COVID-19 - Claims FAQs & Helpful Advice (TIF)
COVID-19 and Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice, frequently asked questions and helpful advice.
Please find below our frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) in relation to COVID19 and associated FCO travel advice, which should cover most of the questions you might have.
We have also tried to assist further by including details of where else you could get assistance or obtain refunds from, if you are unable to claim on your insurance policy.
There are some important things we want to highlight:
When did you buy?
Travel insurance is designed to cover the ‘unforeseen’, so if you had purchased your policy at or after the point that the COVID19 outbreak was known about, then you will be asked for some specific evidence to prove that when you bought your policy you had no intention or reasonable likelihood of claiming.
Who to speak to first?
There is more specific advice below, but generally speaking the airlines, tour operators and travel agents are covering costs associated with events that might lead to the cancellation or curtailment of your trip. This means you should only be submitting a claim to us when you have exhausted those options first. You will be asked to provide proof that you have been denied a refund from the transport and accommodation providers.
Making a claim
I am looking to make a claim for Cancellation or Curtailment please can you send me a claims form.
Please be aware that claim forms can be downloaded online and we are currently unable to email or post these to you.
As general advice, please be aware that if your trip has been cancelled, rearranged or curtailed as a result of COVID19 and/or FCO advice, then it is likely that your transport and/or accommodation provider is going to be able to refund you. We will only be considering claims where you have approached the appropriate provider for either refund/reimbursement or change to trip dates, prior to submitting a claim to us. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.
If after approaching your accommodation and transport providers, you are still looking to make a claim for cancellation or curtailment relating to COVID-19
of change in FCO advice, you can download the relevant claim form from Travel Claims Facilities here
For a cancellation claim form
For a curtailment claim form
Please complete this form fully and send it back to Travel Claims Facilities
with all the supporting documentation requested. Missing information could result in delays to the assessment of your claim.
Cancellation/Refund of insurance
My trip has been cancelled. I don’t need to claim but I want my insurance premium refunded.
Please contact us and provide the following details;
- reason for the refund request,
- confirmation that you are not intending to claim,
- or that you have not had a previous claim on your policy.
Following this our team will be able to refund your policy premium in line with the cancellation terms in your policy wording.
Given the current circumstances, it may take a little longer than usual to respond to queries but we will get back to you.
I need to change the dates on my policy because my trip has been postponed.
For Single Trip policies that have not started yet, we are happy to shift the dates to a trip which is more than 90 days from 17th March 2020 and within twelve months of the issue date of your original policy in line with your policy terms and conditions. Please note that this may be subject to a premium adjustment if the new trip is to a different geographical area and/or different duration to your original dates.
We are not able to amend the start dates of a Multi Trip Policy or any policy where the start date is in the past.
My close relative, who is not travelling with me has Coronavirus, can I cancel and claim?
Cover is available on most policies for cancellation for this type of situation, there are a few things you’ll need to provide to support this and evidence that it was necessary for you to cancel (relative in a ‘high risk’ category and positive COVID19) as well as confirmation your trip was still going ahead.
The policy wording will define what the insurer considers to be a close relative.
I am over 70 and/or have ‘Chronic’ Medical conditions and so under current UK advice have been told not to travel, can I claim for cancellation?
We’re afraid, that this isn’t something that is covered by the policy. This is because there is protection for customers elsewhere. In most cases this would relate back to the cover offered by Package Travel Regulations. The current position is that if passengers have a medical condition for which exposure to COVID-19 is particularly dangerous, they should have the right to cancel their package travel contract. This only applies if the risk of infection of COVID-19 at the travel destination or its immediate vicinity is declared high by the competent authorities. So please contact your booking agent for further advice.
I am on or going on a cruise and am confined to my cabin because of the Coronavirus, even though I am not ill and do not need emergency medical treatment, can I claim for cabin confinement?
If you bought a policy that included cruise cover with a cabin confinement section, if the circumstances of your confinement are included, then we will consider claims under this section of the policy.
If when I am on my cruise, they cannot stop at one of the scheduled ports due to the Coronavirus, can I claim for missed port?
We’re afraid missed port cover is usually only provided for missed port due to adverse weather conditions or timetable restrictions. However, under package travel regulations because the cruise did not go ahead as ‘sold’ or advertised, then it would be something you can approach your booking agent to discuss reimbursement.
Will I still be covered if I am on my cruise and the FCO change their advice on travel to a country I am due to travel to and the cruise ship has to go to a different location outside of the geographical area covered by my policy?
Yes, we would continue to cover you as normal, without charge and without the need to contact us, as we understand that this is outside of your control and not an intended change to your policy coverage needs.
I am currently travelling abroad, is my policy still valid?
If when your trip started there was no FCO advice against all but essential travel, then your policy is still valid.
