Saga to cover travel customers for cancellation due to coronavirus

A travel insurer says it is one of the first in Britain to cover its customers for holiday cancellation if they are hit by coronavirus before they travel. 

Saga announced it is extending its travel insurance policies to cover all new and existing customers over 50 against coronavirus-linked cancellation.

Any customer taking out a new policy will now be able to claim up to GBP10,000 per person if they need to cancel a holiday due to receiving a positive coronavirus test in the 14 days before their trip departure date. 

In addition to the cancellation cover, policyholders will now also be able to claim on their insurance for the remaining value of their holiday if they contract Covid-19 while abroad and as a result need to come home early.

Saga says it is one of the first UK travel insurers to offer cancellation cover to holidaymakers

Saga says it is one of the first UK travel insurers to offer cancellation cover to holidaymakers

Saga said the changes have been introduced to provide customers with the 'confidence to travel' in the coming weeks and months.

It is also in response to increasing customer demand as cancellation cover was named as the second most important thing companies could do to make people more comfortable about travelling abroad in a recent Saga survey.

As travel advice continues to change, Saga said it will review its policy terms to ensure customers receive significant value from the cover. 

Kevin McMullan, head of product, Saga health and travel insurance said: 'With travel restrictions continually changing, many people may be worried that much-anticipated holiday plans could be cut short, or increasingly reluctant to go at all.

'Now more than ever people need to feel confident and reassured when planning to travel overseas. 

'Our new policy terms mean all new customers will be covered with up to GBP10,000 of cancellation cover should they fall ill with coronavirus in the 14 days before they depart.'

Many flights to destinations around the world have been cancelled due to the coronavirus

Many flights to destinations around the world have been cancelled due to the coronavirus

He adds: 'While they're abroad they'll also be covered for any medical costs as a result of Covid-19. 

'We're continuing to review and update our products to ensure they reflect the needs of our customers.

'However, we know the impact of coronavirus is far-reaching.

We'd encourage customers to contact us directly if they'd like to discuss their individual circumstances and how we can best support them through these uncertain times.'

But while Saga will cover you if you get coronavirus, it won't pay out for cancellations for other reasons, such as a change in Foreign Commonwealth Office advice or because you simply don't want to go anymore.  

Travel insurance has become increasingly important in recent months after the coronavirus outbreak - and it is always vital you get it when you book a trip, especially in the current climate. 

In March, many insurers stopped selling cover to new customers, but a large number have put cover back on the market as more and more people begin to head abroad. 

However, most do not cover customers for any cancellation due to coronavirus whilst only some cover consumers for actually catching the virus when abroad.  

Will other insurers cover for cancellation too? 

This is Money contacted other major travel insurers to find out whether they were also planning to cover customers for cancellation due to coronavirus. 

Direct Line said it was unable to reveal its future plans but is monitoring the situation.  

Dave Allen, Direct Line underwriting manager, said: 'We're unable to communicate our future plans as this is commercially sensitive information, however we are constantly reviewing the best ways we can serve our travel customers.' 

Admiral confirmed it doesn't currently have any plans to introduce cover for customers who cancel due to coronavirus.

Customers with a single trip policy who can't travel during the pandemic, however, are able to cancel their policy and receive a pro rata refund, as long as they haven't travelled or made a claim.

For single trip policies, the cover starts from the day they take out the policy as it provides cancellation cover from that date, not just the dates of travel. 

Admiral then pro ratas these policies to the day, with the policy length calculated as date of sale to end date of trip. Those with an annual policy can also cancel and get a pro-rata refund as long as they haven't made a claim. 

AXA said that in terms of cover, all AXA policies, irrespective of purchase date, include cover for emergency medical expenses due to Covid-19 or if you have to cancel because you or a close relative become ill with Covid-19. 

However, a number of our policies no longer cover cancellation if the FCO or another regulatory body advises against travel due to a pandemic.

A spokesperson said: 'AXA underwrites numerous insurance products in the UK and globally, so within each sales journey there will be messaging about what is covered and what is not. 

'You can also view the policy terms for full information before purchasing.

If you have any worries about what is covered please do not hesitate to contact the customer service team.'

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