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How Coronavirus may affect your policy | Can I claim? Find out more

Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak support and FAQs

 

We understand this has been an unsettling time for all of our customers. Many will have had to make alternative travel or holiday arrangements or sadly some may have been cancelled.

If you are planning on a trip later this year it’s important to make sure you have appropriate travel cover. You are now able to buy a travel policy, which can be used for trips booked after any travel ban is lifted to the destination you plan to travel to.

If you are travelling during the government enforced travel ban, travelling to or from destinations with limited border access, or you are travelling knowingly with or have recorded symptoms of COVID-19, or you are travelling against the advice of the Government or the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, hereafter referred to as FCDO  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, you will not be able to make a claim.

 

Travel Insurance with COVID-19 cover

Please always check your policy schedule alongside your terms and conditions, as our policy coverages have changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, depending upon when you purchased your policy.

New policies sold from the 10th September 2020 include the following coverages;

  • Cancellation cover if you have a diagnosis of COVID-19 within 14 days of your booked departure date
  • Cover for emergency medical treatment and repatriation if you contract COVID-19 while abroad
  • Included as standard on all policies

Please be aware these changes do not apply to any policy purchased during a government-enforced lockdown. If you purchase a policy to cover you for travel during a Government enforced lockdown (04/01/2021 – 28/02/2021) then this policy will not cover you.

The guidance below is based on Government guidelines and is relevant for policies purchased prior to January 4th, 2021. Please consider the guidance of both UK government and the local governments of your destination prior to travel.

We will monitor any changes to international travel guidance and update this page from time to time. If you have any further questions regarding the below guidance and how this may affect your policy, please contact our customer service team.

The guidance below is based on Government guidelines. We will monitor any changes to international travel guidance and update this page from time to time. If you have any further questions regarding the below guidance and how this may affect your policy, please contact our customer service team.

 

Travelling during a Government enforced lockdown (Start 04/01/2021)

If you purchase a policy to cover you for travel during a Government enforced lockdown then this policy will not cover you.

If you are resident in an affected area, we must remind you that you will not be covered for travel during a national or international lockdown (England: between the dates of the 4th January and the 28th February 2021). The end date may change if there are further extensions to the lockdowns imposed by the UK Government.

Currently, the advice is that only essential travel away from your home is permitted. These are for reasons such as work or education (some other exemptions also apply, details of which can be found on your national Government’s websites, see useful links at the bottom of this page). Travelling for leisure (e.g holidays) are not deemed as essential travel.

 

FAQs for new guidance and travel restrictions due to the ‘new’ government enforced lockdown (Start 04/01/2021)

 

If I buy a policy during a government enforced lockdown, can I travel abroad and still be covered?

No. If you purchase a policy to cover you for travel during a Government enforced lockdown then this policy will not cover you.

Can I purchase a policy during a government enforced lockdown, for a trip after the lockdown has finished?

Yes however be mindful that there may be additional reasons why travel is not permitted. Many countries have travel restrictions in place which will severely hinder your ability to travel and may invalidate your insurance policy. Additionally, restrictions (government enforced lockdowns) may be extended again, which will hinder your ability to travel and may invalidate your insurance policy if you still choose to travel.

I planned to travel during lockdown before restrictions were put in place and have a policy for these dates. What should I do?  

Do Not Travel. We will accept travel date changes to a new date which falls within 12 months of the original policy purchase date if:

    • There is no declarable change in health
    • There is no other chargeable change to the policy e.g. changing the level of cover
    • The insured people remain the same (no name changes or adding additional travellers)
My plans have changed due to lockdown and my trip cannot be re-arranged, what should I do?

If travel is due to commence during the period of lockdown then the insured should be advised to seek a refund from their airline, tour operator, travel agency or carrier.

Where travel is due to commence after the current lockdown period, the insured should keep in contact with their airline, tour operator, travel agency or carrier for updates and to ensure the trip is still going ahead.

No cover will apply for the any additional costs incurred in rebooking these trips.

