Several members are contacting the NCOA currently with questions regarding their insurance cover with the NCOA IBT. To try and answer some of those questions, with the assistance of Philip Williams & Co the NCOA have put together the following which affects both existing members and any new joiners to the scheme. This has been prepared considering current FCO advice which may be subject to change in the future.
FCO advice vs Local Restrictions
The FCO updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers.
These exemptions came into effect on 4 July 2020. All our advice will remain under constant review to consider the latest situation in each country.
These countries have been assessed as no longer presenting an unacceptably high risk to British people travelling abroad. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice is based on risks to British nationals, including in-country public health assessments.
The global coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. No travel is risk-free, and disruption is still possible. If you plan to travel:
- read the coronavirus travel guidance to make sure you are prepared for your travel
- read the Travel Advice for your destination, for information on local coronavirus measures that you will need to follow
- sign up for email alerts for Travel Advice to ensure you are informed of any changes while you are travelling
As at 16/7/20: The FCO continues to advise against non-essential international travel, except to the countries and territories listed on the FCO Website . . . note that this list will be subject to change and it is members responsibility to check www.fco.gov.uk for up to date information.
The changes and advice relating to the cancelled holidays/trips remains in place in respect of trips affected by the COVID situation in respect of trips booked before 13th March 2020
As the travel restrictions begin to lift and we begin to exit from lockdown cover for the group travel scheme members who were in the scheme before the 13th March 2020, cover will revert to the standard terms and conditions of the policy. This will apply to travel bookings made before 13th March 2020 and to new travel insurance bookings for this year.
Q. Am I covered if I contract COVID-19 and require emergency medical treatment whilst abroad – Yes provided that the usual terms and conditions apply?
A. We would recommend that you make use of the state facilities as they are more likely to be equipped and able to deal with COVID19. Contact Emergency Assistance Facilities (EAF) immediately.
Q. Will I be covered for medical repatriation if necessary and possible as a result of my medical situation
A. Yes subject to the terms & condition and travellers should contact Emergency Assistance Facilities (EAF) in the normal manner.
Q. Am I covered to cancel my trip prior to departure should I unexpectedly fall ill with COVID-19 – Yes subject to the appropriate validation from a treating doctor confirming that the medical reason prevents travel?
A. Usual terms & conditions apply. In the first instance members are requested to contact their travel agent, tour operator or flight arranger.
Q. Can I cancel or curtail my holiday as a result of a non-travelling close relative contracting COVID-19 and requiring cancellation or curtailment for medical reasons?
A. Yes provided that the treating doctor validates the medical reason and need to claim. Normal terms & conditions apply and EAF should be contacted prior to curtailment.
Q. Am I covered if I am prevented boarding a plane as a result of being diagnosed with a medical condition including COVID19 at the point of departure?
A. Yes subject to medical validation as to the medical need? Usual terms & conditions apply. At the point of being denied boarding you wouldn’t have been diagnosed as you couldn’t have an official test there and then and get results back. If the airline or airport deny you boarding, then it is their responsibility in reimbursing your flight costs. If you arrive home and were seriously ill with COVID-19 and can obtain a medical report from your Dr to confirm you couldn’t travel then you may be able to make a cancellation claims, but in the first instance you should refer to the airline/tour operator.
Q. Am I covered if I have travelled to an area of country which then is locked down as a result a local spike in COVID-19 cases?
A. No you are not covered for the additional costs to move to another region or return to the UK early, however we would recommend that you seek advice or help from your operator or carrier who may be able to assist. Loss of enjoyment is not a specified peril of the insurance.
Q. Am I covered if quarantined abroad as a result of COVID-19?
A. you are only covered for emergency medical expenses incurred. However if you are unable to return home on the due date as a result of a medical reason including COVID-19, you may be able to claim additional travel and accommodation costs, but in the first instance you should contact your operator and/or EAF as per the policy terms & conditions.
Q. If as a result of Track & Trace I am advised to self-isolate am I covered to cancel my trip?
A. No the policy does not have provision for this circumstance. If you can obtain validation from a treating doctor that you have a medical condition that prevents travel or, you have been put in compulsory quarantine and you can validate this, you may submit a claim. The standard terms & conditions will apply, and the first point of call should be the travel agent or tour operator to see if it might be possible to change the date of travel or obtain a refund.
Q. What happens should the FCO advice change whilst I am abroad?
A. Contact your carrier, tour operator or travel agent. Or if in need, the British embassy.
Q. Am I covered to curtail should I be refused entry to a country?
A. No there is no provision for this within the policy unless covered under Section 17 of the policy which might apply please see the policy wording.
Q. Am I covered to travel to an area where the FCO are advising against all but essential travel?
A. Not under this policy, there are specialist travel insurances that cover hazardous destinations that the FCO advise against travelling.
Q. If I book a holiday to an area where the FCO is currently advising against travel, but the advice changes after I have started my trip?
A. No, regrettably not once the trip has started.
Q. If I book a trip to a destination where the FCO advises against travel due to COVID-19, but the advice changes prior to departure, will I be covered for Emergency Medical Expenses if I contract the virus abroad?
A. Yes subject to the usual terms & conditions
New Joiners to the Group Insurance Scheme after 12th March 2020
Cover will only be available for Emergency Medical Expenses & Repatriation if COVID-19 is contracted whilst on holiday.
All other cover for Non-COVID-19 related claims will be covered as per standard policy terms and conditions, e.g. if you break your leg and cannot travel, then the insurance provides cover for cancellation.
Please note that any of the COVID-19 changes to the IBT Travel Insurance are in line with the standard exemptions now being brought in across the travel and tourism sector. This is a totally unprecedented situation and as such there will be certain situations that the policy does not have specific provision for. In light of this, Insurers recomend that you book wherever possible with a bonded tour operator, pay for the trip on a credit card and always act as if uninsured by mitigating costs. At renewal of the Group travel scheme more specific reference to COVID-19 may well be introduced. Until then we can only work within the confines of the existing contract which is in place at this time.
NCOA will endeavour to update the website as new advice is received.
Note: Emergency Assistance Facilities can be contacted on 0203 829 6745 or firstname.lastname@example.org