Blog Category Travel Alerts January 29, 2020 By

COVID-19 Coronavirus

Please note: This is a live web page and is frequently updated with the latest information form our Underwriters. Last updated 27/03/2020
Please take the time to read this as emails may take up to three (3) business days to respond to!

The Latest FAQ’s from our Underwriter, Chaucer

For policies purchased prior to 6th November 2019

Please see the latest FAQ’s from our underwriters Chaucer in regards to Cover related to COVD-19.

New policies

Can I buy a new policy now for a trip later in the year, or next year when we may be able to travel again?

Yes you can, but you should note that any policies sold on or after 17th March will exclude cover for claims directly or indirectly related to a pandemic and/or epidemic, notably at this time Coronavirus (COVID-19) including any related and/or similar condition(s) howsoever called or any mutation of these.

This general exclusion applies to all sections of cover, with the exception of Section B1 – Emergency Medical Expenses, as long as, prior to your trip commencing, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had NOT advised against all (but essential) travel to your intended destination.

The policy will also not provide cover for claims relating to the fear or threat of pandemic and/or epidemic, including but not limited to Coronavirus (COVID-19) including any related and/or similar condition(s) howsoever called or any mutation of these.

Existing Policies – changes

My trip has been cancelled. I don’t need to claim but I want to cancel my insurance policy. Can I get a refund?

If you purchased a single trip policy, you have not made a claim and will not be making a claim then Yes. Your policy will be cancelled from inception and a full refund given. You will need to contact the company you bought your policy from, with your policy certificate, the reason for the cancellation and confirmation of no claims and that you are not intending to claim and the policy will be cancelled for you and a refund made.

If you purchased an annual multi trip policy you have not made a claim and will not be making a claim then Yes. Your policy will be cancelled from the date your request is received, there will be a charge for the time your policy has been in force and cover given and a pro rata policy refund made. You will need to contact the company you bought your policy from, with your policy certificate, the reason for the cancellation and confirmation of no claims and that you are not intending to claim and the policy will be cancelled for you and a refund made.

My trip has been moved to a date in the future, can I change the dates on my policy?

No. Your Single trip policy was issued to cover the original trip. If you are no longer going on this trip but you are not claiming on your insurance then you may cancel your policy – see the question above.

In respect of your new trip, you can purchase a new policy to cover this.

We are not able to amend the dates of an annual multi trip policy.

Am I still insured if I travel against the advice of the FCO?

No. Your policy will not provide cover if you decide to travel against the advice of the FCO. This would be for ‘All Travel’ and ‘All but Essential Travel’.

I’m abroad and I don’t want to come back to the UK, can I extend my policy?

If your policy is due to expire and you are choosing to remain overseas, we are unable to extend cover for you. The policy will expire as per the original contract. We are not able to provide you with further cover.

I’m abroad and my original flight home has been changed by the airline and now occurs after my policy end date

If, due to unexpected circumstances beyond your control, for example due to unavoidable change to travel plans as a result of airline reduction and border closures etc.., your trip cannot be completed within the period of cover shown in your policy certificate, cover will be extended for you at no extra cost, but only on the basis that you are making every effort to get home as quickly as possible.

In the event of a claim within this extended period you may be required to evidence this e.g. emails to airlines, travel agents, tour ops, embassy contact etc… screen shots of availability (or lack of it).

You do not need to contact the Emergency Assistance Company (unless you are ill) and your policy will automatically extend.

Please note: The Emergency Assistance Company are not able to assist in getting you home unless this is due to your injury or illness, and this has been agreed by them. It is important to note that medical repatriations are currently being prioritised to ensure the safety of those who are unwell and the Emergency Assistance Company will not be able to support you with returning back to the UK due to FCO advice. Instead you must contact your airline, tour operator, booking agent and/or UK embassy in need with regards to your travel arrangements and getting you home as soon as possible.

I’m abroad and have symptoms of Coronavirus/COVID19

Your policy provides cover under Section B1 – Medical and other expenses outside of the United Kingdom. You must contact the Emergency Assistance Company or someone must do so on your behalf. Full details are provided in your policy wording.

