Travel insurance dries up for Spanish trips as quarantine kicks in

UK holidaymakers in Spain will have to self isolate for two weeks

Brean Horne
Tue, 07/28/2020 – 12:00

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UK travellers will not be able to get travel insurance for trips to Spain, and will also have to quarantine on their return due to Government rule changes this week.

Returning holidaymakers will have to self-isolate for 14 days, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against “all non-essential travel to mainland Spain”.

An increase in the number of coronavirus cases in several Spanish regions, such as Catalonia, which includes popular tourist destinations like Barcelona and Pamplona, prompted the FCO’s decision. 

The FCO move means travel insurance will not cover Spanish trips.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers says: “Travelling against Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice is likely to invalidate your travel insurance.”

While travellers already in Spain or those planning to go will not have to cancel their trips, they are being encouraged to follow the advice of local authorities on how to protect themselves and control the virus.  

However, the Canary and Balearic islands are not part of the FCO warning due to a low coronavirus risk, so trips there could be insured.

What has the government said about travel?

The FCO’s blanket restrictions on non-essential overseas travel were relaxed on 10 July. 

This meant that people arriving in England from more than 50 countries including Italy, France, Germany and Spain would not have to quarantine. 

But a recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Spain has resulted in the FCO advising against all non-essential travel to Spain. 

For more detail on the travel restrictions of a particular destination read the latest FCO coronavirus travel advice

What happens if my travel plans are cancelled because of coronavirus?

If you have booked a trip to an area which the FCO advises against travel or all but essential travel to, get in contact with your airline or holiday provider first.

They will tell you your options, including any refunds for your trip or alternative dates for your holiday.  

If neither your airline nor travel company offer refunds then get in touch with your travel insurer.

Travel insurance may cover non-refundable travel costs depending on your circumstances including flights, accommodation or event tickets.

Does travel insurance cover travel disruption caused by coronavirus?

Most travel insurance firms restricted the amount of cover they offered for disruption caused by coronavirus. 

A handful of travel insurance companies have recently announced that they will now offer cancellation cover for holidaymakers affected by coronavirus. These include Trailfinders, CoverForYou, Cedar Tree and Outbacker.

The Post Office and Saga have both introduced limited Covid-19 cover which pays medical expenses and repatriation costs if holidaymakers fall ill with the virus during a trip abroad in early June.

But if you decide to travel to a country on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) ban list your travel insurance will be invalidated and you will not be able to make a claim.

It is vital that you check the details of your trip with an insurance provider to ensure you get the right level of cover. 

What happens if I get coronavirus or am quarantined on holiday?

You need to alert your travel insurance provider as soon as possible if you are diagnosed with coronavirus while travelling. Your insurer will tell you your options and the medical expenses you will be able to claim for.

If you fall ill in Europe, your European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) will give you the same treatment as local citizens (until 31 December 2020 when the Brexit transition period ends).

If you are not diagnosed with coronavirus but are put into quarantine abroad you may also be able to claim for out-of-pocket expenses from your insurer.

What happens if the FCO has not advised against travel to your destination?

If the FCO has not advised against travelling to your destination but you decide not to go, you cannot claim back the cost of your trip.

Travel insurers refer to this as ‘disinclination to travel’ which is not seen as a valid reason to claim.

What happens if I travel against the FCO’s advice?

If you travel to a destination against the FCO’s advice, your travel insurance policy will be invalidated.

This means that you will not be able to make any claims.

Where the government advises against “all but essential travel” to a destination, you should check with your insurance company if they will cover you if you go.

Holidays are unlikely to be considered “essential” so you may not be insured if you went ahead.

Do I need travel insurance if I’m going to a non-listed country?

It is vital to buy travel insurance as soon as you book any holiday. Travel insurance covers the cost of unexpected incidents that may occur before you set off on your trip, as well as covering you while you are away. 

Before buying a policy be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that you get the cover you need. If anything is unclear, get in touch with the provider for clarification. 

Once you sign up to a policy it will be impossible to claim for things that are expressly excluded. 

This article was first published on 28/2/2020 but has been updated to reflect new developments. 

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