Now that Covid-19 entry requirements and travel restrictions have been lifted in many global destinations, you may be desperate to pack up your suitcase and depart on holiday.
But, while there’s plenty more opportunity to travel now that pandemic limitations have eased, there’s still a risk that your holiday plans could be disrupted by the coronavirus.
New quarantine rules, border closures and movement restrictions may be introduced swiftly in the event of a new Covid-19 variant spreading or a surge in virus cases.
Also, there’s a chance that you could contract Covid-19 while you’re away and be required to self-isolate which could mean unexpectedly having to extend your stay, or you may need expensive hospital treatment.
That’s why it’s important you take out travel insurance that includes Covid-19 cover to ensure you’re protected and won’t be left out of pocket.
Luckily, most providers have moved with the times and now offer a good range of cover.
Here’s all you need to know…
The government removed all travel restrictions for people entering the UK in March 2022.
That means arriving passengers no longer have to take tests or complete a passenger locator form.
However, other countries around the world still require passengers to comply with certain rules and requirements. So before you travel, always check what the rules are for the country (or countries) you’re visiting.
First, make sure that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) says it’s safe to travel to your destination.
Then check the current entry requirements on the foreign travel advice pages for the country or countries you’re travelling to or through.
Here, you can find out whether you need to:
You can also check these pages for all the latest information on coronavirus in the countries you’re travelling to, plus any travel warnings and what you should do if you contract Covid-19 while you’re there.
Travel warnings can change at short notice, so it’s also a good idea to sign up to receive email notifications every time the page for the country you’re visiting is updated.
You can also check the TravelHealthPro website for the latest information on Covid-19 where you’re heading.
And the government’s Department for Transport guidance pages have good advice on travelling abroad and coronavirus.
All travel insurance policies offer limited Covid-19 cover to protect you should the virus interfere with your travel plans in some way.
Your policy will be valid as long as you don’t travel against FCDO advice and it can cover you for a range of instances where you may need to cancel or cut short your holiday because of Covid-19.
Travel insurance policies should include the following Covid-19 cover as standard:
It then depends on each particular policy as to what else is included. But most will cover certain circumstances where Covid-19 results in you having to cancel or cut short your holiday.
Depending on the level and scope of your policy’s Covid-19 cover, you could be covered if you have to cancel your trip because:
You may be able to make a claim if:
It’s important to get the full picture when you’re looking for travel insurance, so you’ll want to check:
If you have a pre-existing condition, you should always tell your provider about it. That way, you can ensure you’re covered if you have to claim for any medical treatment relating to your existing condition while you’re away.
Travel insurance for pre-existing conditions should include Covid-19 cover, so you’re protected if you’re diagnosed with Covid-19 and have to cancel or cut short your holiday.
You can’t declare Covid-19 as a pre-existing medical condition when you buy the policy, though.
Even if you’re holidaying in the UK, it’s a good idea to take out a travel insurance policy that includes a good level of Covid-19 cover. Staycations can be expensive, so it can pay to be well covered for any Covid-19 related issues that result in you having to cancel or curtail your break.
As long as you don’t travel against FCDO advice, then all travel insurance policies will cover you for limited circumstances where Covid-19 interferes with your holiday.
Most cover emergency Covid-related medical treatment at your destination and repatriation costs should you require help returning home to the UK due to Covid-19, plus costs if you’re forced to cancel because you catch Covid-19 just before your trip.
Check policy wording carefully to ensure you’re happy with the level of cover that’s included.
Many policies offer you the chance to upgrade your Covid-19 cover for an extra cost so you’re better protected.
Some insurance companies offer enhanced Covid-19 cover. What this includes will depend on the provider. But, in general, it’s an increased level of cover which will cost extra, and could include things like:
Most policies now provide cover if you’re forced to cancel your holiday because you catch Covid-19 within the 14 days before you’re due to travel. Every insurer will have different terms and some will cover cancellations due to other Covid-related issues, too.
However, you’re unlikely to find insurance that will cover cancellation of your holiday if the FCDO changes its advice on travel to your destination or if a local or national lockdown means you can’t travel.
When the FCDO advises against ‘all but essential travel’ or ‘all travel’ to a particular place, it’s because the risk to British nationals is unacceptably high.
However, defining ‘essential travel’ is up to the individual. For example, you may have urgent family or business commitments you consider essential. The FCDO recognises that it’s up to each individual to make an informed decision based on their own circumstances and the risks.
Most travel insurance policies won’t cover you if you travel against FCDO advice, though. You’d need a special policy to travel in these circumstances.
All travel insurance should cover you for emergency medical expenses, as long as you haven’t travelled against FCDO or medical advice. The level of cover and how much your insurer will pay out will depend on the policy.
Some policies will cover you for excursions you’ve paid for if you fall ill with Covid-19 or are ordered to quarantine. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered if you can’t attend your activities because of travel restrictions imposed by the FCDO.