Insurers pledge enhanced support to customers amid coronavirus concerns

Insurers have pledged to ensure customers are provided with, or directed to, the most up-to-date information about coronavirus.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) also said members will consider all valid claims for cancellation and travel disruption where compensation is not available elsewhere as quickly as possible.

Insurers will ensure extra resources are available if needed to offer prompt help and advice to customers.

Firms will work closely with customers to signpost them to where compensation may be received for cancelled transport, holidays or an inability to travel abroad, such as airlines, travel providers and travel agents.

The ABI said that insurers will help customers to consider their options for transferring their travel insurance to cover a new destination, should they wish to make alternative travel plans.

They will also be understanding of the difficulties customers may have in getting medical certificates and consider, where appropriate, alternative evidence that customers may be able to provide, it said.

The ABI has already said that travel insurance “is not designed to cover disinclination to travel where the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) advice has not changed to advise against travel”.

Generally speaking with travel insurance, most policies will cover cancellation in the event of the Government advising against all but essential travel to the country or region someone are planning to go to.

But polices are unlikely to cover someone if they cancel simply because they are worried, when the Government is not advising against travel.

On the other hand, if someone chooses to travel despite Government advice not to do so, they could risk invalidating their insurance policy.

Some policies may cover disruption to travel automatically, or as an optional “add on”. If someone has a policy which includes this, they may be able to claim for additional costs, where they are not refundable from any other source. For example, any additional accommodation costs if someone is delayed in returning to the UK, due to any quarantine requirements.

Mark Shepherd, the ABI’s assistant director, head of general insurance policy, said: “Travel insurers understand that this is a difficult time for people on or planning overseas trips. These customer pledges reinforce insurers’ determination to do everything possible to help their customers make claims where they can, and direct them to other sources that may be able to help.”

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