I’m not ill, and I don’t have Coronavirus but I have been quarantined abroad and need to extend my trip

If, due to unexpected circumstances beyond your control, for example your quarantine, your trip cannot be completed within the period of cover shown in your policy certificate cover will be extended for you at no extra cost for up to thirty (30) days. You do not need to contact the Emergency Assistance Company (unless you are ill) and your policy will automatically extend.

I am currently travelling abroad, is my policy still valid?

If when your trip started there was no FCO advice against all but essential travel to the countries to which you are travelling, then your policy is still valid. But, we are unable to extend cover, so your policy will expire at the end date stated on your certificate of insurance.

How do I get home?

You will need to speak with your travel agent or airline about finding an alternative flight or transport home.

This is not something covered under your policy or that your Insurance agent can assist with.

Please note: The Emergency Assistance Company are not able to assist in getting you home unless this is due to your injury or illness, and this has been agreed by them. It is important to note that medical repatriations are currently being prioritised to ensure the safety of those who are unwell and the Emergency Assistance Company will not be able to support you with returning back to the UK due to FCO advice.

I am due to pay the balance on my holiday shortly. My trip destination is currently an area where the FCO are advising against all but essential travel.
Will I be covered if I pay the balance and then I am unable to travel due to FCO advice in the future?

No. You will need to approach your booking agent to discuss your options.

If you purchased a policy prior to 17th March your policy will only provide cover for cancellation costs as detailed in your policy wording up to the date the FCO advice changed and not costs you have committed to beyond that date.

Are you offering ‘renewals’ for annual multi trips?

Yes but you should note that any policies renewing on or after 17th March will exclude cover for claims directly or indirectly related to a pandemic and/or epidemic, notably at this time Coronavirus (COVID-19) including any related and/or similar condition(s) howsoever called or any mutation of these.

This general exclusion applies to all sections of cover, with the exception of Section B1 – Emergency Medical Expenses, as long as, prior to your trip commencing, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had NOT advised against all (but essential) travel to your intended destination.

The policy will also not provide cover for claims relating to the fear or threat of pandemic and/or epidemic, including but not limited to Coronavirus (COVID-19) including any related and/or similar condition(s) howsoever called or any mutation of these.

My forthcoming trip has been cancelled, can I make a claim?

If your tour operator, booking agent or airline has cancelled your trip you should in the first instance speak to them about a refund or alternative. This may include your travel agent, accommodation and transport providers

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if you pay on your credit card for an individual item costing more than £100, the card company’s equally liable if something occurs (goes wrong). You should contact your credit card issuer for more information.

Please follow this link for more information: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/39/section/75

Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice as you may be able to make a claim under their charge back rules/scheme.

Another helpful link is: https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Resolving-travel-problems/

Only if you purchased a travel insurance policy and booked your trip prior to 17th March 2020 may your policy provide cover under Section A – Cancelling your trip for:

  • travel and accommodation expenses which you have paid or have agreed to pay under a contract and which you cannot get back;
  • the cost of excursions, tours and activities which you have paid for and which you cannot get back; and
  • the cost of visas which you have paid for and which you cannot get back.

If after the time you booked your trip or purchased your policy, whichever is later, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all (but essential) travel to your intended destination.

Full details including the terms, conditions and exclusions can be found in your policy wording document.

There is no cover for you simply not wanting to travel.

Only claims where you have approached the appropriate provider for either refund/reimbursement or change to trip dates, prior to submitting a claim will be considered.

The simplest and fastest way to make a claim is: www.submitaclaim.co.uk/now

Or you can contact the claims company as follows:

e-mail: info@csal.co.uk

Claims Settlement Agencies
308-314 London Road
Hadleigh
Essex SS7 2DD

For policies purchased between 6th November 2019 and 16th March 2020 inclusive

Please see the FCO website for the full and latest information:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Other advice can be found at:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice

https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/499/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-general-advice-for-travellers

What to do

If you are currently on a trip to an affected Country, you should follow the advice of the FCO in the first instance. You should also speak to your tour operator, travel agent or air carrier. If a flight/ferry booking has been cancelled the operator should book you on to an alternative flight/crossing.

