are likely to be excluded unless the policy states otherwise," Ikhena warned.

"Most insurers do not accept claims related to COVID-19, and claims related to cancellations as a result of COVID-19, such as when a vacation is not scheduled, are unlikely to be valid."

The reason why coverage is unlikely to be provided is because coronavirus is now considered a "known event".

So you need to look for a policy that specifically covers the virus and pay close attention to whether it covers flights, gets sick abroad, or both.

Talk to the insurer before you travel to check exactly what you're protected against.

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Canceled flights on the airport screen. (Image: Shutterstock)

"I plan to book a vacation and take out travel insurance."

Many travel insurers don't cover you for corona virus-related problems, and the few only provide coverage if you get the virus abroad – or in some cases, if you quit due to COVID-19.

Medical claims are likely to be covered, but cancellation claims are unlikely to be considered.

Travel insurers currently offering corona virus coverage:

  • Post Office;
  • Coverwise;
  • Stay;
  • Saga;
  • All right.

All of the above provide protection, but their policies vary.

It is also worth noting that your insurer will not cover you when you travel to a place that is restricted by the FCO or the government.

Because of the pandemic, it is more difficult to get the right travel insurance. It is therefore worth understanding exactly what is covered and what to expect if something goes wrong.

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