Booking a winter holiday? Make sure you know this information before you book

A Winter holiday might not be foremost in your mind as the mercury repeatedly surpasses 30 degrees in the south of England this summer, or perhaps you’re longing for crisp, cold conditions on the slopes!

Whatever your travel plans over the coming months, Covid-19 has devastated travel around the globe and with that, the availability of useful travel insurance.  Although many lockdown restrictions have been lifted, airports remain eerily quiet with airlines operating just a skeleton service.

This summer, most people’s holidays will more closely resemble summer holidays in the era before cheap international flights allowed us to travel to warmer climes and avoid the undependable British summer.

Last year, Brits took 72,610,000 trips abroad. The 2020 figures will be far slimmer – many will favour homely caravans and campsite staycations over luxury cruises and Canary Islands vacations. After all, the government warned against all but essential foreign travel up to 4 July.

It’s hardly surprising that most are postponing their summer foreign holiday until next winter or the following summer, when the international travel situation might be closer to normality. However, the risk of a second wave and further travel restrictions mean that the travel insurance situation is still rather complex. Here are a couple of key need-to-knows:

Do new insurance policies cover coronavirus cancellations?

It’s now impossible to get new policies that cover coronavirus cancellation.

After the FCO warned against all non-essential travel in mid-March, insurers stopped selling policies that covered cancellation due to coronavirus travel disruption or restrictions.

This means that you will have to cover the costs of coronavirus disruption. However, it is still worth getting travel insurance if you don’t have it. There are a whole host of reasons that you might need to claim that are not related to coronavirus.

What’s more, while new policies will not cover you for Covid-19 disruption, some may cover you if you or a family member catches coronavirus before you travel and you need to cancel for this reason.

I already have a policy. Am I covered if travel restrictions are reintroduced?

If your insurance was taken out and holiday booked before mid-March, you should be able to claim for coronavirus travel restriction disruption.

To make a claim, there will need to be a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) warning for your destination. In this scenario, your travel insurance company will expect you to try for a refund from your airline or travel firm first.

Some policies may cover a coronavirus cancellation when there’s no FCO warning. For instance, if there’s no official FCO advisory and your flight or hotel is cancelled so you can’t travel, some policies will pay out. This depends on your insurer.

As with all things coronavirus related, the situation is very fast moving. We recommend that you keep a close eye on the latest travel developments before booking anything.