However, the FCO currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. The government have urged people to return to the UK. Therefore we would recommend coming back to the UK. You will need to speak to your booking agent about finding an alternative flight home as soon as possible.
If you choose to ignore this advice, then we will be unable to continue insurance coverage beyond the date that you were physically able to return back to the UK.
I am currently travelling abroad, how do I get home?
You would need to urgently speak with your booking agent in order to get a flight back to the UK.
Please note: We are not be able to assist in getting you home unfortunately, unless this is due to your injury or illness, and this has been agreed by our assistance team. It is important to note that medical repatriations are currently being prioritised to ensure the safety of those who are unwell and the assistance team will not be able to support you with returning back to the UK due to FCO advice.
I am currently travelling abroad and need to come home, are the costs of returning home early covered under my travel insurance policy?
This type of situation is not usually covered under travel insurance policies. We understand however that many transport providers are offering ticket changes at little or no cost to customers affected by change in FCO advice.
In the first instance, we would recommend that you contact your tour operator/travel agent to see if they are able to re-arrange your return travel for you. If you are travelling independently from a tour operator/travel agent, you should contact your airline/transport provider to see if they are able to alter your return ticket. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.
You will need to evidence that you have approached and been refused a refund for these costs before we will consider a claim. You should also check that you purchased a policy which covers curtailment due to FCO advice changes.
FCO/Local Government Advice
I have cancelled due to Local Government restrictions at the location I was due to stay. There is no actual FCO advice against all but essential travel.
Unfortunately, most policies do not include this as a reason to cancel. However, if your trip is no longer able to go ahead as originally planned – i.e. excursion cancellations, restriction on use of facility etc. then customers who have booked via a tour operator or travel agent, should in most cases be able to claim from their tour operator or travel agent. Customers who booked accommodation and transport through separate providers will need to approach their booking agents to see if they are able to change dates or offer any refund. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.
An event or a course has been cancelled due to local restrictions on mass gatherings – am I covered?
Generally speaking, majority of insurance products do not cover this, including ours. We would suggest you contact the course/event organisers to discuss the options available to you.
I bought my policy when I was aware there were travel restrictions and problems in the area I was visiting; can I claim now the FCO have advised against travel there?
We’re afraid this would not be covered. Insurance is designed to cover unexpected and unforeseen events, so would not cover you if you were aware of problems developing at the time you bought it. It is possible that your premium could be refunded please contact us for further advice.
My return flight was cancelled due to local restrictions as a result of COVID19– am I covered for the costs associated with the delay or new flight.
Sorry, but this is something you would need to approach your airline about. There are very few policies that cover for travel disruption on the return journey. You can check this in your policy wording, under travel disruption, departure delay or force majeure sections of your policy wording.
Before submitting a claim under any of these sections, you will need to approach your airline in the first instance as there is some protection that exists for customers in such circumstances, under the Montreal Convention. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.
I didn’t travel due to many attractions and restaurants being closed, is this covered?
We’re afraid this would be considered to be disinclination to travel and most policies in the market do not include this as a reason to cancel. However, if your trip is no longer able to go ahead as originally planned – excursion cancellations, restriction on use of hotel facilities etc. then travel package regulations and flight operators should in most cases be able to reimburse you. For customers who self-packaged unfortunately there is no cover that exists under your travel insurance policy but you may be able to claim from your credit card or debit card provider.
I had a claim declined previously as there was no FCO restriction in place, but there now is, can you reassess the claim?
Unfortunately, we can only assess claims based on the facts and information available that applied at the time of you cancelling and then submitting the claim.
I have decided to stay at the trip destination due to the travel problems – will my policy be automatically extended?
We only usually extend coverage when customers are unable to leave due to their own medical situation or because their return journey has been cancelled so we would not automatically extend coverage because of preference.
Fear of travel
I didn’t want to travel as I felt worried due to the worsening outbreak –am I/would I be covered?
We are afraid this would be considered as disinclination to travel and most policies in the market do not include this as a reason to cancel.
My flight was cancelled by the airline, can I claim for this on my insurance policy?
Sorry but this is something you would need to approach your airline for. If you had booked accommodation separately then you will need to approach the accommodation provider to see what your options are. You may be able to include this in your claim to the airline and if not then it may be that your bank/credit card company can support with this, via a section 75 claim. Please contact your credit of debit card company for details on the process. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.
I am in the military and my reporting officer has strongly advised that I do not travel to my trip destination due to COVID-19, can I submit a claim for cancellation?
If HM forces cover is specified in the cancellation section and your leave orders have been cancelled then yes. Unfortunately, if your leave orders are not cancelled, then this will not be covered by your travel insurance policy. We would recommend you contact your reporting or commanding officer for advice as to how they can support you.
