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 23/06/2020
Please take the time to read this as emails may take up to five (5) business days to respond to!

The Latest FAQ’s from our Underwriter, Chaucer
Annual Renewals
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.

Please note that Chaucer Insurance Company DAC underwrite ALL polices purchased after 6th November 2019

Purchasing a New policy

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?

Due to the unprecedented Worldwide Coronavirus crisis and the changing FCO advice regarding Travel, we have temporarily suspended sales of Single Trip Travel Insurance policies.

We sincerely apologise for this disruption in service and are constantly monitoring the situation with a view to resuming sales as soon as the situation stabilises.

 

Please note: 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 for a 30 day period at no extra cost, but only on the basis that you are making every effort to get home as quickly as possible and are in contact with your airline and he British embassy.

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?

You will need to follow your contractual obligations with your travel agent/tour operator. If you were to refuse to pay the balance of your holiday without the travel agent or tour operator cancelling the holiday it could be considered disinclination to travel and there would be no cover under your travel insurance policy. Which would mean that you wouldn’t be able to claim for your loss of deposit already paid.

If the trip hasn’t been cancelled, the travel agent/tour operator will in all likelihood be expecting you to pay over the balance of the holiday that you had committed to, but they in turn should provide you with protection of both your deposit and balance paid.

In the event that you pay over the balance of the holiday and the trip is then cancelled it will be for the travel agent/tour operator to reimburse you or offer an alternative at that point. Failing that you may have protection through ABTA if they are a member, or through your credit or debit card providers, all of which should respond before travel insurance.

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.

Please note: the below statement refers ONLY to polices Underwritten by Chaucer Insurance Company DAC, purchased on or after 6th November 2019 with a policy reference beginning NOW-CH.

However if you are an existing annual multi trip travel insurance customer with a policy start date prior to 17th March 2020 and you booked a trip before the 17th March 2020, which has a departure date after the expiry of your current policy, if you contact us prior to your current policy expiring, and purchase a further annual policy on the same level of cover, for the same insured persons and without a break in cover, we will continue to offer cover for claims relating to the Cornonavirus pandemic as per your existing policy wording coverage, terms, conditions and exclusions for those trips you booked prior to 17th March 2020.

Please note however, that any new trips booked on or after the 17th March 2020, will not be covered for events caused directly or indirectly by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Full details of the coverage provided by your policy can be found within your policy wording provided to you at point of sale.

When your policy is due for renewal you will receive a Renewal Invitation via email 28 days prior to your current Annual policy expiration date.
If, for any reason, you do not receive or see this email you can proceed with a new
Annual Multi Trip quotation here >>>

 

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 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.

 

Claim queries

I am looking to make a claim for cancellation or want to put a claim in for something related to COVID19, FCO travel advice or border restrictions, can you give me advice?

Please review the FAQ’s for claims here https://faqs.tifgroup.co.uk/ Where you should find the answers to most commonly asked questions in relation to these circumstances.

I am looking to make a claim for Cancellation or Curtailment please can you send me a claims form.

Please be aware that claim forms can be downloaded online and we are currently unable to email or post these to you.

Before downloading a form, please review the information in our ‘important things we want to highlight’.  As general advice, please be aware that if your trip has been cancelled, rearranged or curtailed as a result of COVID19 and/or FCO advice, then it is likely that your transport and/or accommodation provider is going to be able to refund you. We will only be considering claims where you have approached the appropriate provider for either refund/reimbursement or change to trip dates, prior to submitting a claim to us. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.

If after approaching your accommodation and transport providers, you are still looking to make a claim for cancellation or curtailment relating to COVID-19 of change in FCO advice, you can download the relevant claim form from our website here.

Please complete this form fully and send it back to us with all the supporting documentation requested. Missing information could result in delays to the assessment of your claim.

Flight company and Air Passenger Rights

Flight companies are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. If your flight operator cancels or can’t fulfil your flight then there is protection available under something called the ‘Montreal Convention’. Some airlines are going over and above their requirements and so it is important to contact them in the first instance to find out what support they can give you.

Flight cancellations by the airline need to be claimed directly from them, your insurer will not consider a claim unless you have sought a refund from your airline in the first instance.

All around the world, passenger rights for international flights are protected under the Montreal Convention. Essentially, this piece of law states that the airline is responsible for you if your flight is cancelled and/or you are left stranded at an airport waiting for a flight. These measures of care include:

  • Meals and refreshments
  • Communication to the outside world (two occasions)
  • Hotel accommodations when necessary
  • Rerouting to your final destination

In countries like Canada, Israel and the Member States of the European Union, your rights are protected even further.

Like any piece of law, it is complicated and not that easy to read! But below is a link and if you google CAA and Montreal Convention then you will find some useful information online that may help you.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Resolving-travel-problems/How-the-CAA-can-help/Consumer-protection-law/

Existing Policies – changes

My trip has been cancelled. I don’t need to claim but I want my insurance premium refunded.

You will need to contact the company you bought your policy from providing the following details;

  • reason for the refund request,
  • confirmation that you are not intending to claim,
  • or that you have not had a previous claim on your policy.

Following this the team will be able to refund your policy premium in line with the cancellation terms in your policy wording.

Given the current circumstances, it may take us a little longer than usual to respond to queries but they will get back to you. You can find their contact details on your policy documents.

 

Can I upgrade my current policy?

We will look at these requests individually. However, as we have currently suspended sales of new policies, we are only considering requests for amendments to existing contracts for specific reasons that do not relate to COVID19, FCO advice or travel restriction. We would not be looking at this point in time to accept amendments as below;

Adding people to the policy, except where it is a newborn child on a family policy.

