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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 an Annual Multi Trip policy, which can be used for trips booked after the travel ban is lifted.

 

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 FCO www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, you will not be able to make a claim.

 

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Looking for a new travel insurance policy or planning to renew your existing Annual Multi Trip policy (AMT)?

We are resuming sales of annual multi-trip travel insurance policies, and you can now also renew an existing annual multi-trip policy. Unfortunately, we’re not currently selling any single trip or extended stay travel insurance policies.

 

Important notes:

Trips booked before or after buying new ST policies

Any new policy bought now will not cover you for any claim directly or indirectly resulting from an epidemic or pandemic as announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) including but not limited to COVID-19.

 

Trips booked before or after renewal of AMT policy

Any renewed policy will not cover you for any claim directly or indirectly resulting from an epidemic or pandemic as announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) including but not limited to COVID-19.

 

Already have a travel insurance policy with us?

Our existing travel insurance policies do not cover travel to an area where the FCO advises against all or all but essential travel. If you have already planned a trip to one of the areas highlighted by the FCO, your policy may provide cover for cancelling your trip.

 

Important notes related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Policies amended* after 15th March 2020. Your travel insurance will not provide cover for any claims relating to or arising from the global outbreak of Covid-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) or any subsequent related new form of the virus. In addition, your travel insurance policy will not cover you for the outbreak of any new, or existing infectious disease where an epidemic or pandemic has been declared.

*by amended we mean any policy amendment which changes the premium or the risk posed to the Underwriters.

 

Trips booked before 15th March 2020

Where your policy was bought before 15th March 2020, and this policy has not been amended after this date, Insurers will consider a cancellation claim subject to the current terms and conditions. This consideration will expire when you renew your policy.

 

Trips booked after 15th March 2020

Insurers will not consider any claims relating to or arising from the global outbreak of Covid-19 (also know as the Coronavirus) or any subsequent related new form of the virus. In addition, your travel insurance policy will not cover you for the outbreak of any new, or existing infectious disease where an epidemic or pandemic has been declared.

These are General Exclusions applicable to all sections of the policy.

All other terms and conditions remain unaltered.

If you have any questions, we recommend that you check our FAQs section online before calling us.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

I’m currently unable to return home, what should I do?

As countries around the globe close their borders, many travellers will be wondering what they can do to get home to their loved ones. The British government is planning a mass repatriation of British nationals however the message currently is still very clear – try to book a flight as soon as possible before travel routes close.

If you have not done so already it’s imperative you contact your airline provider to arrange the first available flight home. The government has enforced that if flights routes are closed or outbound flights are unavailable, the airline must offer an alternative. The government has outlined that this should come at little or no cost.

 

What if there are no commercial flights available?

The government is making arrangements for chartered flights to bring British nationals home however, it has not yet suggested when this may be or which countries will have priority.

When charter flights become available, they will be advertised by the embassy or high commission on their travel advice pages and social media channels. You should sign up for alerts. It’s essential that you register with the British High Commission, British Embassy, or British Consulate in the country in which you are stranded and apply for all repatriation flights offered to you.

 

What is the government’s pledge?

They are making arrangements with many major airlines such as British Airways, Virgin, EasyJet, Jet2 with a £750m pledge to bring Britons back to the UK.

“Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the government had already helped to bring 150,000 people back from Spain, 8,500 from Morocco and 5,000 from Cyprus.”

Find out more about this from the BBC following the link below.

 

BBC – Coronavirus repatriation

 

I’m unable to travel, can I extend my policy?

We support extensions of up to 21 days free of charge where the following applies:

• You are stranded without the means of returning back to the UK (or home country for expat policy holders)
• You have made every attempt to leave the country in which you are stranded after the FCO advised all travellers to return home
• You have made every attempt to leave the country in which you are stranded after a total travel ban was announced within that country (if this was before the FCO statement advising all British nationals to return home)
• You must register with the British High Commission, British Embassy, or British Consulate in the country in which they are stranded, apply for all repatriation flights offered to them. (Proof will be required)
• You must monitor the FCO travel advice website and updates to ensure that they can apply for any repatriation flights or travel to the location of repatriation flights.

 

It is a condition that:
• You must follow FCO advice and return back to the UK immediately where commercial means are still available to you
• Extensions will not be provided where the original trip dates already exceed your policy dates e.g. 50-day trip limit on AMT policies
• You return home by the first available means, any decision by the insured to prolong their stay by not returning home as soon as possible will render any extension or policy void from that time.

 

 

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 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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