Can a member claim on their Worldwide Travel Cover for medical expenses, cancellations or disruption as a result of Covid-19?
Our plan does not cover cancellations for events that could be foreseen at the time of the booking. We continue to advise our members that bookings made on or after 17 March 2020 will not be covered for cancellation or disruption caused by Covid-19.
In addition, the Worldwide Travel Cover plan does not provide cover for travel to any destination to which the UK government is advising against all travel, or all but essential travel. However, providing the UK government is not advising against travel to your destination, then you will be covered for emergency medical expenses abroad, including if you are hospitalised as a result of Covid-19.
If a member takes out Worldwide Travel Cover now, will they be covered?
Worldwide Travel Cover is available for new and renewing plans, and Emergency Overseas Medical Expenses Cover is available for new and renewing Business and Corporate Healthcare plans. For new plans, and new joiners to existing plans, there will be no cover under the ‘cancelling your trip or cutting it short’ benefit of the Worldwide Travel Cover plan if the reason for the claim is connected to COVID-19. However, for members joining us on switch terms who had travel insurance with their previous insurer, we will cover them under this benefit if they booked their trip before 17 March 2020.
If your clients have Vitality Worldwide Travel Cover:
Are my clients covered for overseas medical expenses as a result of Coronavirus?
Given the current situation, my clients no longer want to go on their trip, even if the FCDO advice changes to allow travel to the destination. If they cancel now can they claim on their travel insurance?
No. Your clients travel insurance is designed to cover them for the cost of their trip if they can’t take it in a number of specific situations, including if the FCDO advise against travel to their destination. If, at the time of the departure, the FCDO are not advising against travel to the destination but your clients have changed their mind about going, they can’t make a claim.
My client has booked a non-refundable flight or holiday. Does that mean they are not entitled to a refund from their travel provider if they cancel the trip?
My client is having problems getting a refund for accommodation the provider has cancelled or been unable to provide. My client is entitled to a full refund from them. What can they do?
- Chargeback scheme: This is a voluntary scheme that applies to purchases on debit and credit cards. Your clients can contact their bank and ask them to intervene with the travel provider on their behalf.
- Consumer Credit Act: Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, a credit card company is jointly liable, with the vendor, for the provision of the goods and services your clients have purchased. This applies to purchases between £100 and £30,000. If the travel provider doesn’t give your clients a full refund, they can apply for one from their credit card provider. This only applies to credit card payments and not debit cards.
My clients began their trip before the FCDO advised against travel to their destination, but their trip was planned to last for weeks. Are they still covered?
If the FCDO advice is to return to the UK as soon as possible, we would expect your clients to make arrangements to cut short their trip. Your clients should apply to their airline provider to arrange an earlier flight back to the UK. If there is a difference in cost between the flight they had originally booked and the earlier flight of the same fare type back to the UK, they should register a claim with us.
If your clients are having difficulty returning to the UK, they can contact us so we can advise what they are covered for. If the FCDO advice is to return as soon as possible, and they make no attempt to return, your clients won’t be covered under their plan.
My clients booked their trip before the FCDO advice was issued. Initially they only paid the deposit, but the accommodation provider are now asking for the balance. If my clients pay and the holiday needs to be cancelled later, can they claim on the Worldwide Travel Cover plan?
My clients' flight out of the UK is cancelled, can they claim on their Worldwide Travel Cover for the cost of connecting flights from one international destination to another?
My clients have paid for flights or accommodation which they can no longer use. Should they get a refund from the provider? If not, can they claim on their travel insurance?
Your clients should contact the provider to see if the flight is going ahead and/or the accommodation is still available. If not, then – in the vast majority of cases – the provider will be obliged to offer your clients a full refund. Some travel providers have been offering vouchers instead of a full refund. Your clients are not obliged to accept this and can insist on a full refund. Your clients can’t claim on their Worldwide Travel plan when the provider of the flight and/or accommodation is obliged to refund them.
If the FCDO is now advising against travel to the destination, but the flight has not been cancelled, or the accommodation is still available and the provider is unwilling to give a refund, your clients can register a claim with us.
My clients made a successful claim on their Worldwide Travel plan, and now the travel provider has been in touch to offer them a refund. Can they accept?
Under the cancellation and curtailment section of their Worldwide Travel plan, your clients are only entitled to recover the losses they incurred. If the travel provider compensates your client in part or in full, we will deduct that compensation from the amount we pay them. If we pay a claim under the cancellation and curtailment benefit on the plan, we reserve the right to recover costs from your client's provider.
If your clients receive a refund from their travel provider after we have made a payment to them, they should get in touch with us as they may need to return some of the money.