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How does coronavirus (COVID-19) affect my Gold account travel insurance?

As the situation relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves it is important to consider both the purchase and departure date when ascertaining Gold account travel insurance cover.

  • On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that COVID-19 is a pandemic. As a result, the general exclusion for claims arising from or relating to any epidemic or pandemic on our travel insurance policies were enforced.
  • On 17th March 2020 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential travel abroad.
  • On 23rd March 2020 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised all British travellers to return to the UK.

Please note: This general advice does not replace the terms and conditions of your Gold account travel insurance policy which you should read for further information.

For assistance and claims, please contact:

Membership Services: 023 9267 6061
From abroad: +44 (0) 23 9267 6061
Email: iombank.insurance@allianz-assistance.co.uk

Frequently asked questions

Are there any specific policy exclusions for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There are no exclusions specific to coronavirus (COVID-19). Epidemic / pandemic are not listed in the policy exclusions.

Are there any exclusions relating to the policyholder abiding by government advice?

Yes. Travel to areas where, at time of booking the Journey or thereafter but before You travel, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) or the equivalent government authority in your Country of residence has advised against all travel to.

The exclusion relates to restrictions announced `before You travel`. We expect customers to keep apprised of the advice, particularly under the current climate where travel plans are being affected. In the scenario where a policy holder’s journey began before any announcement is made from the FCO (or equivalent) and during the journey it is announced that travel is restricted they would not fall under this exclusion.

I am due to travel in the future. What happens if I want to cancel?

You should speak in the first instance to your tour operator / service provider for advice regarding your trip.

We will endeavour to look at referrals on a `case-by-case` basis and where we think the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice is likely to be the same around your time of travel, however this will be dependent on how far in the future your trip is planned. As per general exclusions, we will not offer cover for `beneficiary’s travel to a country or specific area or event to which the Travel Advice Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or equivalent government authority has advised the public not to travel`.

My trip is booked to a country that the FCO has not advised against travel to. Will I be covered if I cancel?

It remains necessary to wait for Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against travel (not all areas are considered `unsafe`) – policyholders would need to wait for either a full travel ban (to every country) or a change in FCO advice. Policy holders should refer back to the travel company to amend the country they are travelling to or amend the dates of travel.

Cover is not provided for disinclination to travel.

What happens if I contract coronavirus (COVID-19) whilst I am away?

Should you contract coronavirus (COVID-19) during travel, follow any advice given by the local authorities and contact your travel provider to notify them as soon as possible. If you are suffering with coronavirus abroad, please contact our emergency 24-hour medical assistance line for advice. Provided that you have not travelled against Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice, you may be able to claim under the medical expenses section of your travel insurance policy for expenses incurred from receiving medical treatment. Please note that all claims relating to the coronavirus will be handled on a case by case basis. If your trip needs to be extended as a result of your condition, please contact the customer support team to discuss your options.

What happens if I am in a destination that has known cases, should I self-isolate when I return?

Please follow the government advice on self-isolating when returning from destinations with outbreaks.

Will I be covered to curtail my trip if I am unable to stay at my pre-booked accommodation due to coronavirus?

You would need to first seek reimbursement or a refund from the accommodation provider – if unsuccessful, you would need to provide something from the hotel to confirm you were unable to use the accommodation and the reason why along with details as to whether any compensation or refunds could be provided. You would then need to contact the claims team for consideration. Only costs for additional accommodation and transport will be considered. Cover for unused costs will not be provided.

 

If you have a trip booked, book a trip or travel after 17th March 2020...

Will I be covered if I still travel?

Our policies will not cover anyone that travels against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.

What if the country I am travelling to does not have any travel restrictions and my flight is still departing- will I be covered?

You will not be covered as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised UK citizens not to travel anywhere. If they travel their policy will be invalid as they have travelled against FCO advice relating to UK citizens.

What if airlines are not offering refunds where the FCO are advising against travel however they are offering vouchers, will I be covered if I want to cancel?

If you have spoken to your airline and they have offered you a voucher against your flight booking or a deferred travel arrangement, you cannot make a claim. It may be possible for you to obtain a cash refund instead of a voucher for travel however you would need to contact the specific airline and request this directly.

If I contact my airline asking for a cash refund however they refuse or will not process cash refunds at this time, can I make a claim against the insurance?

