People planning holidays urged to make sure they have sufficient Covid cover

People planning future holidays are being warned to make sure they are not left with gaps in their cover if something goes wrong.

There are significant differences in what travel insurance policies will and will not cover in terms of coronavirus, analysis by Defaqto found.

Its analysis of products found that 98% will not cover cancellation costs should the advice being provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth
and Development Office (FCDO) change after booking a trip but before travel.

Just over six in 10 (61%) will cover cancellation costs if someone tests positive for Covid-19 before they travel.

Defaqto did find that 95% will cover medical expenses should someone catch Covid-19 while on holiday. It said given that medical care can run to tens of thousands of pounds, this is important cover.

Anna-Marie Duthie, travel insurance expert at Defaqto, said: “Insurers have been quick to develop new products to cover people who want to travel in these uncertain times.

“This is great news for anyone who is looking to book a holiday, but you must check the policy carefully as there are some big differences.”

She continued: “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.

“In these uncertain times, the best thing to do is to ensure you have the right protection for your needs.

“Simply taking out a travel insurance policy may not be enough. Carefully consider your own requirements such as the cost of the holiday and the level of cover you would need in place to cover those costs, should you be affected either directly or indirectly by this virus.”

Malcolm Tarling, a spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “Travel insurance is priced to cover unforeseen events, not those like Covid known when the policy was taken out.

“It is a vital product, primarily designed to pay for emergency overseas medical treatment, the costs of which can be eye wateringly expensive, running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“Travel insurers continue to support their customers during the pandemic, including paying £275 million in Covid cancellation claims.

“We have been clear throughout that policies taken out since the pandemic was declared are likely to have some Covid exclusions. Where any changes are made to policies, these should be clearly communicated.

“When seeking refunds for cancelled or disrupted travel customers should not be passed from pillar to post, and should understand their legal rights.

“The industry regulator, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), recognises that, in most circumstances, it is quickest and easiest for consumers to go to the retailer first for any refund.

“Cover under travel insurance is not an alternative for anyone evading their legal obligations.”