Following the announcement by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ease Britain out of lockdown, thousands of people in the country are planning a getaway in the coming months. Thankfully, new analysis of all the travel insurance products on the UK market today reveals that almost all (96 per cent) will cover medical expenses for Covid-19 while on holiday. It is a different story if travellers are unlucky enough to catch Covid -19 before they travel, however.
Unfortunately, only 72 per cent of policies will cover cancellation costs should the policyholder test positive for Covid-19 before they travel. Those who are formally told to isolate, for example through NHS Test and Trace, will have to cancel their travel plans even if they are not ill themselves. In this situation, just over a third (34 per cent) will cover cancellation costs should the policyholder be told to isolate and therefore be unable to travel as planned.
Only one per cent of insurers cover lockdown
Although the UK prime minister has said that he wants this to be the last national lockdown, this is not guaranteed and there is still the possibility of further national, regional and local lockdowns to come, which could potentially impact travel plans. Today, only one per cent of policies offer cover for cancellation due to a home location being placed into formal lockdown (local, regional, or national) ahead of travel, this is down from seven per cent at the end of 2020.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is regularly reviewing its advice for overseas travel, which means that a holiday destination could be deemed unsafe for all but essential travel after someone books their holiday, forcing them to cancel their plans. Historically, insurers always covered cancellation costs in this situation but with the current pandemic, almost all (99 per cent) will not cover cancellation costs should the advice being provided by the FCDO change after booking the trip. Defaqto says that providers that currently offer this cover are The True Traveller and Travel Toad, along with those that are generally linked with a bank account or home insurance policy, such as HSBC, Barclays, FirstDirect, Direct Line and Zurich Private Clients to name a few.
No policy covers absolutely every eventuality
Anna-Marie Duthie, Travel Insurance Expert at Defaqto, had this advice for consumers: “Insurers have been quick to develop new products to cover people who want to travel in these uncertain times. Unfortunately, there is no policy that will cover absolutely every eventuality as the situation keeps changing, but it is important to note what factors might impact your holiday plans and where there might be gaps in your cover. The travel industry is keen to get people booking holidays again and many will offer you the option to switch your destination or delay your holiday if you have to cancel due to Covid-19. It is particularly worth booking on a credit card where you can, so you have additional purchase protection."