Upgrade to increased level of cover or that would include coverage for FCO or COVID19 related incidents.

However, we would be able to change geographical limits (for example, changing from European cover to Worldwide cover) However please be aware that dependent on pre-existing medical conditions it may be that worldwide cover is refused due to the increased risk.

We understand there may be situations where at the time of purchase you did not have a certain type of trip booked and that you now require for this trip- (for example winter sports or hazardous activities). We will consider these requests individually.

 

Can I extend my policy?

I am abroad and I don’t want to come back to the UK

Unfortunately, if your policy is due to expire and you are choosing to remain overseas, then we are unable to extend cover for you

I am abroad and my amended flight home is after my policy end date

If your flight has been amended by your flight company due to the recent events, or due to your medical emergency as confirmed by the emergency assistance team, then you can extend cover. In the event of a medical situation your cover is automatically extended provided you do not remain overseas beyond the date you have been advised to return home or had repatriation arrangements offered to you.

 

I have been provided with a quote before 13/03/2020, will you honor this quote?

If you have already been provided with a quote, we are happy to honor this but the following criteria must be met;

Your trip is not within 30 days of 17th March 2020 subject to further FCO advice.

You are not purchasing a policy for an area currently advised against travel, please check the FCO advice carefully for your chosen destination, which can be found on the link below. Currently the FCO advises British Nationals against all but essential international travel.

Your trip was not booked over 10 days ago.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

Can I change the travel date on my current travel insurance policy?

For Single Trip policies that have not started yet, we are happy to shift the dates to a trip which is more than 90 days from 17th March 2020 and within your original policy terms and conditions. Please note that this may be subject to a premium adjustment if the new trip is to a different geographical area and/or different duration to your original dates.

We are not able to amend the start dates of a Multi Trip Policy or any policy where the start date is in the past.

 

Existing Policy queries

If your query is in relation to a claims query please review our claims FAQ’s which can be found here;

https://faqs.tifgroup.co.uk/

Will I still be covered if I am on my cruise and the FCO change their advice on travel to a country I am due to travel to and the cruise ship has to go to a different location outside of the geographical area covered by my policy?

Yes, we would continue to cover you as normal, without charge and without the need to contact us, as we understand that this is outside of your control and not an intended change to your policy coverage needs.

 

Am I still insured if I travel against the advice of the 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 you are still planning to go, you will need to consider looking for a specialist product that provides coverage for these territories, this is unlikely to be a leisure travel policy.

 

Is my policy still valid if my connecting flight on the way back to the UK stops in an area/country which is against the FCO advice?

Providing you are transiting only (not leaving airside and not going through passport control)- we would cover you if on your return to the UK you have to pass through one of these areas. You may wish to contact your airline and see if there is an alternative route.

 

I am due to pay the balance on my holiday- which is currently an area advised against travel, will I be covered if I pay and then I am unable to travel due to FCO advice in the future?

We would consider this as a known event and so it is unlikely that the increased costs would be reimbursed on your insurance policy. You will need to approach your booking agent to discuss your options. Your policy will only cover you for costs up to the date the advice changed and not costs you have committed to beyond that date.

 

Why doesn’t my policy cover FCO advice?

tifgroup underwrite a number of different products on behalf of different partners, as well as our own. There were some products that did have coverage included but this was not standard across all products and the pricing was different for the policies that included cover for this situation. This is true for a lot of the Travel Insurance Market. This is simply because, generally speaking, this type of event is covered by either tour operator liability, package travel regulations or airline liability. So, it was not something that was required as protection existed for consumers elsewhere. There is information further on about what alternative protection exists for customers further down this article.

 

Currently abroad

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, then your policy is still valid.

However, the FCO currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. The government have urged people to return to the UK. Therefore we would recommend coming back to the UK. You will need to speak to your booking agent about finding an alternative flight home as soon as possible.

If you choose to ignore this advice, then we will be unable to continue insurance coverage beyond the date that you were physically able to return back to the UK.

 

How do I get home?

You would need to urgently speak with your booking agent in order to get a flight back to the UK.

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

 

Are the costs of returning home early covered under my travel insurance policy?

This type of situation is not usually covered under travel insurance policies. We understand however that many transport providers are offering ticket changes at little or no cost to customers affected by change in FCO advice.

In the first instance, we would recommend that you contact your tour operator/travel agent to see if they are able to re-arrange your return travel for you. If you are travelling independently from a tour operator/travel agent, you should contact your airline/transport provider to see if they are able to alter your return ticket. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.

You will need to evidence that you have approached and been refused a refund for these costs before we will consider a claim.  You should also check that you purchased a policy which covers curtailment due to FCO advice changes.

You can look at the curtailment (cutting short your trip) section of your policy wording to see if a change of FCO advice is covered.

 

Medical Declarations

I bought a policy but did not medically screen when I bought my policy and now want to add my conditions?

If you bought your policy within the last 14 days then we can do this for you. We would expect customers to declare their existing medical conditions at the point they purchased their policy, and so for policies purchased over 14 days ago, this will need to be referred to underwriters who may decide not to extend cover for existing medical conditions.

 

I bought a policy but have a newly diagnosed medical condition/change in health that I want add to my existing policy, can I medically screen?

Yes of course, for existing policies and newly diagnosed conditions only. It is important to understand that if you needed to claim then the claims handlers would request details of your medical records, in order to determine that the change in health/diagnosis corresponds with your medical history. Please also be aware there would be no cover for claims as a result of COVID19 or associated FCO advice.

 

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