Travel insurance with COVID-19 cover

Hoping to travel abroad when restrictions are lifted but worried about the pandemic? Several travel-insurance policies are now offering cover for COVID-19.

Understand how this can help protect travellers and holidaymakers financially from the potential risks they now face.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.

If your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Find out more here

Can you get travel insurance with enhanced COVID-19 cover?

Yes, you can now get travel insurance that offers some financial protection against some of the possible risks associated with coronavirus – for example, having to change travel plans or facing additional medical bills for COVID-19 treatment while away.

Which providers offer policies with enhanced COVID-19 cover?

Many of the providers that Compare the Market works with now offer enhanced COVID-19 cover. It’s easy to find which providers do when you compare. Just tick the option for ‘Enhanced COVID-19’ cover to filter out anyone who doesn’t offer it.

How do these policies compare?

Unfortunately, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ in terms of enhanced COVID-19 travel cover. Every policy is different and will have different limits and conditions that may apply to you.

Even if a provider does offer enhanced COVID-19 cover, it won’t necessarily come with all their policies. Some providers may only include it in their top-of-the-range policies – so gold, diamond, platinum, premium-type policies – while others may include it across their whole range. Details of whether enhanced COVID-19 cover is included can be found on our price results page when you look at quotes.

As with any travel-insurance policy, you’ll need to thoroughly check the details of what is and isn’t covered to see whether it meets your needs.

What does enhanced COVID-19 travel insurance cover?

Typically, enhanced COVID-19 travel insurance will offer cover for:

  • cancellation if you or anyone covered by the policy gets coronavirus before you travel
  • medical costs if you or anyone covered by the policy gets coronavirus while you’re abroad
  • additional transport and/or accommodation expenses if you or anyone covered by the policy has to extend their stay abroad due to falling ill with coronavirus

What should I look for when I’m buying travel insurance with enhanced COVID-19 cover?

Check the amounts of cover offered to see that they’ll be sufficient for your needs.

Look carefully at any wording around coronavirus both for situations before you travel (which might result in you having to cancel), and if something happens while you’re away, (like becoming ill, having to cut your trip short or having to extend it because borders are closed).

Check the provider’s policy documents to see if you’ll be covered if, for example:

  • you or anyone covered by the policy are diagnosed with coronavirus in the two weeks before departure
  • you or your travel companions are admitted to hospital due to coronavirus within 28 days of the start of the trip
  • the accommodation you’ve booked has to close after you’ve checked in because you, another guest or a member of staff has been diagnosed with coronavirus
  • you’re denied boarding because of a temperature test or other medical test result
  • a close relative, travelling companion or business associate has a serious illness or dies – some policies may exclude coronavirus from their definition of serious illness
  • you have to extend your trip due to a country closing its borders or delays to your booked public transport
  • you need to be repatriated in a medical emergency.

What’s excluded from enhanced COVID-19 cover?

Exclusions are likely to include claims where:

  • you were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or had been told to self-isolate when you bought your insurance or at the time of booking
  • you bought the policy after you’d had a positive test or you’re awaiting test results and you’re due to travel within 14 days
  • you don’t travel because the person you’re due to stay with is infected with coronavirus
  • you chose not to travel simply because you didn’t want to or had a fear of travelling
  • you need medical treatment abroad and you went against official or medical advice on infectious disease
  • you are in a destination that has restrictions, like lockdowns, that were in existence or were publicly announced before you bought your insurance or when you booked

Some policies may exclude enforced stays because of COVID-19. Remember to check your policy documentation for any exclusions that may impact you.

Will I need to have been vaccinated?

No, at the moment, you don’t need to have been vaccinated for COVID-19 cover to apply, but this may change. The government is debating the idea of vaccination passports for a number of uses, including travel. It may also depend on what other countries expect or where you can travel to without a vaccination. If this is imposed, it could impact the validity of your policy in future.

How can I make a claim?