  • Where new trip dates mean that a trip will be one day longer than previously covered, we will accept this without the additional day increasing the premium
  • We will accept a change in destination to any other country/ destination if there is no increase in premium. Changes to a higher rated area will need to be charged on a pro-rata basis.
  • Single trip policy holders who no longer wish to travel and who do not have a claim to make can be offered a full refund of the premium paid, even if this is outside of the 14-day cooling-off period.
  • Travellers to countries where it has been announced that travel from the UK will be prohibited (after the purchase of the policy) e.g. Bulgaria where a ban is in place until the 28th January 2021, can also change their travel start date to a new date which falls within 12 months of the original policy purchase date.
  • Travellers who wish to change their travel start date where no restrictions are currently affecting their travel can do so, however you may need to pay any additional premium calculated due to the new longer booking to departure period.

The above is all subject to the insured trip already having been booked and paid for and a valid insurance policy being in place prior to the 4th January 2021.

My trip has been cancelled by my travel provider what should I do?

In the first instance, customers should be advised to contact their, airline, tour operator, accommodation provider, or other carriers to enquire about refunds, or about changing travel dates (please see below about rail and coach refunds).

Our polices do not cover claims that arise because of an individual committing an illegal act or travelling against Government advice. Leisure travel during any Government period of lockdown or from a Tier 4 location or when prohibited from doing so could be deemed an illegal act.

Our policies do not cover persons entering an area against the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

I am currently abroad, what should I do and has my cover changed?

Whilst the current Government advice is not for customers to return early from a trip, it is something customers may wish to consider as they could find themselves stuck overseas if flights and borders are closed.

Neither curtailment costs, nor any additional cost incurred by having to extend an overseas stay will be covered by our policies as these new restrictions have arisen because of COVID-19 or a mutated form of the virus.

For policies where the cover and trip were booked before the 14th March 2020, where there have been no changes to the policy since, some cover may apply.

These policies will be few and far between and we must stress that we should not confirm cover to any such insured person, but instead put them in contact with the relevant claims department. A claim would need to be validated by either a Government announcement advising them to return home or a local Government announcement prohibiting them from using their pre-booked or intended holiday accommodation.

 

 

Are you already travelling or have recently returned from a trip?

  • If you are currently embarking on travelling to, or you have already travelled to or through, a destination that has recently been added to the FCDO travel ban list and are still abroad you should:
    • Contact the tour operator, airline, ferry company etc. to ensure that your return travel arrangements are not affected by the new travel advice.
    • Where the tour operator, airline, ferry company etc. have changed your return travel arrangements by bringing the return date forward, then you must use the new return travel offered.
    • Where there is no change to your scheduled return travel, then in line with the Government advice you can continue your holiday and return on your original return date as long as you have not been offered an earlier return.
    • Self-drive holidaymakers will need to organise driving back to the UK as per their original cross channel bookings. Where their return involves travelling back through a destination added to the FCDO travel ban list, this will be permitted as long as this formed part of your original travel arrangements and you adhere to any guidance provided by the government whilst travelling through that destination.

 

  • If you have already travelled and departed the UK to a destination added to the FCDO travel ban list before your trip commenced you should:
    • Be advised that you travelled against the UK Government and FCDO advice and as such you will not be covered by this policy.
    • Contact your tour operator, airline, ferry company etc. about organising your return back to the UK at the first available opportunity.

 

Are you due to travel to a destination added to the FCDO travel ban list before your trip has commenced?

  • Where you have not travelled yet and are due to travel within the next 2 weeks you should:
    • Contact the tour operator, airline, ferry company etc. to organise a change in dates and/or destination.
    • Change the insurance policy dates/destination by contacting our customers services teams or cancel the policy and obtain a pro-rata refund of the premium paid. This applies to Single trip policies only.

 

Quarantine

  • No cover is provided for claims as a result of the UK Government’s decision to reimpose the requirement for all travellers entering the UK from any country where the FCDO has imposed quarantine.

 

Already have a travel insurance policy with us?

Our existing travel insurance policies do not cover travel to an area where the FCDO advises against all or all but essential travel. If you have already planned a trip to one of the areas highlighted by the FCDO, your policy may provide cover for cancelling your trip if purchased on or before the 13th March 2020 or under the optional travel disruption section of the policy if you purchased the option and the FCDO ban was not in place at the time you purchased the option.