If the airline has provided a voucher for future use or another alternative form of refund, no claim can be made as the policy only provides cover for trip expenses that are not recoverable from any other source. Please refer to the airline’s Conditions of Carriage for details of your contractual rights in regard to receiving a refund in the event they cancel your flight. If this states they will provide a monetary refund, you will need to take this up with the airline directly or with the appropriate industry regulator if you believe the airline are not fulfilling their contractual obligations. If the airline has agreed to provide a monetary refund but is unable to provide this immediately, you will need to direct any complaint regarding the delay to the airline. A guarantee of refund means that the trip expense is recoverable and so cannot be claimed for. If the airline is not contractually obliged to provide a refund and you cannot recover the trip expense from any other source, we will be able to consider your claim.

Please contact our Travel Claims team for further advice and assistance.

If I have been offered a voucher / deferred flight however I am concerned that the airline could go bankrupt or will not be able to redeem my voucher, can I make a claim for cash reimbursement?

If the airline has provided a voucher for future use or another alternative form of refund, no claim can be made as the policy only provides cover for trip expenses that are not recoverable from any other source. Please refer to the airline’s Conditions of Carriage for details of your contractual rights in regard to receiving a refund in the event they cancel your flight. If this states they will provide a monetary refund, you will need to take this up with the airline directly or with the appropriate industry regulator if you believe the airline are not fulfilling their contractual obligations by issuing a voucher. In the event the airline goes into administration before you are able to redeem your voucher, you will need to contact the company Administrators to establish if your voucher is still valid and, if not, to request your monetary refund. You may become a creditor of the airline at that stage but the Administrators will be able to provide advice on whether or not a monetary refund can be provided. If it cannot and you are unable to recover this trip expense from any other source, please contact our Travel Claims team to discuss your individual circumstances.

If I do accept a credit note / voucher and make a new booking for later in the year or 2021, will I be covered for COVID-19 related issues under any usual policy cancellation reason or for medical expenses once on the trip?

For bookings made before the Foreign & Commonwealth Office lifts its travel advice and whilst COVID-19 is classified as a pandemic or epidemic (either in your country of residence or your planned destination), COVID-19 would be considered to be an anticipated event at the point of booking. This regrettably means that we are unable to consider claims made as a result of this.

If I travel after the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel issued on 17 March 2020, will I be covered for other non coronavirus related illnesses?

You will not be covered at all if you travel against Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.

I have to cancel my trip due to the FCO advice against all but essential travel. Can I claim for accommodation costs if my accommodation will not reimburse me?

If you are not able to recover the costs from your provider, please submit a claim to us and we will review these on a case by case basis. Please be aware that there is no cover for claims arising from events that could reasonably have been anticipated at the time a booking was made.

I am due to travel in the future however following the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel, I want to cancel however will I be covered?

You should firstly contact your travel provider and/or Airline to seek a refund of your flights and accommodation now that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all but essential travel. If any part of your trip is not refunded, we may be able to consider a claim for your circumstances (based on sales date of insurance and if before or after the pandemic notification from World Health Organisation (WHO)). We would be willing to review claims on a case by case basis.

If I book a trip now or already have a trip booked for later on in the year after COVID-19 is no longer considered a pandemic and the FCO advice against travel is lifted, will I be covered if I contract COVID-19 abroad or if I need to cancel?

If a policy is purchased or a trip is booked after the WHO have downgraded COVID-19 from being a pandemic/epidemic and the UK FCO and local governments at your destination are not advising against travel, this would no longer be considered as an anticipated event for trip bookings made. Standard policy terms and conditions would still apply including the exclusion for cancellation cover for disinclination to travel. For medical costs as a result of COVID-19, if a customer is travelling to a destination not subject to FCO advice at the time of travel and where there is no epidemic at that point, this also would also be covered.

For any insurance purchased now for a future trip or a trip booking is made (whilst there is still FCO advice against travel and COVID-19 still has pandemic status), cancellation will not be covered due to coronavirus regardless of when the trip is, as it is not yet known how long the pandemic will last or when the FCO will lift the travel advice. This is due to the general exclusion for claims made as a result of an incident which you were aware of at the time you purchased this insurance and which could reasonably be expected to lead to a claim.

 

If you are still abroad on or after 23rd March 2020...

I am still abroad however the FCO have now advised all British travellers to return to the UK. Will I be covered to curtail my trip and travel home?

Customers should contact their airlines, tour operators and local authority/government for assistance in getting back to the UK. If any part of your trip is not refunded, we may be able to consider a claim for your circumstances (based on sales date of insurance and if before or after the Pandemic notification from World Health Organisation (WHO)). There will be no cover at all if you have travelled against Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.

 

I'm considering opening or upgrading to a Gold account...

If I open/upgrade to a Gold account will I be able to claim if I can’t or don’t want to travel on future flights due to coronavirus (COVID-19)?

No, cover is not available for an anticipated event i.e. the cancellation of travel / advice not to travel due to coronavirus (COVID-19).