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Coronavirus and travel insurance - help and support

Travel insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic

We know travelling during a pandemic is unsettling. That’s why we’ve put together this information to explain how our travel insurance works, what’s covered and what’s not and to answer some of the most common questions our members are asking us. 

If you’re still not sure what you’re covered for, please get in touch on 01892 504444 and we’ll be happy to help.

What your AXA Health travel insurance covers you for

  • Cancellation cover due to medical reasons: 
    If you (a close relative or someone you’re travelling with) is unable to travel due to a medical reason or COVID-19. We’ll pay for cancellation costs (up to the limits of your policy) for costs you can’t recover from your travel provider for the following reasons: 
     - test positive for COVID-19; 
     - have to self-isolate; 
     - are denied travel after failing a pre travel assessment by your travel     carrier.
  • Medical benefits overseas:
    Your travel insurance will cover you for emergency medical claims when you travel overseas or on a UK cruise ship. This includes if you contract COVID-19 while you’re overseas, provided you’ve travelled to a country the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises it’s safe to travel to.
  • COVID-19 pandemic test (PCR/lateral flow):
    We’ll only cover COVID-19 pandemic tests when they’re advised by a medical practitioner.
  • Emergency evacuation or repatriation:
    Costs if you can’t get the treatment you need for COVID-19 while on your overseas trip.

What’s not covered

  • Travel to a country the FCDO advised against travelling to or essential travel only:
    We won’t provide medical cover while you’re overseas if there is FCDO advice in place at the point you enter a country or region.
  • Cancellation or cutting short your trip due to COVID-19:
    We don’t provide cover for cancellation or cutting short your trip if the reason for this is due to:
    • any government restriction (including lockdown);
    • advice against travel due to the pandemic;
    • your disinclination to travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • the FCDO advice changing after you’ve booked your trip (example – destination changes to red list);
    • compulsory quarantine on your arrival at your destination or on your return to your home area.
  • Cancellation costs due to tests or documentation requirements:
    If you can’t provide the required government tests and/or documentation required to travel e.g. a negative test result.
  • COVID-19 pandemic test (PCR/lateral flow).
    If the test is a routine, mandated or a random test to check for COVID-19, then there is no cover.

We’re here to support you and have created this information to help you with any travel concerns in these unprecedented times.

Travel advice is still changing frequently.  So, if you’re planning a trip – please keep up to date with the very latest travel advice.  This guidance is constantly reviewed so please keep checking right up to your departure date.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO) provides guidance on risks overseas and constantly reviews their advice. For some countries and territories, the FCDO continues to advise against all non-essential international travel.  Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check the FCDO’s travel guidance for more information before you travel or book a trip. You should check the entry rules for the country you’re going to, to find out: 

  • if the country you want to go to will allow you entry;
  • what advice the FCDO gives for the destination you plan to travel to;
  • what the FCDO advice is for foreign travel for all the countries you will visit or travel through;
  • what the advice is on the requirements for returning to the UK.

If you’re currently abroad, we recommend you keep up to date with changes from the FCDO or the Government.  You can do this by: 

  1. Keeping up-to-date with the FCDO and Government’s travel advice pages.
  2. Following  real-time updates from the FCDO's, embassy or high commission’s social media for the country you're in.
  3. Contacting your airline or travel company in the event of any changes.

The Government provides advice on UK and international travel including what quarantine/isolation rules you must follow when returning from overseas. Please check the government website for the latest rules on whether you need to quarantine or self-isolate and what tests you may need to take when you return.

Buying or cancelling your travel cover? What you need to know

We recommend that you buy your policy when you book your trip.

It’s important you check the insurance policy your tour operator, airline or destination provides, to make sure it covers everything you need. In some cases, it will only provide limited cover if you contract COVID-19 while on your trip. Therefore, if you require cover for other issues, such as medical incidents abroad not relating to COVID-19, lost baggage, travel disruption etc. you’re likely to still need a traditional insurance policy.

We offered this option earlier in the pandemic when there were fewer overseas travel options available. However, now international travel is possible this option is no longer available and usual terms apply.

Planning a UK cruise?

UK cruises will have cover for emergency medical treatment while you’re onboard the ship. If you need additional treatment on returning to the UK, you’ll need to have this on the NHS.

If you’re asked for proof of your cover, please find attached a PDF for you to print out and share with your cruise provider ahead of your cruise.  (attached PDF confirming details of the cover provided)

If you have any questions about what’s covered for UK cruises, please contact us on 01892 504444.

