The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses across the world in 2020, but the travel and tourism industry was certainly one of the most adversely affected. With borders closed, nationwide lockdowns imposed, and flights grounded, travel had all but stopped by the summer.
However, with a deeper understanding of the virus, new health and safety measures in place and vaccines being rolled out, travel and tourism have begun to resume this year.
While not everyone is ready to go abroad just yet, there are plenty of people out there who have seen quite enough of their own homes of late and are desperate to get away. If you’re one of the latter, you might be very excited to get your next holiday booked and in your diary.
But before you go, you must make sure that you have taken out the appropriate travel insurance, and in a post-Covid world, these policies will look a little different.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide. Below, we’re going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions and cover everything you need to know about travel insurance in a post-Covid world.
Do travel insurance companies actually cover pandemics?
For a long time, lots of insurance companies said that they wouldn’t cover pandemics, largely because this was not a situation they had really had to deal with in the recent past. However, since Covid-19 has become so widespread and the effects of the virus so serious – not to mention the fact that so many trips had to be cancelled – lots of insurers have changed their minds.
Nowadays, it is almost expected that you can get some sort of Covid cover written into your insurance policy. That being said, what the company do and don’t cover will vary, so you need to make sure that you choose the right policy before travelling.
Can I get cover for any destination I want?
In a bid to get people moving freely once again, there have been lots of different systems set up. This started with travel corridors; then in some places, there was the need to self isolate on arrival, then, of course, there was the traffic light systems of green, amber and red-listed countries.
However, this has now been simplified to a red and green list (in the UK anyway). So essentially, providing the country you want to travel to is on the green list, you should be able to get Covid cover on your insurance policy. If, however, you’re travelling into a red-listed country for some reason, you might need to look harder for an appropriate policy as not all companies will cover these destinations.
What do these policies cover?
As we said above, different companies will have different insurance policies and rules surrounding Covid-19. Most companies will offer to cover urgent medical care and repatriation should you fall ill with the virus while you’re away. However, not all policies will cover other Covid-related issues such as flight or hotel cancellations, so if you want this extra reassurance, you need to choose a company that offers this service.
What’s more, in lots of cases, these policies also don’t cover cancellations made by you if you’re simply concerned about your wellbeing and have changed your mind. For example, if the country you’ve chosen is still welcoming guests and your flights and hotels are all open and operating, you cannot cancel simply because you’ve had a change of heart. Well, you can, but you’re unlikely to get your money back.
And when it comes to self-isolating whilst away, that’s a whole different ball game. Some policies will cover you during the time you have to self-isolate when you arrive at your chosen destination (if you have to isolate, that is), and others won’t.
Essentially, it is vital that you choose your insurance policy carefully and always read the small print. It is also recommended that you choose a company that offers comprehensive Covid-19 cover if you’re concerned about your trip in any way. This way, you can make sure that you’re covered for every eventuality.
Will insurers demand vaccine passports or vaccine certification?
With ongoing discussions around Covid vaccine passports, those who have not been vaccinated might be concerned about whether or not they can travel and get insurance. While most travel insurance companies have not made vaccine passports mandatory yet, this could change in the future.
Essentially, this will all come down to the government of the country you’re visiting. For example, if the EU make vaccinations a requirement to holiday in any EU nation, insurance providers will have to impose these rules on their customers and request vaccine passports or documentation before setting up the policy.
Unfortunately, at the moment, it is a bit of a waiting game for both tourists and insurance companies with lots of nation’s and governing bodies ensure how to tackle the vaccine passport issue.
Do I need an insurance policy for a short trip or weekend away?
No matter what length of time you’re going away for, it is recommended that you take out travel insurance. And that is even truer in a post-Covid world. After all, the virus is not aware of time or location; you could catch it on a weekend getaway just as easily as you could on a three month round the world trip.
How do I find the right insurance policy?
Finally, at a time when it has never been more important to read the small print, it is understandable that you want to make sure you get the right, most comprehensive travel insurance policy for you. To help you do this, we’ve pulled together a few top tips for getting this right:
- Always read the small print – we can’t stress this enough, which is why we’ve mentioned it three times now!
- Conduct thorough research before settling on any one policy to help you get the most for your money and ensure you’ve got all the cover you need
- Make the most of comparison websites to help you find the best policy
- Book through a travel agent if you’re unsure. This way, you can ask your representative any questions you have
- Always book through reputable travel and insurance companies
Take our advice, and you should be able to find the most cost-effective and comprehensive travel insurance policy for you.