I have all your travel insurance questions answered below, as well as some top tips to make sure you are adequately covered for future travel plans.
Before you think of booking or cancelling a holiday due to coronavirus, you should check the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs website. They ultimately decide against non-essential travel to a particular region (FCO website in Northern Ireland and UK ). All airlines, travel agencies and travel insurance companies use the advice of the DFA before making any decisions about whether to cancel or alter flights, or allow refunds to be authorised. If the DFA advise against travel to a specific country or region, flights should be cancelled.
I also recommend downloading the Travelwise app. You can set alerts for the destination you are travelling to, and you will receive notifications if there are any status updates.
I have received numerous emails and messages from travellers asking what travel insurance covers in relation to coronavirus. I decided to ask Ciaran Mulligan, Managing Director of Blue Insurance and Multitrip.com to answer your questions. Of course, all insurance policies are different and these answers will not apply to every individual case, but hopefully most of your questions are answered below.
Note: This post is published on 11th of March 2020. Answers are correct as of today, but cover can change at any time and it is important to check your own individual policy to confirm cover.
If the Department of Foreign Affairs announces advises against non-essential travel to a particular country or destination, will my travel insurance cover me for cancellation?
If you have Government Travel Advice on your policy – standard with Blue Insurance policy booked via a travel agency and blueinsurance.ie, yes you will be covered for cancellation. Note this cover only comes into effect 14 days prior to departure. Premier Cover has a limit of €500 per person and Premier Plus has €750 per person. Note: new bookings will NOT be covered against Covid-19 after midnight 16th March.
If you have Travel Disruption added to your policy this will increase to €1000 per person. Insured persons who have premier plus cover with Travel Agents selling Blue Insurance, will have Travel Disruption included automatically. Travel Disruption is also available at Multitrip.com
What happens if my holiday cost €2000 per person – will I get all my money back?
No. The level of cancellation cover varies from €500 – €1000 per person, depending on the type of policy you have.
If I am due to travel to Italy in May, can I cancel now and get a refund?
No. You must wait until 14 days before departure to see if the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advisory is still in place. However, many airlines and cruise lines are waiving change fees, so it may be possible to postpone your trip to a later time. Some hotels have small cancellation fees, so you may find all is not lost, should you decide to cancel.
If I have booked to go to a sporting event or concert that has been cancelled, will I be reimbursed for my concert tickets?
If you have tickets booked to a sporting event which is cancelled, but there is no advisory against non-essential travel in place, then you would not be covered for cancellation of your holiday. Example: The Ireland-France rugby match is cancelled, but flights are still operating to Paris, so no refund of flights, hotels etc, would be given.
If I have booked flights and a non-refundable hotel, and the airline changes or cancels my flights, will my travel insurance cover me for the hotel cost?
This will only be covered if you have Travel Disruption cover added to your policy and the Department of Foreign Affairs advise against ‘all but essential travel’ to your destination.
Is it too late to take out travel insurance now?
No. Travel insurance can be taken out at any time, however a 7 day moratorium will be in place. If you are due to travel on holidays during the summer months and you book insurance now, it will come into effect in seven days time. Note: new bookings will NOT be covered against Covid-19 from midnight 16th March.
If I contract Covid-19 while I am away, am I covered for medical expenses and repatriation?
Yes. However, if you are travelling to a country where there is a travel advisory against non-essential travel, you would not be covered.
If I make a claim, how long will it take me to get my money back?
At the moment claims are averaging a three to four week turnaround. It is important to note that you need to apply for refunds from your travel agent, airline or hotel before submitting a travel insurance claim. Claims will only be dealt with once all other avenues have been tried.
Listen to the podcast here:
Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.