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Government advises against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka – reassurance to travel insurance customers

If  you are booked to travel to Sri Lanka  talk to your travel agent, tour operator, airline or other travel provider. 

Travel insurance is designed to cover unforeseen events like this. Cancellation cover under your travel insurance should cover additional costs that cannot be refunded by your travel provider. Check your policy for the extent of this cover.

If you are currently in Sri Lanka and want to curtail your visit and return early, your travel insurance should cover any extra costs associated with rearranging return flights. Again, check if you have the necessary cover in place or speak to your travel insurer. 

You should follow the FCO’s advice if you do decide to travel to Sri Lanka or if you are currently in Sri Lanka.

Travel insurance and Sri Lanka – what you need to know

  • Will all travel insurance policies cover this incident?

    While most travel policies cover cancellation and additional costs if these are not refunded by the travel provider or air carrier, travel insurance is a very competitive market, so the precise terms, conditions and scope of cover will inevitably vary between policies. This is why it is important to check your cover.

  • Will the extent of the cover vary depending on the cost of the policy?

    Cheaper policies may offer more limited cover, as reflected in the price. This why it is always important to buy cover on the basis of your needs, not simply on price alone.

  • What difference does Government advice against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka make to your travel insurance?

    Travel insurance does not typically cover you if you decide not to travel when there is no official advice against doing so. However, many travel polices will cover cancellation and additional transport or accommodation costs not recoverable elsewhere, in the event of government (or other authoritative body, such as the World Health Organisation) advice against all or restricted travel.

  • Why do I need to claim against the tour operator or air carrier first?

    This is to ensure that operators and airlines meet any legal obligations they have to you. Remember that the primary purpose of travel insurance is to cover overseas emergency medical treatment costs, and repatriation back to the UK on health grounds – these costs can easily run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

  • How long will it take for travel insurers to pay any claims in respect of Sri Lanka?

    Travel insurers always look to pay claims as quickly as possible, and Sri Lanka is no different. 

  • What if I am in Sri Lanka at the moment – will my travel insurance continue to operate?

    Yes, cover under your travel insurance will operate as normal. If in the country, make sure you keep up to date with, and follow, FCO advice.

  • What if I am travelling through Sr Lanka’s Columbo airport to another destination, such as The Maldives?

    The current advice against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka does not apply to flights transiting Colombo airport, providing that passengers remain airside (the side of the airport terminal beyond passport and customs control) in the airport.

  • What if I have booked to travel to Sri Lanka in a few months time? If I hang on hoping that the current advice is relaxed, can I still make a cancellation claim later?

    Providing that you booked your trip before the current travel advice was issued, and had cancellation cover is in place, then you should be able to claim. Talk to your travel insurer about this.  

  • What if I travel to Sri Lanka for non-essential reasons (such as holiday) – will my travel insurance policy still cover me?

    If you travel against government advice then you could be putting your travel insurance cover at risk. This is because policies expect you to take reasonable care, and not expose yourself to unnecessary and avoidable risk. Check with your travel insurer if the reasons for any travel would impact on your cover. 

  • If, despite current advice, I want to travel to Sri Lanka, can I still get travel insurance to cover me?

    It may be possible to obtain travel insurance, although the cost of a policy will reflect the increased risk in Sri Lanka at the moment. You can check with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) www.biba.org.uk for details of  any specialist insurance brokers who may be able to arrange cover.  

Last updated 25/04/2019