What cover is available for cancellation

You’re covered for cancellation if you, someone you’re travelling with or a close relative contracts the COVID-19 virus and/or if you or someone you’re travelling with has to quarantine because you/they have been exposed to the COVID-19 illness. You must have been advised by a medical professional, NHS track and trace, or another public health board that you shouldn’t travel.

We don’t cover cancellation of trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For any cancellation claims for overseas bookings, you should first ask your airline or travel provider to postpone your trip or arrange a refund. If you’ve booked a package holiday, under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018, your rights are legally protected and therefore you should liaise with the tour operator for a refund.

If your flights were not booked as part of a package, you’re still legally entitled to a full refund under the EU Denied Boarding regulations if your transport was cancelled, and therefore you should liaise with your airline for a refund.

We don’t cover cancellation of trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You need to discuss your options with your travel provider as your contract of payment is with them.

We don’t pay for cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

If you don’t want to go on your trip you should in the first instance speak to your travel company and/or airline.  They will often be able to rearrange your trip and may be able to refund you.

We don’t cover cancellations due to a local or national lockdown either in the UK or where you’re due to travel to.

If you’ve renewed or joined since 1 April 2021 you won’t be covered for cancellations caused by not meeting any recommended vaccine requirements before your trip.

If you haven’t renewed since 1 April 2021 and your trip was booked before the vaccination became a requirement for you to travel, then you’d have full cancellation cover. If this was a known requirement when your trip was booked, you’ll have no cover for cancellation.

  1. First, call your Travel provider, tour operator or airline for a refund.
    You should be entitled to a full refund from your travel provider or tour operator. They may be able to move your trip to different dates or provide you with a refund.
  2. If you’re unable to claim a refund from your travel provider call us on 01892 504444 and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your cover.

The time it takes for us to resolve your claim will depend on the nature of the claim and the information we need to process it. Please provide us with as much information from the outset so that we can deal with your claim in a timely fashion.

What cover is available if I need to quarantine or go into lockdown?

You won’t be covered for any expenses related to a lockdown.

All our policies will cover for emergency medical claims related to COVID-19 pandemic, so if you’ve tested positive and have to quarantine, then this would be treated as a medical claim.

If you’re confined to your hotel under doctor’s orders for at least 72 hours, we’ll pay for the room, up to the policy limit. And if you paid, at least 24 hours before you departed, for excursions or activities that you can’t do because you’ve had to quarantine because you’re ill with COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19 we’ll pay for the activity, up to the policy limit.

If your airline or travel provider can’t book you on a later flight, we’ll cover an alternate flight.

No, your travel policy doesn’t cover you should you be required to quarantine in a government provided hotel on your return to the UK. Your travel insurance is there to provide cover while you’re on your overseas trip.

What cover is available if I need to cut my trip short?

Our policies don’t cover you to cut short a trip due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions about your return journey you should contact your travel provider or airline.

What cover is available if I am delayed, need to extend my stay or my travel provider becomes insolvent.

There’s an extended delay benefit which can be used in the event your flight, train or ferry service is delayed. This can be used towards reasonable accommodation and public transport travel expenses you need to make due to the delay.

If you booked a package holiday, you should contact your travel provider to arrange alternative transport. If you’re an independent traveller, you should contact your airline to reschedule your flight or arrange a refund. You may be able to claim on your travel insurance to recover some of the costs you incur (for instance, if you need to extend your accommodation to your new departure date), but your cover will depend on your policy, its limits, and the refund from your providers. 

If you need urgent consular help, contact your nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate or contact the FCDO's consular assistance helpline on 020 7008 1500.

Further information can be found by checking the FCDO travel guidance pages on COVID-19 pandemic and waiting to return to the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re due to go on a package holiday or already on holiday, then your booking should be financially protected by a scheme such as ATOL. You should have been given an ATOL certificate (or similar) when you booked your holiday, which includes details of what to do if the company goes into liquidation.  Please visit the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) website for guidance.

If you only booked flights, these may also be protected by a system such as ATOL, although it’s less common. If you do have protection, you’d have been given a certificate (or similar) when you booked your flights, which includes details of what to do if the company goes into liquidation.

If you purchased some or all of your flights or booked your accommodation separately using a credit card, you may be able to arrange a refund from your credit card provider. 

We provide a travel disruption benefit, the amount varies depending on your plan, but this will cover you for travel and accommodation expense that aren’t recoverable from another provider.

As long as you’re planning to return within the maximum trip length allowed on your plan, you’ll have cover. If you choose to remain overseas, and due to this, go over your trip length you’ll invalidate your cover.