Advice for travel insurance once the borders open

With Lockdown restrictions being lifted and the potential for borders to open again, many of us will be looking at that long overdue or delayed trip abroad. There is a lot of advertising on the television at the current time from various travel companies which states “including Covid Cover” so we wanted to make you aware of what this actually means, what it covers and what the pitfalls and differences are.

The two companies being vocal on the matter currently are Hoseasons and TUI.

Hoseasons are a large operator offering mainly UK based trips, cottage rental, and boat rental in Europe. From their website this would not appear to be an insurance backed policy, but purely an offer to refund the costs of your holiday, provide a voucher for future use or a chance to change the date of your trip. This is providing you are not able to travel due to Governmental restrictions subject to administration costs, other costs outlined in their lengthy terms and conditions of booking, and other criteria to make claims valid, so this is just cancellation cover to a certain extent. It does not provide any medical care that may be required should you be unfortunate enough to contract Covid 19.

TUI are one of the largest holiday companies in the UK and are also advertising Covid Cover. They would appear to have an insurance backed policy with well known provider AXA. This cover is already included in some holidays and as an option on most others, the policy would appear to be quite good in that it provides cover for cancellation of your trip prior to departure (subject to a fee), cover for medical treatment and repatriation should you or a member of your travel party contract the virus whilst on holiday, and limited additional accommodation costs should you have to remain abroad, all as a result of contracting the virus. Again, all subject to various terms and limitations.

It should however be noted that TUI’s Covid cover is not a substitute for travel insurance, it purely provides cover for COVID related issues. You should still take full travel cover to protect yourselves against cancellation for any other reason, medical expenses for any other reason, baggage cover and liability. Tui and other operators do offer such covers as an additional option, but double check that the cover provided gets you back to the islands as a lot of policies will get you back to mainland UK only leaving you stranded, possibly having to isolate, and paying for the accommodation costs.

Other Travel companies are sure to follow in due course, in providing Covid cover but there will be differences between them all.
What to watch out for and consider before booking your trip:

  • Is my tour operator ABTA & ATOL protected so I am protected should the travel company or the accommodation I am staying at cease trading and go into liquidation?
  • Do their terms and conditions allow for refunds and changes if I can’t travel due to Covid?
  • Do they offer any kind of Covid insurance whilst I am abroad?
  • Do I need additional travel insurance to cover other costs?
  • Does the World Health Organisation or Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office advise against travel to my destination?

There are many things to consider and, should you wish to discuss your plans further and to ensure you get the best travel cover possible, give one of our highly experienced team a call before you book anything.