Take out travel insurance when booking the trip
It’s best to buy travel insurance at the same time as booking a holiday. This will ensure that cancellation cover starts straight away.
Travel insurance that reflects the realities of Covid will provide extra cover such as:
- cancellation cover if the policyholder or someone else in the party tests positive within 14 days of the departure date
- cancellation cover if a loved one dies of Covid ahead of the departure date
- cancellation cover if the policyholder misses a flight because the results of a required Covid test are not returned in time
- curtailment cover if the policyholder is not allowed entry into the destination country because of a failed test
- curtailment cover if the policyholder is required to enter quarantine while away.
When reviewing what is on offer from various policies, it can be helpful to look for sections of the policy documents or ‘key features’ literature that set out the extent of cover for Covid-related risks and choose accordingly. Pay attention to any exclusions that apply, to be more informed on what to expect.
Many insurers have, say, three levels of cover, which might be presented as Bronze, Silver and Gold, and priced accordingly. A Bronze policy might, for example, provide cancellation cover up to £2,000, while the Gold version might go up to £5,000.
It can help to balance the required premium against the amount of cover needed.
Check the FCDO’s travel guidelines
A travel insurer is unlikely to cover trip cancellation if the FCDO changes its advice on travel to the holiday destination, if an airline or travel company postpones the trip without offering a refund, or if a local or national lockdown prevents the holiday from going ahead.
Policyholders cannot claim for cancellation if they simply don’t want to travel (called ‘disinclination to travel’).
If a flight is cancelled the airline should offer a full refund or an alternative departure date. If it offers vouchers instead of a refund, some travel insurers will not pay out.
Check for Covid restrictions after arrival
While most Covid restrictions have been dropped for UK travellers, check whether any rules apply when you get there.
For example, access to shops, restaurants, venues and facilities may be restricted to those who are fully vaccinated (in some cases, including a booster jab) or travellers may need to show proof of a recent negative test. Travellers should find out in advance according to their vaccination status.