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Free Spirit Coronavirus Travel Insurance Advice

With the coronavirus pandemic situation developing regularly, we created this page on the 30th January as a dynamic resource. We aim to provide all relevant and up-to-date information relating to how COVID-19 is affecting travel insurance and travel in general.

20 December 2020 – Following the identification of a new variant of the virus, international travel where you live may be increasingly restricted due to various domestic and overseas regulations. Those in tier 4 in England are not permitted to travel abroad apart from limited exceptions. Read more on the government website.

Holiday or Flight Cancellations – If you have a single-trip policy and your holiday is cancelled, please use our change of dates form to put your policy on hold. Then, when you have been able to rebook, you can advise us of the new dates, using the same form. Alternately, if you have already been able to re-book, please advise us of the new dates now.

You can find the change of dates form by clicking here.

Opening Hours – due to the social isolation measures put in place by the UK government, we are now operating remotely, but with full availability over the seasonal period. We will endeavour to maintain the same high level of service to you even during these challenging times.

COVID Travel Insurance – we would like to reassure customers that a Free Spirit policy will cover you under the cancellation and medical expenses sections for claims caused by coronavirus. Please read this related article for more information.

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To find out which countries currently have travel corridors in place, please refer to our guide to where in Europe it is currently safe to travel. This is kept up to date with all changes as they come into effect.

If the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against your chosen destination, read here about a product that can cover you.

If your travel provider intends to run your holiday as planned, we would urge you to insist that the dates are moved, as we cannot cover you if you travel while the FCDO advises against non-essential travel.

We have prepared some FAQs to guide you through some of the questions and concerns you may have related to your travel insurance:

Am I insured if I travel against the advice of the FCDO?

A Free Spirit policy will not provide cover if you decide to travel against the advice of the FCDO. This would be for ‘All Travel’ and ‘All but Essential Travel’. If the area is classified as ‘All but Essential Travel’ and you are still planning to go you must ensure there is adequate travel insurance cover in place, which may require an alternative policy to cover the one-off trip.  

What classes as essential travel (FCDO)?

The FCDO does not have a definition of what they class as ‘Essential Travel’. The FCDO website states ‘Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to. Circumstances differ from person to person. Only you can make an informed decision based on the risks’.

In the event of a claim, you will need to evidence it with written statements and proof that all other possibilities have been exhausted.  If there is any mention of ‘like’ or ‘want’ (desirables) to travel, then it is more than likely that the circumstances would not be deemed essential and you would be seen as having exposed yourself to unnecessary risk.

Will my policy cover medical treatment for the Coronavirus? And will repatriation be covered?

If you catch Coronavirus or require medical treatment, then yes cover will be in place for emergency and necessary treatment. Customers should be aware that our policies are travel insurance policies and not private medical insurance meaning that there is no cover for any medical expenses incurred in private medical facilities if we have confirmed that medically capable public facilities are available.

Please contact our Medical Emergency Assistance Team if you require medical treatment on (0)203 829 6745.

Our policies will provide cover for repatriation (bringing you home) that is medically necessary. Our Assistance Team will liaise with your treating doctor(s) about your treatment plan and if required obtain a ‘fit to fly’ certificate. We also liaise with you and advise on, and put in place, suitable repatriation plans to get you home as soon as it is medically safe to do so in order to achieve your optimal recovery. Our team are unable to make arrangements to repatriate you where it is against local advice, where travel is restricted or where you would pose a risk to other passengers.

What cover is available under my policy in relation to Coronavirus?

A Free Spirit policy provides cover for coronavirus under the medical section, meaning that you will be covered or emergency and necessary treatment, and if there is a medical requirement to bring you home.

For cancellation, this type of event is usually not covered across the travel insurance industry. This is because most policies have specific reasons for cancellation and the “fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction” or change in FCDO travel advice is not one of those reasons.

We advise travellers who have booked package holidays to a destination affected by the viral outbreak and are looking to cancel their trip or amend their travel plans to contact their travel agent or tour operator in the first instance. Consumer advice for travellers is available from ABTA.

For policies purchased after 23:59 16th March 2020, there is no cover under this policy for:

  • Cancellation, abandonment or curtailment claims if the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises you not to travel, for example where the FCDO advise against all but essential travel to an area affected by Coronavirus, COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2) or any mutation of Coronavirus, COVID-19 or SARs-COV-2.
  • Any claims as a result of Coronavirus, COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2), any mutation of Coronavirus, COVID-19 or SARs-COV-2 or any pandemic or fear or threat of any the above. Except for the Emergency Medical Expenses section. This will only apply if you did not travel against the published advice of the FCO, any local government, local authority or WHO.
If I am stuck abroad due to the Coronavirus and cannot come home on my planned return date, will my travel insurance be extended to cover me until I can get home?

