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Coronavirus FAQ

If you’re a Holidaysafe customer who is concerned about the Novel Coronavirus, and how it may affect you or your travel plans, we’ve compiled your frequently asked questions into one handy place.

What’s the latest news?

Almost 10,000 people around the world have been infected with the virus novel coronavirus, with 213 dying as a result of the outbreak. The illness, which begins with a fever and a dry cough, can take up to 14 days to fully take hold, with severe cases leading to pneumonia and kidney failure.

The Chinese government has taken steps to limit its spread, including quarantining the city of origin, Wuhan, and placing travel restrictions on many other cities. Cases have been reported across much of South East Asia, and some small cases have been reported in Western countries.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed their travel advice for mainland China, advising against ‘all but essential travel’ to the entirety of mainland China, except for Hubei Province, where they advise ‘against all travel’. 

I’m worried about being affected- what steps can I take to avoid it?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. International health organisations are recommending improving everyday hygiene actions to prevent the spread if you believe you are at risk. These include catching any coughs or sneezes in a tissue and then throwing the tissue away, regular disinfecting of often-used surfaces and appliances, and use of hand sanitiser whenever possible.

If you are in a country affected by the virus, depending on population density and control of those affected, it may be worth wearing a surgical mask to protect you and others from spreading any germs. Do not use fabric or paper masks- these are not effective in catching your coughs and sneezes, and do not protect you well from others.

I’m in a country affected by the outbreak- will I still be covered if I’m affected by the virus?

Any customers who are currently in an affected country will be covered unless the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changes their travel advice for the particular country they are in, in which case if the FCO recommends leaving the area or country, you should contact your tour operator or flight provider to arrange a flight home. If you have to make your own arrangements, you might be covered under your travel insurance, so you should keep all receipts for your expenditure and submit a claim when you get home.

Providing the FCO advice does not change prior to travel and you are unlucky enough to contract Novel Coronavirus whilst you are away, you should contact the local medical authorities and follow their instructions, as they will be able to direct you to a public hospital that will be set up to provide optimal care and quarantine.  You should then contact tifgroup assistance so that we can liaise with the treating doctors. We would recommend that you avoid the ‘dangerous/infected’ areas and follow the published guidelines to minimise your risk of exposure.

I want to return home early- what can I do?

If you are considering returning to the UK earlier than originally planned as a result of the viral outbreak, please be aware that most policies have specific reasons for cutting short a trip, and the “the fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction”, is not usually one of the reasons.

If you have booked a package holiday to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and looking to cut your trip short, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator for information on availability of flights in the first instance.

If you are travelling independently from a tour operator or travel agent, you should make your own arrangements to leave by either altering your return tickets, where possible, or booking onto an alternative commercial flight. Claims for independent travellers’ additional expenses in returning home earlier, where medically justified, will be treated sympathetically.

I’m due to travel to an affected country and want to cancel my trip. What can I do?

Most policies will not cover cancelling the trip due to “the fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction”. This is because travel insurance policies only cover specific reasons for cancellation.

If you have booked the trip as part of a package holiday, you may be able to amend or cancel your trip via your travel provider. We recommend you look into this first and foremost if this is the case for you.

If you have a medical reason for cancelling your trip, such as an existing medical condition which you have told us about, that would make you more susceptible to infection, we may be able to help. Be sure to contact us as soon as possible to see what can be done.

Am I insured if I travel against the advice if the FCO?

What classes as essential travel (FCO)?

Will my policy cover medical treatment for the Coronavirus? And will repatriation be covered?

Am I covered for cancellation due to the Coronavirus?

 

If I am stuck abroad due to the Coronavirus and cannot come home on my planned return date, will my travel insurance be extended to cover me until I can get home?

If I am quarantined due to the Coronavirus, what cover is in place?

What happens if I arrive at my holiday destination and they refuse entry due to the virus?

Will I be covered if I want to cut my trip short due to the Coronavirus?

Am I covered for travel disruption caused by the Coronavirus?

If I go out on an excursion for the day and then am not allowed back to my travel accommodation (or cruise ship) due to quarantine, what cover do I have?

Can I cancel my current policy and take a new policy which has cover for change in FCO advice? 

If I have a stop-over in an area which the FCO advices against travel to, am I still covered?

Can my policy be changed to suit a ‘new/different’ holiday or trip?

What can I do with my policy if I am no longer travelling and have received a refund for my holiday?

Can I come into your office to discuss my claim?

Where can I get more information about travel and the Coronavirus?

If you have a medical reason for cancelling your trip, such as an existing medical condition which you have told us about, that would make you more susceptible to infection, we may be able to help. Be sure to contact us as soon as possible to see what can be done.

I have been able to amend my travel dates, will my policy still be valid?

If your travel agent or tour operator has offered you an alternative destination and/or different travel dates, we will be happy to amend your insurance policy to fit the new trip without any administration charges, providing the new trip is for the same duration and to the same location or geographical area. Please call the customer service team on 0333 999 2675 , and they will take you through the procedure.

If you have any questions regarding your travel insurance and the outbreak of novel coronavirus that have not been answered here, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Services team on 0333 999 2675, who will do all they can to help you.

We hope you aren’t affected by this outbreak, but if you are, we’re here to help.

The Holidaysafe Team 

Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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