P J Hayman & Company Ltd
Travel Insurance & Scheme Specialists

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Coronavirus Travel Advice Update

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Coronavirus Travel Advice Update

By on Apr 6, 2020 in P J Hayman Update |

Please read the update on COVID-19 from our Director, Peter Hayman.

Following the continued and updated news reports regarding the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China, we would like to extend our sympathies to those who have been affected, clarify what cover may be available and provide information about the best steps to take.

As of the 6th April, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office extended their advice that all British people should avoid all non-essential international travel.

Opening Hours – due to the social isolation measures put in place by the UK government, we are now operating remotely, maintaining full availability from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. We will endeavour to maintain the same high level of service to you even during these challenging times.

We have prepared some FAQs to guide you through some of the questions and concerns you may have related to your travel insurance:

Am I insured if I travel against the advice if the FCO?

The majority of policies will not provide cover if you decide to travel against the advice of the FCO. This would be for ‘All Travel’ and ‘All but Essential Travel’. If the area is classified as ‘All but Essential Travel’ and customers are still planning to go they must contact us in advance with their reasons for travel and cover must be agreed by the Underwriters. 

What classes as essential travel (FCO)?

The FCO does not have a definition of what they class as ‘Essential Travel’. The FCO website states ‘Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to. Circumstances differ from person to person. Only you can make an informed decision based on the risks’.

The majority of policies will only cover ‘all but essential travel’ if customers have contacted us with their reasons for travel and cover has been agreed by the Underwriters.

Will my policy cover medical treatment for the Coronavirus? And will repatriation be covered?

If emergency medical costs are covered on your policy and you catch Coronavirus or require medical treatment, then yes cover will be in place for emergency and necessary treatment. Customers should be aware that our policies are travel insurance policies and not private medical insurance meaning that there is no cover for any medical expenses incurred in private medical facilities if we have confirmed that medically capable public facilities are available.

Please contact the Medical Emergency Assistance Team when required – the contact details will be available on your policy wording.

Your policies may provide cover for repatriation (bringing you home) when it is medically necessary. If so, the Assistance Team will liaise with your treating doctor(s) about your treatment plan and if required obtain a ‘fit to fly’ certificate. We also liaise with you and advise on, and put in place suitable repatriation plans to get you home as soon as it is medically safe to do so in order to achieve your optimal recovery. Our team are unable to make arrangements to repatriate you where it is against local advice, where travel is restricted or where you would pose a risk to other passengers.

Am I covered for cancellation due to the Coronavirus?

This type of event is usually not covered across the travel insurance industry for cancellation. This is because most policies have specific reasons for cancellation and the “fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction” is not one of those reasons.

We would advise travelers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cancel their trip or amend their travel plans to contact their travel agent or tour operator in the first instance.

If I am quarantined due to the Coronavirus, what cover is in place?

If you are admitted to hospital your policy will usually provide assistance with returning home when you have been discharged.

If you are admitted to hospital please contact the Medical Emergency Assistance Team – the contact details will be available on your policy wording.

If you are confined to your trip accommodation your policy may contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. Check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

What happens if I arrive at my holiday destination and they refuse entry due to the virus?

If you travel to an area which the FCO advise against travel to, there would be no cover under the travel insurance policies as this would be considered as a known event.

If you travel to an area and the FCO advice changes after leaving home, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator for information on the availability of flights or refunds in the first instance.

If you are refused entry at passport/border control, you should contact your airline or transport provider to arrange changing your return ticket to allow you to come home early.

Will I be covered if I want to cut my trip short due to the Coronavirus?

This type of event is usually not covered across the travel insurance industry for cutting short a trip. This is because most policies have specific reasons for cutting short your trip and the “fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction” is not one of those reasons.

We would advise travelers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cut a trip short they should contact their travel agent or tour operator for information on availability of flights in the first instance.

If you are travelling independently from a tour operator or travel agent, you should make your own arrangements to leave by either altering return tickets where possible, or booking onto an alternative commercial flight or mode of transport. Claims for independent traveler’s additional expenses in returning home earlier than planned, where medically justified, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Your policy may provide cover for cutting short a trip due to changes in FCO advice. Check your policy wording for more information on this.

Am I covered for travel disruption caused by the Coronavirus?

If you are unable to return home on your planned date your policy may contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, it may also include the additional costs of getting home

If I go out on an excursion for the day and then am not allowed back to my travel accommodation (or cruise ship) due to quarantine, what cover do I have?

You should follow any instructions issued by the local authorities as it is more than likely that you will have to enter some form of quarantine.

Travelers should contact their travel agent or tour operator for assistance in the first instance.

Your policy may contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. Check your policy wording for more information on this.

Can I cancel my current policy and take a new policy which has cover for change in FCO advice?

Yes, however you should be aware that there will be no cover if the FCO has already issued a directive to the area you are travelling to. Your new policy will only cover you for events and restrictions in areas that occur after the date you paid for your policy and may have different terms, conditions and premiums applied.

If I have a stop-over in an area which the FCO advices against travel to, am I still covered?

We would suggest that if you have not started that part of your journey you contact your airline to change your travel plans to move on to the next part of your itinerary.

If you arrive at your stop-over airport and entry is denied due to the virus you should contact your airline to change your travel plans to move on to the next part of your itinerary.

Update from UK Foreign Travel, as of Tuesday 17th March:

  • The FCO advise British nationals against all but essential international travel.

If you are in a country affected by travel restrictions

  • You must follow the advice of the local authorities.
  • Limit your movements to those necessary to return to the place where you live.
  • If you wish to leave the country you are in, contact your airline or travel company and your insurance provider as soon as you are able, and keep up to date with the latest developments.
  • Call the local emergency number if you believe you have symptoms. English speaking operators may be available.

If you are quarantined while you are abroad

  • If the local authority where you are proposes to quarantine you for your own protection, you should follow their advice.
  • If there are suspected cases of coronavirus where you are, you may need to remain in your hotel room or accommodation for 14 days, move to quarantine facilities, take tests for coronavirus and, if positive in some cases, be hospitalised abroad.
  • You should also contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you can. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Our general advice to policy-holders at this time is:

  • To take guidance as provided by the FCO and adhere to its advice.
  • See the latest information and advice for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus from the Department of Health and Social Care
  • To not travel contrary to any travel restrictions as may be advised by any government or public/health authority.
  • To speak with your travel provider regarding any possible change(s) to your travel itinerary.
  • To continue to monitor any further advice as may be provided.
  • The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has also produced general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how individuals can help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

More information about travel and the Coronavirus:

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as they become available.

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