With the coronavirus pandemic situation developing regularly, we created this page on the 30th of January as a dynamic resource. We aim to provide all relevant and up-to-date information relating to how Coronavirus 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.
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.
Coronavirus 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. Learn about Free Spirit Coronavirus Cover.
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 Emergency Medical Assistance Team if you require medical treatment on (0)208 159 1702
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?
This policy will ONLY provide cover for claims as a result of pandemic and/ or epidemic, including but not limited to Coronavirus (Covid-19) within the following sections:
B1 – A. Emergency Medical & Associated Expenses
Our policy provides cover for Emergency Medical expenses if an insured person contracts Coronavirus whilst abroad.
Sections A1 – Cancellation and B3 – Curtailment/Loss of Holiday
If it is necessary and unavoidable to cancel or cut short your trip because an insured person tests positive for Coronavirus within 14 days of your trip departure date, or is admitted to hospital due to testing positive for coronavirus after the purchase of this policy
Provided that you have received the recommended number of doses of an approved Coronavirus vaccine 14 days prior to your trip commencing. This vaccination requirement shall not apply where you are under 40 years of age, or if you are over 40 years of age but were ineligible for vaccination, or unable to receive the vaccine for medical reasons, and this is shown in your medical records.
Please be aware: There is no cover under this policy if (having no symptoms of Coronavirus and/or not testing positive for Coronavirus) you are advised to quarantine or you choose to self-isolate due to a person you have come into contact with having Coronavirus
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.
Read a summary of the cover we can provide specifically in relation to Coronavirus here.
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 Emergency Medical Assistance Team on (0)208 159 1702 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 please refer to your Policy Wording for full details.
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.
Can I extend my cover if I am currently on a trip?
If, as a result of a pandemic and/or epidemic (including but not limited to Coronavirus), you are unable to return to the UK as planned, due to:
- a) a country closing their borders and/or
- b) the cancellation or delay of your booked public transport
and as a result, you wish to extend coverage under your current policy, please contact Customer Services on: 02392 419 080. We will need full details of your circumstances, to allow us to consider any such request. Please be aware, that all such extension requests will be considered, but cannot be guaranteed.
Transfer of trips
We can only accept changes if the new trip date meets the requirements as set by our insurers. If we are able to make a change on the original policy and there is a change of destination or duration or your health has changed then you may be required to pay an additional premium.
If we are unable to make an amendment to your original policy we will advise of the options available to you. Please contact Customer Services on: 02392 419 080.
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 30% 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 please see the cancellation scale within your Policy Wording. 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 is:
- Take guidance as provided by the FCDO and adhere to its advice.
- View the latest information and advice for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus from the Department of Health and Social Care.
- Follow any travel restrictions that are advised by any government or public/health authority you’re visiting.
- Book with a tour operator or provider that can provide access to discounted testing kits.
- Purchase a package trip because legal protection will be included and your holiday will be protected.
- To speak with your travel provider regarding any possible change(s) to your travel itinerary.
- Continue to monitor any further advice as may be provided.
- To get through airport security quicker by print everything on paper, so it can be easily checked and scanned.
- 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.
8 More Web Pages for Information about Travel and Coronavirus:
- Official UK government foreign travel advice
- World Health Organisation coronavirus information & updates page
- Worldometer coronavirus global statistics
- Why Do We Need a COVID Vaccine Passport For Travel?
- Your COVID Travel Guide for an Anxiety Free Holiday
- Where can I travel after the COVID vaccine?
- Where Can I Travel While Restrictions Are In Place?
- Travel With Confidence With Free Spirit’s Safe Travel Advice
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as they become available.