COVID-19 & Travel

The questions to ask your insurance company or broker about travel cancellations or future travel plans

We and our insurance partners know that this is an incredibly difficult time for you. 

You’re working hard trying to get through every day, probably with work, home schooling and caring responsibilities on your to-do list. It can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to help with all your insurance worries.    

If you had a holiday booked, or are worried about future travel plans, now’s the time to speak with your insurer or broker. 

Here are a few questions you need to ask so you feel confident with cancellations and future travel plans.  

What should I do about travelling?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now advised against all but essential travel. 

This unprecedented step provides welcome clarity for customers and the insurance industry.  Now, generally, insurance cancellation or travel disruption will relate to FCO advice. This decision will allow many (or the majority of) policyholders with cancellation or travel disruption cover in place to claim for cancelled trips that were already booked and cannot now go ahead. 

Will my travel insurance cover me if I go to an affected region?

If you travel against government advice, then you may invalidate your travel insurance. This means your insurance will not cover you or your belongings while you’re away. 

If you bought insurance before the FCO changed its advice, then you might be covered but you’ll need to check with your insurance provider. 

What is ‘essential’ travel?

If you are not sure if your trip is classified as essential travel, check with your insurer or broker. If you don’t check and go anyway, you may find that your insurance is invalidated. A holiday is not essential (though it feels like it is right now!) 

Will my travel insurance cover me if I have to self-isolate and can’t travel?

Travel insurers understand that if you’re self-isolating in line with government and World Health Organisation advice then you may not be able to travel. If you have cancellation cover within your travel insurance, insurers will consider a cancellation claim if you can prove that you need to self-isolate.

If you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, has used the 111 online coronavirus service or has been told by a healthcare professional that they have coronavirus symptoms, you could get an isolation note from the NHS websiteYour insurer will let you know if this is acceptable to them, or if they will need to see other paperwork instead. 

If I cancel my travel plans can I claim any cancellation costs on my travel insurance?

That depends on why you cancel. 

If you or a member of your family has been given medical advice not to travel, or there’s government advice against travelling to your destination, travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, in specific circumstances. 

If the FCO hasn’t advised against travel to a region, and you are feeling well and just decide not to go, this will be classed as “disinclination to travel” and won’t be covered by travel insurance providers.

I have travel booked later this year. Can I still go?

At the moment, the FCO is advising against all but essential travel. Here’s the official advice at of the time of writing (31/03/20): 

“As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

If you’ve booked a trip, all you can do is wait and see if and when this restriction is lifted, and then check your specific destination for any further information. You can sign up for FCO updates on specific destinations.  

Can I reschedule a trip to a later date? 

If there’s no specific FCO advice about your destination once the travel ban is lifted, you could talk to your airline or travel agent about rescheduling your trip to a later date. This is a particularly good idea if you have a pre-existing condition. Remember: if you change your dates and/or where you’re travelling to, then you must update your insurance policy accordingly.

I have already booked my holiday and paid the deposit. Should I pay the balance?  

Depending on how much money is left to pay on your balance, it might be worth considering cancelling your holiday, losing the deposit (which may be similar to your excess 

anyway) and re-booking when circumstances have changed. If you pay your balance, FCO advice allows travel and you choose not to go, you will lose all of your money.  

If I am abroad and the Government advice is to return home, will my travel insurer cover any additional costs I incur in getting back to the UK?

This is happening now as the FCO’s latest advice (as of 31.03.20) says: 

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

If you’re in this situation, your travel insurance policy may cover some out-of-pocket losses. It may also offer financial help to leave the area if you’re unable to get assistance from any other source. If you’d like more information on this, please get in touch on

What happens if I’m quarantined overseas? 

If you have to be quarantined while abroad, you should be covered by your insurance policy which should include any relevant medical expenses. Your insurer may consider covering additional travel expenses at the end of the quarantined period to allow you to return home.  

If you are unable to return to the UK on the date you expected, talk to your insurer about extending your insurance.  

What changes have been made to travel insurance recently? 

Some providers have restricted cancellation and travel disruption cover in policies bought after coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020

Some have also stopped offering cover for certain countries, including Italy, China, France and Spain.

It’s likely that, going forward, different insurance providers will take different approaches – for example, medical cover may be still valid in some policies, but there may be restrictions regarding cancellation cover. 

What can I do to protect myself when booking future holidays?

Comprehensive travel insurance is a must when planning holidays.  

Look for a policy with disruption cover to reimburse costs associated with delays and protect you in the unfortunate event that you end up in quarantine. If you’d like some support with this, please get in touch on

How can Condor Private Clients help me? 

We offer annual travel cover, for you and all the family who live in your home. 

Depending on the insurer and policy, this will either be included within your household insurance policy or we are able to combine this with your policy as an optional service. 

Annual cover means you’re always covered for planned holidays, spontaneous long weekends away and those last-minute skiing trips. As we’ve seen recently, it’s no longer a wise idea to leave booking travel insurance until the week before you go. Securing insurance should be a priority the moment you book your trip, as anything can happen between the point of booking and when you go. Travel insurance will cover you for anything that might go wrong before you go, including cancellation, so not having it in place immediately after booking is an unnecessary risk. 

Do I need travel insurance if I am insured through my bank or credit card?

Many bank accounts which charge a monthly fee have additional benefits such as travel insurance. If you think you have this insurance, please check your account terms to gauge if the policy is appropriate for your needs. If you’d like to ask our advice on this, please get in touch on

Bank account travel insurance is often confused with a credit card benefit called “travel accident insurance” which only covers accidents on a train, on a plane or in a hire car which was paid for on the credit card. This means you’re not covered for anything that goes wrong before you go on holiday, or a range of other scenarios.  

If in doubt, please get in touch on and we can make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance which will keep you and your family safe. 

What should my insurance company or broker be doing now?   

Here’s what our trusted insurance companies are doing to help our clients right now: 

  1. Ensuring clients are provided with, or directed to, the most up-to-date information around the coronavirus outbreak. 
  2. Publishing clear information at the point-of-sale around the valid coverage of their policies.
  3. Considering all valid travel insurance claims quickly and fairly for costs not recoverable from elsewhere arising from cancellation, travel curtailment or disruption, so that customers receive a fair outcome. 
  4. Be understanding of the difficulties clients may have in getting medical certification and consider, where appropriate, alternative evidence that customers may be able to provide.
  5. Being patient and kind – it’s a stressful time and we need to look after each other.

Posted 25th June 2020

Condor Insurance