Which? issues warning over travel insurance that may not cover Covid

Vacationers risk loss due to confusion about the extent to which coronavirus-related disruption is included in travel insurance. Which? is warning.

Research suggests that when the pandemic affects their vacation plans, many travel insurance customers are misleading about their level of protection.

Which? believes that some of this is due to poor communication from travel insurers and the use of blanket terms such as “Covid coverage” or “extended Covid coverage” on insurers’ websites.

A Which? A survey of more than 2,800 travel insurance customers between February and March found that three in ten (29%) committed to bookings or agreements for international travel this year.

More than one in ten (12%) said that they had not booked or arranged a trip, but had concrete plans.

Which? asked people if they believed their guidelines would cover them in certain scenarios, e.g. B. in the event of further bans, or whether they need to isolate themselves or test positive for coronavirus.

Half (50%) said they believe they will be covered in case the government’s travel advice changes after booking a trip, and nearly half (47%) believe their insurance policy will cover them in the event covers that local or national barriers prevent them from traveling.

Almost half (46%) believe their policy will cover them if their airline or vacation company postpones their trip but do not offer a cash refund.

But when which? When analyzing 73 travel insurance providers between October and November 2020, it was found that coverage for these three such cases – especially with changes in government travel advice – was very rare, with large discrepancies between the insurance policies included.

The consumer champ believes little has changed in recent months.

Since March 2020, many insurers have viewed the pandemic as a “known event” and excluded the cancellation coverage of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) from new contracts and for newly booked trips.

Which? Customers with policies purchased after March 2020 are more likely to believe they are insured for this type of incident than customers who have previously purchased policies.

Two-thirds (65%) who had travel insurance less than six months before taking the survey believe they would be covered if the FCDO recommendations change and advise against travel after they have booked their trip while less than half (48%) of those who bought policies over a year ago.

Which? The providers are of the opinion that what is included and excluded in their Covid guidelines should be clearly stated on their websites and exclusions should not be buried in their “FAQs”.

Which? Also calls on the Department of Transportation to work closely with the Department of Treasury, sector regulators and industry to ensure that all travelers have an adequate understanding of their insurance coverage and have access to coverage that will protect them from FCDO advice related to the pandemic.

Jenny Ross, which one? The money editor said, “The ongoing risk of disruption related to Covid means getting the right travel insurance for your vacation is more important than ever.

“Without further scrutiny by the government and regulators into how clearly insurers are presenting their policies, there is a very real chance that many travelers will be left out of their pockets again this summer.”

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “With the easing of travel restrictions overseas, it is important for travelers to purchase travel insurance when booking their vacation, especially to cover potentially very expensive bills for emergency medical care overseas. which can easily run into tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“We urge people to read their insurance policies to understand the scope of coverage as policies purchased after the pandemic was declared are unlikely to cover cancellation due to Covid as it is a known risk. Travel insurance is designed and rated to cover unforeseen events.

“Travelers should always know and follow government advice and the border requirements of the country they are traveling to. Always follow FCDO’s advice to avoid voiding your travel insurance. “

The FCDO travel guide can be viewed at www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.

Here are some travel insurance tips from Which?

Note the differences between the amount of information insurers provide on their websites about their core insurance levels, especially in pandemic-related scenarios.

Terms such as Covid coverage or extended Covid coverage mean different things for different insurers. Avoid making assumptions. Use caution if the information provided lists only the benefits of the policy, not exclusions.

Some protections only apply to customers who insured their travel before the pandemic was reported last year.

Take the time to read the insurance document. In particular, check medical costs, cancellation and general policy conditions and exclusions. If you want protection but the insurance document is confusing, contact the insurer directly to confirm prior to booking.

For information on key areas of coverage and exclusions, see the Insurance Product Information Document, but it doesn’t tell you everything about the policy.

Look for a flexible booking policy for countries that switch from “green” to “amber” or “red” between booking and travel.

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