Beware these post-Covid travel insurance traps

Post-Covid-19 travel-insurance policies are riddled with exemptions, says Ruth Jackson-Kirby.

Lockdown is being eased and rumours of quarantine-free air bridges to allow trips abroad are circulating. But before you book your escape you need to check your travel insurance. 

“Insurance companies are introducing so many exemptions that industry experts have expressed concern that thousands will go abroad without adequate cover,” says David Byers in The Times.

If you took out a travel insurance policy for a trip booked before 11 March, you should still be covered for cancellations relating to Covid-19. It was declared a pandemic on that date, so almost all policies taken out after 11 March, or trips booked using annual policies after that date, won’t be covered for any disruption associated with the virus.

Times readers who have received renewal documents for their annual travel insurance “have been alarmed by the exemptions”. In one example, new policy wording from Insure and Go states it won’t cover “any claims caused by or relating to coronavirus disease”. 

What’s more, “your policy will no longer cover you if the scheduled airline you booked becomes insolvent”. It goes on to say it won’t cover you if any company associated with your holiday goes bust.To make matters worse you could end up paying a lot more for these travel insurance policies that don’t cover what you need. “Holidaymakers will be forced to consider travelling without insurance this year because premiums are expected to soar when tourism resumes,” says Jessica Beard in The Telegraph.

So, if you are planning a trip what do you do? If you have an annual travel insurance policy speak to your insurer to check what is and isn’t covered. It is highly unlikely you’ll get cover for coronavirus disruption if you book a trip now.  

Smaller players return to the market

Nonetheless, there are some small insurers who are starting to offer policies with Covid-19 cover. They include Trailfinders, Staysure, Cover For You, Cedar Tree and Outbacker

When you are looking for a policy it is more important than ever that you don’t just opt for the cheapest premium. Make sure you are paying for a policy that will actually pay out if you need it. 

One exclusion to be aware of with policies regarding corona cover relates to if, and when, you fall ill with the virus. Some policies cover you for emergency treatment and repatriation if you get Covid-19 while on holiday, but not if you contract it in Britain before you travel.

The number of insurers offering cover is expected to rise as lockdown eases. “Insurers are aware that travel insurance is important to raise consumer confidence in travelling,” a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers told The Times. “More companies will be looking to come back onto the market, and many are still reviewing the extent of their cover.”

The travel industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown and some may not survive. If you are booking anything to do with your trip, pay with your credit card: if a company collapses, you have Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act as a last resort. This law states that if you have tried, and failed, to get a refund for a service that wasn’t delivered from the company involved, you can get your money back from your credit card provider instead.

Recommended

Blow the lockdown cobwebs away with a self-drive supercar holiday
Travel and holidays

Blow the lockdown cobwebs away with a self-drive supercar holiday

Bored with lockdown? Don't want to fly? Why not go on a Grand Tour of Europe at the wheel of a supercar instead?
26 Feb 2021
The return of the Great British holiday
Travel and holidays

The return of the Great British holiday

Planning on holidaying at home? Just be aware that millions will have had the same idea, says Chris Carter
19 Feb 2021
Should you head abroad or stay in the UK for your summer holiday?
Travel and holidays

Should you head abroad or stay in the UK for your summer holiday?

If you go abroad there will be trouble, says Chris Carter. But you should be safer with a holiday nearer home.
12 Feb 2021
Five of the best “wellness” retreats
Travel and holidays

Five of the best “wellness” retreats

Go kayaking in Cornwall, run on the beach in Devon and practise yoga in Suffolk. Alice Feilden reports.
5 Feb 2021

Most Popular

The days when you could get 7% from your bank are long gone – so what do you do?
Bitcoin

The days when you could get 7% from your bank are long gone – so what do you do?

With interest rates at rock bottom for so long, we’ve been forced to move from saving to speculating to earn any sort of return. Dominic Frisby asks w…
24 Feb 2021
Why you should still put money into a cash Isa
Cash ISAs

Why you should still put money into a cash Isa

Interest rates may be lousy, but tax-free saving into a cash Isa is still a good idea.
23 Feb 2021
Are we heading for another bond market tantrum?
Government bonds

Are we heading for another bond market tantrum?

The last time the US central bank tried tightening the purse strings, the bond markets threw a tantrum. With yields now rising, could we be about to s…
25 Feb 2021