If your policy includes optional ‘extended journey disruption’ or ‘travel disruption’ cover then additional benefits may be payable. Please refer to your policy certificate for validation, and your specific policy wording for details of any cover available.

If you are still in your home country but due to travel to, or through an and affected Country you should speak to your tour operator, travel agent or airline in the first instance.

If you have been able to get a refund on your trip cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and you are no longer travelling, you are not making a claim and now wish to cancel your Single Trip policy, if your trip departure was within the next 3 months you should contact your issuing agent to do so. The policy will be cancelled subject to your confirmation of this, and a full refund will be provided.

If you need to make a claim, you can do so by contacting your claims provider. Details can be found in your policy wording or by visiting https://www.nowtravelinsurance.com/claims/.

Bear in mind

You’ll need to check your policy terms and conditions to see exactly what cover your policy provides and how much you can claim for, as different policies vary.

Claims will only be considered where the date you purchased your policy or made arrangements for your trip, whichever is the later, precedes the date the FCO advised against travel to your intended destination. If you bought your policy after the date the advice changed then we won’t be able to offer any cover.

Most travel insurance policies do not cover any claims arising from travel to a country or area against the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or equivalent government or national authority, or the World Health Organisation. Please refer to your policy wording.

Similarly, most policies will exclude claims due to circumstances which were, or would reasonably have been expected to be, known to you at the start date of your policy or at the time of booking your trip (whichever is later). Again please refer to your policy wording.

If you are not due to travel to or through an affected Country but are concerned about the risk of going on your trip, please be aware that our travel insurance policies do not cover disinclination to travel. While we sympathise that you may no longer wish to travel on your trip, unless the FCO advise against travel to your intended destination there is no cover for cancelling or cutting short your trip.

Can I make a Claim if I decide not to travel?

There is no provision of cover under the Cancellation or Curtailment sections of the policy wording for this scenario.  We would respectfully ask those concerned to speak with their tour operators and travel agents to discuss their options.

The only time a claim could be considered under Section K2 – Extended Cancellation or Curtailment is in the event that the FCO does update their status to advise against travel to the country in question.  And then your Policy would have to be in place before this advice updates.  Any policies purchased after this time when it will be considered a known event will not respond.

A claim could also be considered under Section K4 – Catastrophe and travel disruption cover related to pre-booked accommodation
Your policy would have to be in place before the country in question confirmed their first case. Any policies purchased after this time when it will be considered a known event/being in the public domain will not respond.

Policy extensions:

If you are on a trip and wish to extend your policy we are currently unable to do so, the policy will expire at the originally agreed date.

The only exception to this is if you need to extend your policy following a change in travel plans as a result of the current Coronavirus crisis (airline reduction, border closures etc…) in which case your policy may be extended subject to the following criteria.

  • your policy hasn’t expired
  • no claims have been made or are to be submitted
  • no change in medical conditions
  • an appropriate additional premium is paid
  • the extension is of no more than 7 days.

If, due to unexpected circumstances beyond your control, for example; your illness or enforced quarantine,  cover will be extended for you at no extra cost for up to thirty (30) days.
With this is mind whilst there is no cover to change flights or for a new flight or for accommodation costs etc… (unless you are ill at it is approved by the Emergency Medical Assistance Company in advance) if the FCO wasn’t advising against all but essential travel to your destination at the time of departure and the FCO advice changes whilst you’re overseas there may be an element of cover under Section K3 – extended travel delay

For policies purchased prior to 6th November 2019, please see below the latest update from underwriters TIF.

Am I insured if I travel against the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)?

None of the policies underwritten by tifgroup will provide cover if you decide to travel against the advice of the FCO. This would be for ‘All Travel’ and ‘All but Essential Travel’. If the area is classified as ‘All but Essential Travel’ and customers are still planning to go, they must contact us in advance with their reasons for travel and cover must be agreed by the Underwriters.

