Hardly any travel insurance policies provide customers with cover for COVID disruption, according to a Which? investigation.
It said that while some insurers do offer ‘COVID cover’, this means different things for different providers.
And it found that many policies exclude scenarios such as lockdowns in the UK or overseas.
Which? looked at 263 travel insurance policies’ COVID cover and rated them from ‘basic’ to ‘complete’.
Just two policies, HSBC Select and Cover and Barclays Travel Pack, were rated as ‘complete’, which meant that they protected customers against:
- Cancellation due to changes in advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) or government lockdowns prohibiting travel;
- Testing positive for COVID or being told to self-isolate;
- Medical costs and repatriation
Both of these policies are available to customers of these banks and can only be bought alongside other insurance products.
A further 85 policies were ranked ‘superior’, providing cancellation cover for travellers having to self-isolate without a positive test, but not for FCDO advice changing.
Policies with ‘superior’ COVID cover include those from popular providers such as AA, AXA and Staysure.
Just over half of the policies (142) were ranked ‘low’, including policies from Nationwide, Admiral and the Post Office.
All offer some cancellation cover but they don’t include cancellation costs if the customer needs to self-isolate without having a positive COVID test result.
There were 34 policies ranked ‘basic’, meaning they provide COVID-related emergency medical costs and repatriation, but not cancellation costs for customers who catch COVID. Among well-known providers offering some ‘basic’ policies were Direct Travel,esure and Sheilas’ Wheels.
Every policy analysed offers cover for medical and repatriation costs for travellers that catch COVID-19 whilst travelling.
Only a third of the policies Which? examined offer cover if travellers cancel because they are told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app.
Fewer than one in five provide cover for passengers returning early if advice from the FCDO changes while they were abroad.
One in ten policies offer cover for hotel closures before departure and 17% offer cover if a hotel closes while travellers are on holiday.
Only 5% include cancellation cover in the event of a lockdown in the UK, either local or national, that prohibits customers from leaving the country.
Just 4% of policies cover cancellations if travellers are forced to quarantine at their destination, and only 3% offer the protection if travellers do not travel because they’ll have to quarantine upon their return to the UK.