Travel insurers criticised over extent of Covid cover

Travel insurers criticised over extent of Covid cover
Insurance brokers have stressed that they can search the market for specific needs if people still wish to travel despite the current restrictions.

The analysis by Which? found two policies - from HSBC and Barclays - offered widespread protection, but were only available to those banks customers and could only be bought alongside other insurance products.

They protected policyholders against cancellation due to changes in advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) or government lockdowns prohibiting travel. They also covered testing positive for Covid-19 or being told to self-isolate, and medical costs and repatriation.

While some travel insurers boasted of offering "Covid cover", many policies excluded plausible and potentially costly scenarios, such as new lockdowns in the UK or destination country, the consumer group said.

Every policy analysed offered cover for medical and repatriation costs for travellers catching Covid while travelling.

However, no more than a third offered cover if travellers cancelled after being notified to isolate by the test and trace app, and only 3% protected against failing to travel owing to a need to quarantine on return - a scenario possible if their destination was re-graded on the traffic light system.

Gareth Shaw, head of Which? Money, said: "As the removal of Portugal from the green list shows, last-minute disruption to holiday plans can happen - and our research shows that many travel insurers don t offer much protection if it does.

"The government should work with regulators to ensure that travellers, should they choose to go abroad, are given clear information about what they will and won t be covered for."

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: "We urge people to read their policy to understand the scope of cover, as policies bought after the pandemic was declared are unlikely to cover cancellation due to Covid as it is a known risk, and travel insurance is designed and priced to cover unforeseen events.

"Travellers should always be aware of and follow government advice, and the border requirements of the country they are visiting. And always follow FCDO advice, to avoid invalidating your travel insurance."
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