 

Am I covered?

If you have a question regarding your policy, the extent of your cover or how to make a claim please read the FAQs section below carefully. We urge our customers to review the FAQs below and refrain from calling our customer service team.

 

I’ve made a claim, what happens next?

Once we receive your claim we will pass it to the necessary team for processing. A claim handler will assess the nature of your claim and ensure that they have the necessary documentation to process a settlement. If the nature of your claim is not covered or is not within the conditions of your policy your claim will be rejected and passed back to our administration team. They will endeavour to contact you to discuss your options. If we don’t receive the necessary documentation to support your claim it will be passed back to our administration team who will get in touch to support you with your claim.

How long does the claims process take?

We will endeavour to get in touch will all claimants within 21 days of receipt of their claim. Due to COVID-19 we have extended our response time from 10 to 21 days.

I’ve made a claim but not heard anything, what should I do?

Unfortunately we are unable to offer a receipt of your claim. We will endeavour to get in touch will all claimants within 21 days of receipt of their claim with a settlement, request for further information or rejection of their claim. Due to COVID-19 we have extended our response time from 10 to 21 days. If you do not hear from us immediately after you have sent your claim do not worry, it can take time to assess the nature of your claim, and endeavour to cover any losses you may have incurred.

I have booked a trip with Shearings (Specialist Leisure Group Limited and certain subsidiaries) what should I do now?

We are aware of the recent announcement concerning Shearings going into administration.

If you are enquiring about any booking made with Shearings or any member of the Specialist Leisure Group please be aware that the travel package regulations will ensure your trip is fully protected. Please visit Shearings.com where guidance and assistance is provided on how to get a refund.

I want to make a claim – what do I do?

If you need to make a claim you can get a claim form by clicking here

You can also find a document explaining the evidence you will need to provide so we can assess your claim.

We are currently experiencing a very high level of claims owing to COVID-19 / the Coronavirus and will only process completed claim forms received by post and e-mail.

I want to cancel or change my policy – what do I do?

If you are calling to change or cancel your travel insurance policy, please contact our call centre on 01403 788 513

I want to reschedule or postpone my trip – what do I do?

If you have been given alternative dates to travel by your airline and/or accommodation provider, please contact 01403 788 513 who will be able to assist you by updating your policy and let you know if there are any additional premiums or fees to pay.

My travel is not until a future date – am I still covered?

Depending on how far in the future your date of travel is, there may not be anything to do just yet.

Booked through a Travel Agent or Tour Operator

If you booked with a Travel Agent or Tour Operator, you should contact them first to see if you can make any changes to your trip, or if they are able to offer you a refund.

You can make a claim under the Package Travel Regulations if any travel intermediary booked two or more parts of your holiday together and they are then unable to deliver the full package.

You should not pay any additional payments to your Tour Operator or Travel Agent without confirmation that any additional payment is fully refundable should the trip be cancelled for any reason by the operator (for example the balance of the holiday cost where you have only paid a deposit so far).

Booked flights only or accommodation only

If you booked your travel independently, you should still approach the travel provider (airline, hotel etc) in the first instance to rebook or for a refund.

Booked using my credit card

If you paid for your trip by credit card, you may be able to make a Section 75 claim

Under English Law, if you put something on a Credit card that is worth £100 or more (up to £30,000), your credit card provider is ‘jointly and severally’ liable if something goes wrong with the purchase. This means if you cannot reclaim from the retailer, you can then claim the refund from the credit card provider.

  • Contact the retailer in the first instance to request a refund – this is usually easier than obtaining a refund from the card provider
  • Call the credit card provider. Tell them you want to make a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and ask for a claim form.

Keep this information for the insurer

If you have tried to reschedule, claim with the provider and claim under your credit card and still have not been able to recover your costs, you must provide evidence of this to your insurer when making your claim.

If you need to make a claim you can get a claim form by clicking here

The FCO is advising against travel to the country I am going to – what should I do?

