The coronavirus epidemic has gripped the world and it continues to spread with tragic consequences and the disruption of global travel. We felt it would be useful to give an update on travel insurance in respect of cancellation cover.
In line with standard policy wordings, insurers will not cover people visiting countries or areas against the recommendation or advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The FCO update their advice on an ongoing basis according to circumstance changes, but at the time of writing their website states:
‘The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Hubei Province due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. The British Consulate General in Wuhan city is currently closed. If you’re in Hubei Province and able to leave, you should do so. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
In the event that you need to cancel your trip, and your travel plans were made before the date FCO advised against travel to your destination, your claim should be handled in the normal way. If you made your travel plans after the FCO advised against travel, your insurer will probably not offer any cover.
Insurers are also asking that people initially contact the tour operator, travel agent, accommodation or transport providers as they may be able to get a refund or offer of alternative destination. The Chinese Government, for example, has now directed all Chinese travel providers to allow free cancellations. We have been told by the travel insurers we work with that they are closely monitoring the situation.
If you have any queries about how your insurance will cover your travel to China in the current circumstances, please check your policy wording where there is a travel helpline. If you're a client of ours, please get in touch and with us here and we'll get back to you.