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Travel against FCDO advice

Your travel insurer almost certainly won’t cover you if you travel against FCDO advice, unless the advice has change since you booked. Find out what to do and what your rights are if you destination's not safe to go to.

amy smith
Amy Smith
Updated 10 May 2021  | 2 mins read

What information does the FCDO provide?

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date travel advice, plus entry requirements and crime levels for each country.

This allows you to make an informed decision if you’re planning on travelling abroad for a holiday or a work trip.

Key points

  • If you travel against FCDO advice, you won’t be covered by travel insurance if the advice was in place at the time you bought the policy
  • If FCDO advice changes after you’ve bought the policy, you probably will be covered

The FCDO might advise against all (or all but essential) travel if the country has particular risks, such as:

  • War and conflict zones
  • Recent terrorist activity or political unrest
  • High cases of Covid-19 or any other outbreak

Can I travel against FCDO advice?

It’s not recommended. Your travel insurer almost certainly won’t cover you if you travel against FCDO advice.

Travel insurance can help cover the cost of unexpected risks while you’re away, such as medical treatment or your luggage being lost. If you travel somewhere the FCDO has advised against, the chance of you claiming on your insurance will be much higher.

This is why your insurer won’t cover you if you travel against FCDO advice – because you’re knowingly taking a risk by choosing to travel.

Contact your tour operator or airline to find out what will happen with your trip if you’re advised not to travel.

Can I get travel insurance against FCDO advice?

Regular travel insurance won’t cover you.

A few specialist insurers offer policies that will provide specific cover for some eventualities if you travel against FCDO advice. They’re likely to cover the sorts of things ordinary travel insurance covers, such as:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Repatriation and evacuation
  • If you need to cancel of cut short your stay
  • Personal liability
  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Money and passport cover

But they’ll often exclude any cover related to the reasons why the FCDO advise against travelling. So you might be covered for a skiing injury, for example, but not any war or terrorism-related claims if the country’s in a warzone.

Am I covered if the FCDO changes their advice while I’m already abroad?

As long as you bought your travel insurance and travelled abroad before the advice changed, your policy should cover you if you need to cut short your trip.

If you’re advised to return to the UK, follow local advice and get in touch with your tour operator or airline to see how it can help you get home.

Can I cancel my holiday if I don’t want to travel?

If you’ve been advised not to travel, you might be able to rearrange your trip or apply for a refund. Travel companies often take FCDO advice into account and will treat you fairly if it’s no longer safe to go. Get in touch with your travel agent or airline to see what it can offer.

If your travel operator won’t refund you, your travel insurance should cover you if the FCDO considered it safe to travel at the time you took out the policy.

But if your destination is near an affected area and you just don’t want to go, you won’t be able to claim on your travel insurance.

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