Coronavirus is causing mass concern for holidaymakers booked to travel in the coming weeks. With more and more countries reporting cases of the virus and airports proving a “biohazard cauldron,” according to experts, is it safe to go away? An expert has shared his latest travel advice.
Travellers are urged being to take out travel insurance as soon as possible to best protect themselves from anything going wrong.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “With thousands of holidaymakers set to travel in the next few weeks, particularly in the run-up to Easter, people will no doubt be concerned about how their travel plans will be impacted by the ongoing concerns around coronavirus.
“As the situation is developing, we would advise anyone due to travel in the upcoming weeks to ensure they take out travel insurance if they haven’t already in case any further advice is issued against travel to other countries.”
It is also well worth contacting your airline or travel agent if you’re concerned.
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Boland said: “If you are concerned about travel to a country where FCO advice has not been issued, speak to your travel agent or airline as some are offering the chance to rebook for a later date.
“Your insurer may also allow you to cancel depending on specific circumstances, such as if you have a pre-existing medical condition.”
Holidaymakers do need to be careful when it comes to travel insurance at this time, however.
Not all policies will cover cancellation for an epidemic.
Stuart Lloyd, Travel Insurance Expert at Columbus Direct, advised: “The FCO has recently updated its travel advice regarding Italy, advising against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy and one in Veneto.
“As the updates on various countries are likely to be constantly amended, we’d recommend checking the travel advice concerning the particular country you are planning to visit, as well as checking in with your transport and accommodation provider.
“If anyone is looking to cancel a trip, make sure you review your travel insurance policy as most, but not all of them, will cover cancellation for an epidemic or due to FCO advice.”
So, what do you need to look out for when examining your travel insurance policy?
“If there is no mention of epidemics or reference to the FCO included within the list of things that are covered under cancellation, then there is a good chance that any losses from not travelling will not be covered by the policy,” explained Lloyd.
“Unfortunately, choosing not to go on holiday due to fear of contracting Coronavirus or any other illness, is not something that your travel insurance would provide cover for.
“So, if you are due to travel to a country or region that the FCO has not advised against travelling to, but cancel the trip anyway, this will definitely not be covered.”
If you are confused, always contact the relevant companies as well as your insurer.
“If you’re unsure, check your travel insurer’s website to see if they have added some FAQs about the cover provided,” said Lloyd. “Alternatively, contact the travel insurance provider for more information.
“It is worth remembering that you should also reach out to your travel agent, tour operators, airlines, holiday accommodation providers etc. in the first instance, to see what costs you can recover.
“Many companies, especially where the holiday is sold under an ATOL Licence, will have a duty of care to the customer to return costs or to reschedule/reroute the trip.
“If holidaymakers decide to go ahead with their trips, as long as these are to areas that the FCO has not advised against travelling to, their medical costs will be covered and assistance will be provided if they are diagnosed with the virus while travelling.”