You might be able to submit a claim for cancellation if the FCO, WHO or other relevant authorities have advised against all or all but essential travel if this is specified as being covered under your cancellation or travel disruption sections of your policy. Please check your policy first before contacting us.

You should contact your Travel Agent, Tour Operator, airline or accommodation or credit card provider for a refund in the first instance.

Booked through a Travel Agent or Tour Operator

If you booked with a Travel Agent or Tour Operator, you should contact them first to see if you can make any changes to your trip, or if they are able to offer you a refund.

You can make a claim under the Package Travel Regulations if any travel intermediary booked two or more parts of your holiday together and they are then unable to deliver the full package.

You should not pay any additional payments to your Tour Operator or Travel Agent without confirmation that any additional payment is fully refundable should the trip be cancelled for any reason by the operator (for example the balance of the holiday cost where you have only paid a deposit so far).

Booked flights only or accommodation only

If you booked your travel independently, you should still approach the travel provider (airline, accommodation provider etc) in the first instance to rebook or for a refund.

If you have alternative dates to travel after contacting your Travel Agent or Tour Operator, airline and/or accommodation provider, please contact our team who will update your policy and charge/refund any monies accordingly.

The country I am going to will not allow me to enter – what should I do?

There is no cover under your policy if you are not allowed entry to a country which has:

  • closed its borders; or
  • placed restrictions on entry to its country to nationals from certain countries; or
  • placed restrictions to nationals who have travelled to countries affected by an outbreak of Coronavirus

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.

My GP has advised me not to travel – am I covered?

If your GP has advised you not to travel because test results show you or a family member has contracted Coronavirus if you do not have cover under the policy you may apply for a refund of premium if you decide to cancel your policy during the 14 days cooling off period.  Outside the cooling off period, any refund will be at the Insurer's discretion and may be subject to deductions and administration charges. This does not apply for close relatives or travelling companions.

If your GP has advised you not to travel because you or a family member has been placed in isolation because of Coronavirus you may apply for a refund of your premium if cancelling your policy during the 14 days cooling off period.  Outside the cooling off period, any refund will be at the Insurer's discretion and may be subject to deductions and administration charges. This does not apply for close relatives or travelling companions. Some policies may provide cover if you are quarantined prior to departure, please refer to your policy for details.

If you or a family member are following UK Government advice to self-isolate because of having suspected symptoms of the Coronavirus you may apply for a refund of your premium if cancelling your policy during the 14 days cooling off period.  Outside the cooling off period, any refund will be at the Insurer's discretion and may be subject to deductions and administration charges. This does not apply for close relatives or travelling companions.

What is the difference between Isolation and self-isolation:

  • Isolation is effectively the same as quarantine. It is used for people who are already ill. It is used to keep anyone infected with an illness away from healthy people to prevent the illness form spreading.
  • Self-isolation means to voluntarily cut yourself off from the rest of the world to ensure you have not been exposed to an illness or to protect others from being exposed to an illness. You need to stay at home, not go to work, school or other public places, and avoid public transport or taxis; and you shouldn't have any visitors.
I don’t want to take my trip – am I covered?

Your policy covers you if a number of things happen to stop you from travelling, which are listed in your policy wording.  There is no cover for not wanting to go on holiday because of the fear or risk of contracting Coronavirus.

You may be able to arrange alternative dates to travel by contacting your Travel Agent or Tour Operator, airline and/or accommodation provider. Once this is agreed please contact our team who will update your policy and charge/refund any monies accordingly.

I have not travelled yet and have Coronavirus – am I covered?

You may submit a claim for cancellation if you, a member of your immediate family as defined in the policy or travel companion were diagnosed with coronavirus.

Any claim will be assessed on its own individual merits, in line with the terms and conditions of the insurance contract that you have entered into by purchasing your travel insurance policy.

Please contact your airline, Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator for a refund in the first instance.

If you booked with a Travel Agent or Tour Operator, you should contact them first to see if you can make any changes to your trip, or if they are able to offer you a refund.

You can make a claim under the Package Travel Regulations if any travel intermediary booked two or more parts of your holiday together and they are then unable to deliver the full package.