If you need to make a claim, you’ll need documentation to support it. For example – depending on what you’re claiming for – you may need to produce:

  • a copy of the positive test result for COVID-19 you received from a registered medical practitioner.
  • written confirmation from the airline or operator confirming the reason why you were denied boarding, and details of any alternative transport offered.
  • receipts or bills for any transport, accommodation or other costs, charges or expenses you’re claiming for.
  • any other official document or medical report confirming your diagnosis for COVID-19 that led to your self-isolation or need to cancel your trip.

Check your policy to see what proof and documents will be required, as well as the timeframes for producing it.

Your policy will give you full details on how to make a claim. It’s usually sensible to make sure you have a copy of your documents with you and any helpline numbers you need to get urgent help from your insurance provider.

Like any insurance policy, a claim is subject to the policy terms and conditions and benefit limits. And just because there’s cover for a particular situation, it isn’t a guarantee that your claim will be paid.

Will I be covered by enhanced COVID-19 cover if I cancel my trip?

It depends on the reason for your cancellation and what your policy says. You’re likely to be covered if you’re confirmed to have coronavirus but you wouldn’t be covered if, for example, you bought your insurance policy after your diagnosis.

Check the cancellation rules carefully before you choose a policy.

Will my insurance cover me if I have to quarantine abroad?

Some policies will, but check the details to make sure, if you want this level of cover.

Remember: Any insurance policy purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the local authority, or the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), has instructed citizens not to travel, will not be valid.

Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes prior to 17 May 2021. However, several providers do not offer cover for essential travel. In all cases, should you have any queries, please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Frequently asked questions

Do existing annual travel policies have this kind of enhanced coronavirus cover?

It’s hard to say, as all travel insurance providers are covering COVID-19 differently. If you’ve renewed your policy recently, or have it as part of, say, a packaged bank account, it may have been updated to include this kind of cover.

It’s unlikely you’ll find a policy that covers all possible disruptions owing to COVID-19, but some providers do offer better cover than others. That’s why it’s important to compare travel insurance policies carefully and understand who’s covering what. We offer a comparison for specialist “enhanced COVID-19 policies”, to help you find the right cover you need for peace of mind.

Also bear in mind that the validity of your cover depends on the current government guidelines on travel. If international travel has been banned by the UK government, then your insurance won’t cover you if you decide to go anyway.

Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes prior to 17 May 2021. However, several providers do not offer cover for essential travel. In all cases, should you have any queries, please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Can I claim for excursions if I have to cancel my trip because of coronavirus under an enhanced policy?

Possibly. If you’ve pre-booked and you can’t get your money back directly from the supplier or card company, you may be able to make a claim. Check with your provider.

How much does travel insurance cost?

1 week in Europe
from £5.90*

Multi-trip travel insurance worldwide
from £22.45**

These figures aren’t necessarily for travel-insurance policies with enhanced Covid-19 cover.

*Based on Compare The Market Data for a single trip travel policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe for 1 week. Prices correct as of June 2021.

**Based on Compare The Market Data for an annual multi trip travel insurance policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Worldwide. Prices correct as of June 2021.

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What do I need to get a quote?

When you start a travel insurance quote with us, it’s a good idea to have some basic information about your travel plans, including:

  • when you want the policy to start
  • all the countries you want to visit
  • how many people you want to insure
  • any medical conditions
  • cover limits, excess limits and additional cover you might want

Remember that to get quotes for enhanced COVID-19 cover you’ll need to tick the box to filter the results.

Why use Compare the Market?

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We compare
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of customers found our prices competitive or very competitive

^^On average it can take less than 2 minutes to complete a travel insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.

^^^Correct as of June 2021.

^^^^For the period 1st December 2020 to 31st May 2021, 466 people responded to the statement “I think the prices provided by CtM are….” 407 responded with ‘competitive’ or ‘very competitive’ (87.3%).

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Chris King

Head of travel insurance at Compare the Market

What our expert says

“All travel-insurance policies are different and have a variety of limits and conditions. Different level policies from the same provider may vary in the level of cover offered for coronavirus. If you’re concerned about this type of cover, you’ll need to read the policy carefully to see what is and isn’t covered to make sure you get the right policy for you. And don’t just concentrate on the coronavirus aspects of the policy – make sure the policy suits you as a whole.”