What classes as essential travel (FCO)?

The FCO does not have a definition of what they class as ‘Essential Travel’. The FCO website states ‘Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to. Circumstances differ from person to person. Only you can make an informed decision based on the risks’.
tifgroup will only cover ‘all but essential travel’ if customers have contacted us with their reasons for travel and cover has been agreed by the Underwriters.

Will my policy cover medical treatment for the Coronavirus? And will repatriation be covered?

If you catch Coronavirus or require medical treatment, then yes cover will be in place for emergency and necessary treatment. Customers should be aware that our policies are travel insurance policies and not private medical insurance meaning that there is no cover for any medical expenses incurred in private medical facilities if we have confirmed that medically capable public facilities are available.
Please contact our Assistance Team if you require medical treatment.
Our policies will provide cover for repatriation (bringing you home) that is medically necessary. Our Assistance Team will liaise with your treating doctor(s) about your treatment plan and if required obtain a ‘fit to fly’ certificate. We also liaise with you and advise on, and put in place, suitable repatriation plans to get you home as soon as it is medically safe to do so in order to achieve your optimal recovery. Our team are unable to make arrangements to repatriate you where it is against local advice, where travel is restricted or where you would pose a risk to other passengers.

Am I covered for cancellation due to the Coronavirus?

Travel insurance policies have different terms and conditions regarding what is and what is not covered in regards to the cancellation of a trip.
This type of event is usually not covered across the travel insurance industry for cancellation. This is because most policies have specific reasons for cancellation and the “fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction” is not one of those reasons.
We would advise travellers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cancel their trip or amend their travel plans to contact their travel agent or tour operator in the first instance.
If you are not able to amend your trip and have a medical justification for having to cancel, we would be happy to discuss your situation on a case-by-case basis.
Some policies will provide cover for cancellation due to changes in FCO advice. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

If I am stuck abroad due to the Coronavirus and cannot come home on my planned return date, will my travel insurance be extended to cover me until I can get home?

Depending on your policy, cover may be extended for the following reasons:
If you are hospitalised, require medical treatment and are unable to fly.
If your transport is disrupted or delayed.
If you cannot return home for any reason beyond your control
We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

If I am quarantined due to the Coronavirus, what cover is in place?

If you are admitted to hospital your policy will usually provide assistance with returning home when you have been discharged.
Please contact our Assistance Team if you are admitted to hospital.
If you are confined to your trip accommodation some policies will contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

What happens if I arrive at my holiday destination and they refuse entry due to the virus?

If you travel to an area which the FCO advise against travel to, there would be no cover under the travel insurance policies as this would be considered as a known event.
If you travel to an area and the FCO advice changes after leaving home, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator for information on the availability of flights or refunds in the first instance.
If you are refused entry at passport/border control, you should contact your airline or transport provider to arrange changing your return ticket to allow you to come home early.

Will I be covered if I want to cut my trip short due to the Coronavirus?

Travel insurance policies have different terms and conditions regarding what is and what is not covered in regards to cutting short a trip.
This type of event is usually not covered across the travel insurance industry for cutting short a trip. This is because most policies have specific reasons for cutting short your trip and the “fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction” is not one of those reasons.
We would advise travellers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cut your trip short they should contact their travel agent or tour operator for information on the availability of flights in the first instance.
If you are travelling independently from a tour operator or travel agent, you should make your own arrangements to leave by either altering return tickets where possible or booking onto an alternative commercial flight or mode of transport. Claims for independent traveller’s additional expenses in returning home earlier than planned, where medically justified, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Some policies will provide cover for cutting short a trip due to changes in FCO advice. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

Am I covered for travel disruption caused by the Coronavirus?

If you are unable to return home on your planned date some policies will contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

If I go out on an excursion for the day and then am not allowed back to my travel accommodation (or cruise ship) due to quarantine, what cover do I have?

You should follow any instructions issued by the local authorities as it is more than likely that you will have to enter some form of quarantine.
Traveller’s should contact their travel agent or tour operator for assistance in the first instance.
Some policies will contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

Can I cancel my current policy and take a new policy which has cover for change in FCO advice?

