Since this news item was published Millstream Underwriting has issued a bulletin of general advice and answers to common questions. You can view this bulletin here.
Travelling right now is in a state of flux, as such the advice and guidance to our members is always subject to change. A few weeks ago we updated you on the most important facts relating to travel insurance, we now have updated information which is important to any DBT members looking to travel in the near future.
When those with travel booked could not get any response from their airline/travel provider it is understandable that some consumers have looked to their Travel Insurers to automatically step in and cover this situation. However, this is often not the solution to their problem. The cancellation and curtailment element of a policy is designed to cover you when holidays are available but you are unable to go. They are not designed to cover companies who cannot or do not provide a service but still want to keep hold of your money. Therefore, the travel insurer will only consider a claim once other avenues are exhausted.
At the time of writing this article the Foreign Commonwealth Office has updated its advice against all but essential travel, exempting some destinations that no longer pose an unacceptable high risk for British Travellers.
As holidays recommence many are now asking what does this mean in terms of future travel and what does my insurance cover if I go on holiday, or indeed if I choose not to go.
If current travel restrictions are lifted to your intended destination and there is no other FCO advice against travelling to your destination
- You are covered to travel under the insurance policy for all elements of cover provided the holiday was booked prior to the 17th March 2020.
- If the holiday is available but you choose not to travel this would be classed as disinclination to travel and no claim is payable by either the insurer or the Travel Company.
- If you think the holiday is likely to go ahead, but you will not go anyway, then your only option is to discuss this with your travel company. They may offer you a credit note against another holiday or rearrange the original plans.
- If you, or somebody else covered on the policy becomes unwell before the travel date, and are medically certified as unfit to travel then the cost of the holiday may be claimable through the Insurance, subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions shown in the policy wording and provided the holiday was booked prior to the UK lockdown (March 17). You will need a medical certificate to confirm that you are not fit to travel in these circumstances.
- If you do travel and become unwell abroad then the policy will cover you for medical expenses incurred, including matters related to Covid-19, provided that you or they are not travelling against FCO advice or the advice of the Doctor, subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions shown in the policy wording.
- No claim can be made on the insurance for any costs recoverable from another source.
- The requirement to quarantine upon return would not be sufficient reason to trigger a claim and insurers would treat this as disinclination if members chose not to travel for this reason.
If current travel restrictions to your destination remain in force or are reintroduced due to a further outbreak of Covid-19:
- If you have booked a package deal your holiday company will make contact with you nearer the time you are due to travel. They will generally offer you a credit note or re-booking of your original holiday for a later date. Under current EU Regulations if your holiday is a package deal you are not obliged to accept a credit note and you can insist on a refund from them.
- If you have booked flights and accommodation separately then you should be able to get a refund on your flights under EU Regulations if they start or finish in the EU. In terms of accommodation this may be a bit trickier but you are usually due a refund if the service has not or can’t be provided as a result of lockdown.
- Ensure your holiday and travel company are backed by ABTA/ATOL which means that your money remains protected.
- For additional protection we would suggest that use a credit card to pay for your holiday, as in the event that your travel company goes into liquidation you are covered under the Consumer Credit Act for purchases over £100.00.
Booking Future Holidays
We are starting to get some queries around booking holidays for next year and what the situation is with travel insurance:
- Insurance is about covering the unexpected. As Covid-19 is a known event that is likely to give rise to a claim there is no cover for cancellation and curtailment, travel disruption or travel delay for holidays booked after 17th March 2020.
- Medical problems whilst abroad will be covered provided that there are no restrictions in place against travel at that time. Travelling against FCO advice would invalidate your insurance.
- Due to EU Regulations a package deal generally offers greater protection than accommodation and transport booked separately.
- If you are booking flights and accommodation separately talk to your travel provider. Before parting with any money check the refund policy in the event that restrictions are in place at the time you are due to go – obtain confirmation of this in writing
- As above pay on a credit card rather than bank transfer/ debit card.
This remains a really fast moving state of affairs so things can change as the circumstances develops. Members should ensure before travelling, or booking a holiday they make themselves aware of the current advice and situation and be guided by those.