If you booked your travel independently, you should still approach the travel provider (airline, accommodation provider etc) in the first instance to rebook or for a refund.

If you have alternative dates to travel after contacting your Travel Agent or Tour Operator, airline and/or accommodation provider, please contact our team who will update your policy and charge/refund any monies accordingly.

The airline has cancelled my flight – what should I do?

If you booked with a Travel Agent or Tour Operator, you should contact them first to see if you can make any changes to your trip, or if they are able to offer you a refund.

You can make a claim under the Package Travel Regulations if any travel intermediary booked two or more parts of your holiday together and they are then unable to deliver the full package.

If you booked your travel independently, you should still approach the travel provider (airline, accommodation provider etc) in the first instance to rebook or for a refund.

If you have alternative dates to travel after contacting your Travel Agent or Tour Operator, airline and/or accommodation provider, please contact our team who will update your policy and charge/refund any monies accordingly.

I am over 70 and want to take my trip – am I covered?

If you are travelling to a country, or by any form of transport the Government or the FCO advises against, you will not be covered. However as soon as the restrictions are lifted our normal policy benefits will resume.

Other useful links

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

World Health Organisation (WHO):  who.int/

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): ecdc.europa.eu/en

National Health Service (NHS): nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

UK Government Advice:  gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

UK Government Advice about Cruise Travel: gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel

A payment for my summer holiday is due this week. Should I pay?

You should contact your Tour Operator or Travel agent to check that any additional payment is fully refundable should the trip be cancelled for any reason by the operator (for example the balance of the holiday cost where you have only paid a deposit so far).

It is very important that you do check and get clarity from the Airline or Tour Operator as if your trip is cancelled you should expect a full refund of the whole cost of the trip once you have paid the full amount. It may sound counter-intuitive to pay out more money to guarantee either a holiday or your money back, but that is the way some operators' policies work.

Deciding not to pay the balance and not getting clarity from your Airline or Tour Operator could mean that you lose the deposit or even if the trip is subsequently cancelled, you may not get the money back.

Disinclination to travel is not covered under the travel insurance policy.

 

The World Health Organisation

Who are they?

The World Health Organization is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is concerned with world public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations

 

What is the Coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Find out more from The World Health Organisation’s website

 

Find out more

 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports

“The WHO COVID-19 Incident Management Team is working closely with partners across all levels to provide support
to countries, strengthen technical and operational networking and collaboration, and support operational
coordination of the global response.”

 

Exert from the World Health Organization situation report, March 17th 2020. These reports are published daily, they offer updates on various world regions, the virus uptake by region and what governmental actions are being taken. These are a great resource for monitoring the spread of the virus. Again, we urge all of our customers to stay informed, use this information to continue to meet the recommendations of the World Health Organization and its partners.

 

View reports page

 

 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation dashboard

 

The World Health Organisation has teamed up with experience.arcgis.com to create a situation dashboard. This provides information on the coverage of the virus in various regions across the globe. It’s important to remember that these are approximations, the information provided is an estimate and the number of cases will vary greatly. However, using tools like this will help give insight into the spread of the virus and it’s impact, again re-enforcing the point we should be extra vigilant during these times.

Follow the link below to view the dashboard.

 

View reports dashboard

 

Useful links

Click on the dropdowns below for more links to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations.

 

Protect Yourself

Learn more about the World Health Organisation's advice on basic protective measures against the Coronavirus

Find out more

The World Health Organisation - Questions and Answers

The World Health Organisation is continuously monitoring and responding to this outbreak. This Q&A will be updated as more is known about COVID-19, how it spreads and how it is affecting people worldwide. For more information, check back regularly on The World Health Organisation's coronavirus pages. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Alternatively, see the Q&A here

 

Find out more

Travel Advice

Stay up to date on the World Health Organisations and the International Civil Aviation Organization recommendations for travel. These include:

Joint ICAO- The World Health Organisation's Statement on COVID-19

Updated The World Health Organisation's recommendations for international traffic in relation to COVID-19 outbreak

Both published in early March 2020. More updates will follow. 

 

Find out more

Myth Busters

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

 

Find out more

 

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