Yes, however, you should be aware that there will be no cover if the FCO has already issued a directive to the area you are travelling to. Your new policy will only cover you for events and restrictions in areas that occur after the date you paid for your policy and may have different terms, conditions and premiums applied.

If I have a stop-over in an area which the FCO advises against travel to, am I still covered?

We would suggest that if you have not started that part of your journey you contact your airline to change your travel plans to move on to the next part of your itinerary.
If you arrive at your stop-over airport and entry is denied due to the virus you should contact your airline to change your travel plans to move on to the next part of your itinerary.

Can my policy be changed to suit a ‘new/different’ holiday or trip?

If you are offered an alternative destination and or dates from your travel agent, we are pleased to advise that we will shift your insurance policy to fit the new trip without any administration charges, providing the new trip is for the same duration and to the same location or geographical area. Please call the customer service team on the number listed in your policy wording.

What can I do with my policy if I am no longer travelling and have received a refund for my holiday?

In the event that you are unable to move the trip to an alternative destination, and are offered a refund from your travel agent or tour operator, we are happy to offer a full refund of premium on the understanding that no claim is to be made against the policy. This does not apply to Annual policies.

Cancellation

This type of event is unfortunately not covered across the travel insurance industry for claims relating to cancellation. This is because most policies have the following exclusion relating to cancellation “the fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction”.

We would advise travellers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cancel their trip or amend their travel plans to contact their travel agent or tour operator in the first instance.

If you are not able to amend your trip details and have a medical justification for having to cancel your trip, we would be happy to discuss your situation on a case-by case basis.

Insurance “shifting”

If you are offered an alternative destination and or dates from your travel agent, we are pleased to advise that we will shift your insurance policy to fit the new trip without any administration charges, providing the new trip is for the same duration and to the same location or geographical area. Please call the customer service team on the number listed in your policy wording.

Premium Refunds

In the event that you are unable to move the trip to an alternative destination, and are offered a refund from your travel agent or tour operator, we are happy to offer a full refund of premium on the understanding that no claim is to be made against the policy.

Returning early

If you are considering returning to the UK earlier than originally planned as a result of the viral outbreak, please be aware that most policies have the following exclusion relating to cutting short a trip “the fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction”.

If you have booked a package holiday to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cut your trip short you should contact your travel agent or tour operator for information on availability of flights in the first instance.

If you are travelling independently from a tour operator or travel agent, you should make your own arrangements to leave by either altering your return tickets, where possible, or booking onto an alternative commercial flight. Claims for independent traveller’s additional expenses in returning home earlier, where medically justified, will be treated sympathetically.

Some policies will provide cover for cutting your trip short due to changes in FCO advice. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

In the event that you have specific questions not answered by this directive, please feel free to contact us on directivesqueries@tifgroup.co.uk and we will endeavour to offer an answer.

Can I make a Claim if I decide not to travel?

There is no provision of cover under the Cancellation or Curtailment sections of the policy wording for this scenario.  We would respectfully ask those concerned to speak with their tour operators and travel agents to discuss their options.

Section A1 – If you are unable to go on your trip states :

Cover is Only provided if “cancellation is not because of the failure of your travel agent, tour operator or due to the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.”

BE AWARE!
No cover is provided under this section due to;

  • anything mentioned in the conditions and exclusions (page 12).
  • the fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction.
  • your disinclination to travel or any circumstance not listed above.
  • your carrier’s refusal to allow you to travel for whatever reason.
  • the cancellation of your trip by the tour operator.
  • a previously diagnosed condition of any close relatives,your travelling companion,the person you are intending to stay with,or a business associate.
  • your failure to obtain the required ESTA, Visa, vaccinations or inoculations in time.
  • the advice or recommendation of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office applicable at the time of your departure.

Where can I get more information about travel and the Coronavirus?

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2018/9780111168479/contents
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice
https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/499/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-general-advice-for-travellers