A growing number of travel insurers are withdrawing cover for future claims made because of coronavirus.
Aviva, InsureandGo, LV= and Post Office Travel Insurance have now all said that future travel insurance policies will not provide cover for COVID-19, after the World Health Organisation declared it to be a pandemic this week.
Since the first cases of coronavirus were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the disease has spread across the world with more than 120,000 confirmed cases so far.
Yesterday President Donald Trump said that a 30-day travel ban would be imposed on 26 EU countries – not including the UK or Ireland – meaning vistors could not enter the US.
The rapidly developing crisis has seen a number of high profile celebrities including Hollywood star Tom Hanks, politicians and sports stars test positive for coronavirus.
The crisis has caused chaos across the global travel sector, with business and leisure trips cancelled, curtailed or rerouted.
The worldwide cruise industry is in turmoil and consumers with trips and holidays booked on ships have been advised to make other plans.
LV= said in a statement that it had made the “difficult” decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers only after it had considered a number of different options, such as excluding cover or “significantly” increasing prices for new customers.
It said: “We strongly believe this temporary measure of pausing the sale of new policies and focusing on our existing customers is the right decision.
“There’s no change for existing customers who already have a policy with us. You can contact us in the normal way if you need to make a claim, and we’re still offering renewals to our existing customers.
“We remain committed to the travel insurance market and this is only a temporary move given the exceptional circumstances. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Aviva said in a statement that “generally speaking”, if a consumer had bought a policy without the optional travel disruption add-on, they would not be covered if they choose to cancel their trip or return earlier than planned due to coronavirus.
It said: “Similarly, if you bought your policy with the optional travel disruption add-on – or you added this to your policy – after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against travel to your destination, you would not be covered under these circumstances.”
Aviva said that it would always look at each circumstance “on its own merits”.
It said: “If customers have any specific concerns about their situation, we would recommend they contact us directly.”
InsureandGo, which is underwritten by Spain’s MAPFRE ASISTENCIA, said policies will no longer provide cover for claims relating to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) or any mutation of these.
Post Office Travel Insurance, which is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch, and administered by Collinson Insurance Services, said that that no cover will be provided if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all but essential travel to a consumer’s destination prior to them purchasing their policy.
In a statement, it said: “Any policy add on such as Extended Travel Disruption [ERGO policies] or Natural Catastrophe and Terrorism, Enhanced Trip Disruption [Collinson policies] will not include cover for claims relating to coronavirus/Covid-19 if purchased from or after 11 March 2020.”
It added: “Our policies do not provide any cover for customers who travel to countries or areas where the FCO have advised limited or no travel. Where possible you should try to avoid travel to these areas. We will not sell travel insurance policies to customers who state that they intend to travel to China or Italy; this will be in force until further notice.”
Bupa Travel Insurance said: “Policies do not cover any travel to areas where the FCO advises against all, or all but essential travel to.
“Our policies do provide cover for cancellation and curtailment where FCO advice has changed after you purchased your policy or booked your trip, whichever is the later.”