The outbreak of Coronavirus. How does this affect travel insurance?
The outbreak of Coronavirus in parts of China is a rapidly developing situation and we would strongly advise anyone travelling to the country to look at the guidance issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is updated on a regular basis.
The Foreign Office is warning against all but essential travel to mainland China.
Anyone planning to travel to, or is in China, should check and follow government advice link www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china
British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Anyone travelling to a country or region against government advice risks invalidating their travel insurance.
From a travel insurance perspective the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) link https://www.biba.org.uk/latest-news/travel-insurance-and-coronavirus/ has advised they expect consumers who had purchased travel insurance and travelled before the FCO issued its advice on 23rd January 2020 will be covered whilst in China.
Travel insurance usually includes medical expenses and so treatment costs for a traveller who becomes unwell in China should be covered up to the limit in the policy. This would include anyone who had visited or is presently in Wuhan city or Hubei province but not now for travel into the city or province from elsewhere in China.
For people travelling to Wuhan city or to Hubei province after 23rd January, insurers are now excluding cover since the FCO is advising against travel.
Concerned travellers who had booked their trip via a tour operator or travel agent or using a credit card may wish should contact them to see if they can get a refund or have their trip re-arranged.
If you travel against government advice then you are likely to invalidate your travel insurance.
All travel policies are different in terms of what a travel policy covers and what a policyholder can claim for. If you have any questions relating to your travel insurance please contact Real Insurance on 0330 058 0260.
This is a fast-moving story. Information correct at 29 January 2020.