Will you cover me if I have to cancel my trip because I am in quarantine/isolation in the UK because of COVID19?
For all cases we would need confirmation that your trip was still going ahead as planned and had not been rearranged/cancelled due to FCO/COVID19 advice/restrictions.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer with COVID19 after you bought your insurance, then as long as the diagnosis was within a reasonable timeframe of your trip starting (30 days) then we would consider this under cancellation due to illness. You can submit a claim for cancellation and will be required to evidence a positive COVID19 result from a medical practitioner.
Suspected, but no confirmed diagnosis
We are going to have to assess these claims on a case by case basis and with some specific information from you. We are going to need evidence that you have needed to seek medical advice/assistance. This may include phone records to show the date/time you called 111 and/or your GP (this must be prior to you contacting us).
Again, these cases will be assessed by the claims team on a case by case basis. We will need evidence that you are self-isolating, this may include a letter from your employer and proof of SSP/sick pay.
For a cancellation claim form in relation to isolation or quarantine:
I have changed my flight arrangements to avoid being denied entry or quarantined, can I claim for this?
We would need to look at these claims on a case by case basis. In most cases flight companies are assisting people with these arrangements with small if any administration fees. Where they do charge you a fee your claim will be reviewed in line with your policy wording, as long as the policy was bought before these restrictions were being widely reported in the media.
My doctor advised that I shouldn’t travel to my holiday destination due to my existing medical problems – will I be covered?
This is not a straight forward yes or no – but if you declared the conditions at the time of purchasing the policy, (which has to be before the outbreak) then your claim will be considered if your conditions are reliably reported as being ‘high risk’. If you did not declare them, you would not be covered. We would also need confirmation that your trip was still due to go ahead as planned.
Refusal of boarding
If we get to the airport and one of our temperatures spike, and we are refused boarding, what is covered?
We’re really sorry but travel insurance policies across the market do not provide cover for refusal of boarding for any reason. You would need to approach your airline or tour operator for advice.
The advice changed during flight and we were refused entry to the country, can I claim for the trip costs and return flight?
Those who are ‘in flight’ at the point the FCO advice changes, should approach their tour operator for a refund of trip and arrangements to return to the UK, as this is their responsibility under Package Travel Regulations. Those who booked flight only, will need to see if their airline can make arrangements to bring them back.
There may be costs associated with this, you travel insurance policy may cover it if under the cutting short your trip (curtailment) section, the policy wording lists a change of FCO advice as a reason to claim.
For a curtailment claim form:
It doesn’t look my policy is going to cover my circumstances – Where else can I go?
You will be asked if you have approached all other possible routes before submitting a claim to your insurer, if a claim is already submitted, then it is likely you will be asked to do this before we consider your claim. It will therefore speed up your claim if you follow this advice before submitting the claim.
Credit Card/Debit Card
If your trip or deposit was paid by credit card
If the value is more than £100 and less than £30,000 there are additional protections if something goes wrong. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes your credit card company jointly liable for any breach of contract (such as an event/trip cancellation) and customers can claim their money back directly from their credit card provider.
Package travel regulations (PTR)
If a customer has booked via a travel agent or tour operator or has booked more than one thing, that must include;
Then the trip is considered as packaged and the below applies.
Trips cancelled due to FCO advice would therefore fall within the remit of PTR and be eligible for a refund.
Trips where access is restricted or public life is subject to significant limitations (closures of tourist attraction etc..) should give passengers the right to cancel their trip with refund via PTR.
– If passengers have a medical condition for which exposure to the COVID-19 is particularly dangerous, current advice is they should have the right to cancel their package travel contract if the risk of contamination with COVID-19 at the travel destination or its immediate vicinity is declared high by the competent authorities.
Flight company and Air Passenger Rights
Flight companies are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. If your flight operator cancels or can’t fulfil your flight then there is protection available under something called the ‘Montreal Convention’. Some airlines are going over and above their requirements and so it is important to contact them in the first instance to find out what support they can give you.
Flight cancellations by the airline need to be claimed directly from them, your insurer will not consider a claim unless you have sought a refund from your airline in the first instance.
All around the world, passenger rights for international flights are protected under the Montreal Convention. Essentially, this piece of law states that the airline is responsible for you if your flight is cancelled and/or you are left stranded at an airport waiting for a flight. These measures of care include:
- Meals and refreshments
- Communication to the outside world (two occasions)
- Hotel accommodations when necessary
- Rerouting to your final destination
In countries like Canada, Israel and the Member States of the European Union, your rights are protected even further.
Like any piece of law, it is complicated and not that easy to read! But below is a link and if you google CAA and Montreal Convention then you will find some useful information online that may help you.
This article was posted on 23-03-2020