We are the voice of insurance and long-term savings | Contact us

Travel Insurance

You can find up-to-date travel advice on the Government's website. This includes information on steps to take for those who have essential travel and further consular advice. 

On 17 March, the Foreign Secretary announced a change in travel ​advice to advise against all but essential travel for an initial period of 30 days. This period ​has now been extended by the Foreign Office until further notice. The advice will be kept under regular review, with a view to lowering it as soon as circumstances allow. 

Single Trip Insurance - Cover Extension 

ABI members are committed to supporting their customers who are stuck abroad at this difficult time.

Most travel insurance policies already automatically extend so that people can continue to be covered against the risk of emergency medical treatment when they are stuck abroad due to ongoing travel restrictions.

Sometimes these extensions have a limit of up to 30 days, however, given the exceptional circumstances leading ABI members will look to extend this protection to cover the risk of emergency medical treatment for up to a minimum of 60 days, provided customers are making every effort to return home.

We welcome the Government’s announcement to assist with repatriation given the challenges that many people stuck abroad are facing.

Six things to know about travel insurance:

Travel insurers are committed to supporting their customers through this unprecedented global event and have made six pledges to customers;

ABI travel insurance members have pledged to:

  • Ensure that customers are provided with, or directed to, the most up-to-date information around the Coronavirus outbreak and publish clear information at the point-of-sale around the valid coverage of their policies.
  • Work closely with customers to signpost them to where compensation may be received for cancelled transport, holidays or an inability to travel abroad e.g. airlines, travel providers and travel agents.
  • Consider all valid travel insurance claims quickly and fairly for costs not recoverable from elsewhere arising from cancellation, travel curtailment or disruption so that customers receive a fair outcome.
  • Upon notification from their customers, help them consider their options for transferring their travel insurance to cover a new destination should people wish to make alternative travel plans.
  • Implement business continuity plans to be able to continue to handle travel insurance claims in challenging circumstances.
  • Be understanding of the difficulties customers may have in getting medical certification and consider, where appropriate, alternative evidence that customers may be able to provide.

For more information, you can read our commonly asked questions: 

Why are insurers stopping selling some policies? 

  • Insurers are carefully monitoring the fast-moving developments in the coronavirus outbreak, and some have temporarily stopped selling travel insurance to new customers while others have stopped covering cancellations or disruption related to the Coronavirus for new customers. 
  • Insurance is based on assessing the possibility of an event occurring. Insurers take account of when any risk becomes more of a probability than a possibility and then make commercial decisions. It should be noted that the World Health Organisation has declared Coronavirus a global pandemic.  
  • But be reassured, trips already booked abroad under existing policies remain unaffected. Travel insurance for non-COVID19 related risks also remains available. 

What should I do about travelling? 

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel until further notice. This unprecedented step actually provides welcome clarity for customers and the industry. Generally, insurance cancellation or travel disruption will relate to FCO advice. This decision will, therefore, allow many (or ''the majority of'') policyholders with cancellation or travel disruption cover in place to claim for cancelled trips that were already booked and cannot now go ahead.  
  • Looking ahead, if this advice is lifted after 30 days but still applies to the destination you were planning to visit, then you may be able to claim under your travel insurance policy (again, provided you have the relevant cancellation or travel disruption cover in place).  
  • If you make alternative travel plans, then you may be able to transfer your travel insurance to cover your new destination.  
  • Travel insurance policies may cover some out-of-pocket losses, and also help you to leave the area and return back to the UK if you are advised to do so, and if you are unable to get assistance from any other source. 

Will my travel insurance cover me if I am delayed and trying to return to the UK? 

  • Insurers are committed to supporting their customers who are stuck abroad at this difficult time and welcomed the Government’s announcement to assist with repatriation given the challenges that many people are facing in returning to the UK.  
  • Most travel insurance policies already automatically extend so that people are still covered against the risk of emergency medical treatment when they are stuck abroad due to ongoing travel restrictions. Given these exceptional circumstances, leading ABI members will look to extend this protection to cover the risk of emergency medical treatment for up to a minimum of 60 days, provided you are making every effort to return home.  If you are unsure if your insurance coverage will be extended, you should check with your insurer as soon as possible.  
  • Travel insurance policies may also cover some out-of-pocket losses, and will also help you to leave the area if a warning to return back to the UK comes into effect while you are there if you are unable to get assistance from any other source. You should keep up to date with Government advice on the Foreign Office website. 

If I ignore any government advice against all but essential travel, will my travel insurance still cover me? 

  • If you travel against government advice then you may invalidate your travel insurance. If you are unsure check with your travel insurer. 

What would be classed as ‘essential’ travel? 

  • You should check with your travel insurer if the reasons for your trip would or would not invalidate your travel insurance. A holiday to the area would not be considered as essential. 

If I cancel my travel plans can I claim any cancellation costs on my travel insurance? 

  • Travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. These may include medical advice against you or a member of your group from travelling or government advice against travelling. Check your travel insurance policy for the scope of cover. Travel insurance is not designed to cover the situation where you choose not to travel, but the FCO advice has not changed to advise against travel. 

Should I return to the UK if I am currently abroad? 

What happens if I'm quarantined overseas?  

  • If you are required to be quarantined while abroad, you should be covered by your insurance policy, including any relevant medical expenses that are required. Your insurer may consider additional travel expenses at the end of the quarantined period to allow you to return home. Check with your insurer if you have any questions.  
  • Many policies can be extended for a specific period, if you are unavoidably detained from returning to the UK. If this happens, then check with your insurer. 

In light of the new Government advice to stay at home, can I travel within the UK? 

  • On 23 March, the Prime Minister called for everyone in the UK to stay at home where possible for at least three weeks. If you have travel plans which fall within this period, your travel insurance may provide cancellation cover for travel within the UK. Check with your insurer if you are not sure.  

If I cancel my travel plans can I claim any cancellation costs on my travel insurance? 

  • Travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. These circumstances may include medical advice against you or a member of your group from travelling or government advice against travelling. Check your travel insurance policy for the scope of cover. Travel insurance is not designed to cover the situation where you choose not to travel, without the Foreign Office also advising against it. The Foreign Office is currently advising against all but essential travel outside of the UK.  

Will my travel insurance cover me if I have to self-isolate and can't travel? 

  • Travel insurers understand that people doing the right thing by self-isolating in line with government and WHO advice may not be able to travel. If you have cancellation cover within your travel insurance, insurers will consider a cancellation claim if you can prove that you need to self-isolate. 
  • Talk to your insurer if you are not sure how to prove that you need to self-isolate. One way to do so, may be to get an isolation note from the NHS website