Coronavirus and Travel Insurance

The following advice was published by the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) in the last few days. Please contact us if you have plans to travel to or through China and we will advise on the status of your cover.

The outbreak of Coronavirus in some regions 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.

This can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china.

Additional information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wuhan/-novel-coronaviris-and-avian-flu-advice-for-travel-to-china.

As at 29 January 2020 present, the FCO is advising against ‘all but essential travel’ to China.

From a travel insurance perspective, we expect that consumers who had purchased travel insurance and travelled before the FCO issued its advice on 29 January will be covered while in China (including in Hubei province if they travelled there before the original advice issued on 23 January). Travel insurance 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.

Most travel insurers offer a 24-hour emergency medical advice hotline and travellers who feel they might have been affected by this event are encouraged to call their insurers for help.

For consumers who had purchased travel insurance before 29 January and had booked travel that included visiting or passing China, we would expect that they will be covered for any unused travel and accommodation costs if they are forced to cancel their trip and any necessary extra travel costs if they have to cut their trip short.

For people intending to travel to China after 29 January, insurers are now excluding cover since the FCO is advising against travel. This is a standard response.

Concerned consumers 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.

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