Cover may be extended for the following reasons:

  • If you are hospitalised, require medical treatment and are unable to fly.
  • If your transport is disrupted or delayed.
  • If you cannot return home for any reason beyond your control

Please read the policy wording for more information on this.

Am I covered if I have to quarantine when I come home for financial loss etc?

Unfortunately, there is no cover for any losses as a result of enforced quarantine.

If I am quarantined abroad due to the Coronavirus, what cover is in place?

If you are admitted to hospital your policy will usually provide assistance with returning home when you have been discharged.

Please contact our Assistance Team on (0)203 829 6745 if you are admitted to hospital.

If you are confined to your trip accommodation your policy may contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

What happens if I arrive at my holiday destination and they refuse entry due to the virus?

If you travel to an area which the FCDO advise against travel to, there would be no cover under the travel insurance policies as this would be considered as a known event.

If you travel to an area and the FCDO advice changes after leaving home, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator for information on the availability of flights or refunds in the first instance.

If you are refused entry at passport/border control, you should contact your airline or transport provider to arrange to change your return ticket to allow you to come home early.

Am I covered for travel disruption caused by the Coronavirus?

If you are unable to return home on your planned date your policy may contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, it may also include the additional costs of getting home

If I go out on an excursion for the day and then am not allowed back to my travel accommodation (or cruise ship) due to quarantine, what cover do I have?

You should follow any instructions issued by the local authorities as it is more than likely that you will have to enter some form of quarantine.

Travelers should contact their travel agent or tour operator for assistance in the first instance.

Your policy may contribute towards the cost of food and additional accommodation, some may also include the additional costs of getting home. We would ask that you check your specific policy wording for more information on this.

Can I extend my cover if I am currently on a trip?

Unfortunately, if you are on a trip and want to extend your cover we will be unable to do so. The policy will expire at the originally agreed date. The only exception to this is if you need to extend your policy following a change in travel plans as a result of the airline reduction and border closures.

In which case, you may extend the policy if:

  • it hasn’t expired
  • no claims have been made or are to be submitted,
  • there has been no change in medical conditions, up to 7 days.

However, only a maximum of 7 days will be granted and no further extension will be given. If you have a valid insurance claim the usual criteria applies, with regards to your insurance extended as part of the assistance case or travel delay after checking in baggage.

Transfer of trips

If there is a change of destination or additional duration then you will be charged the appropriate additional premium. If your health has changed you may need to rescreen or reconsider cover. Additionally, your new trip cannot be within 90 days from 20th March 2020.

If I have a stop-over in an area which the FCDO advises against travel to, am I still covered?

We would suggest that if you have not started that part of your journey you contact your airline to change your travel plans to move on to the next part of your itinerary.

If you arrive at your stop-over airport and entry is denied due to the virus you should contact your airline to change your travel plans to move on to the next part of your itinerary.

What can I do with my policy if I am no longer travelling and have received a refund for my holiday?

At the moment, for any policyholders requesting refunds for single trips outside the 14-day cooling-off period, Insurers require us to keep to the Terms and Conditions of the policy which limits the refund to 50% of the original premium.

However, we wish to help our customers as much as possible, especially during such a testing time. If your travel plans have been cancelled we are happy to freeze your policy until the time comes that you are able to re-book your travel arrangements; at which time we can re-commence your policy. Please note that if the destination, duration or your current medical situation changes, this may affect the premium. Please see ‘Transfer of trips‘ above for more information.

For Annual multi-trip policies, we can also provide a refund of 5% for each full remaining month left on cover. Refunds are provided on the understanding that there have been no claims made or intending to be made.

Full cancellation terms can be found on your policy wording.

If you wish to discuss this with us, please give us a call on 02392 419 080.

Our general advice to policy-holders at this time is:

  • To take guidance as provided by the FCDO and adhere to its advice.
  • See the latest information and advice for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus from the Department of Health and Social Care
  • To not travel contrary to any travel restrictions as may be advised by any government or public/health authority.
  • To speak with your travel provider regarding any possible change(s) to your travel itinerary.
  • To continue to monitor any further advice as may be provided.
  • The National Travel Health Network and Centre has also produced general advice on preparing for foreign travel and how individuals can help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

More information about travel and the Coronavirus:

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as they become available.

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