UK insurer offers cover for European countries on travel quarantine list

Travel insurance

Staysure becomes one of first to update polices to allow non-Covid related medical claims

People on a beach at Bormes-les-Mimosas in the south of France a few days after the country was added to the FCO travel quarantine list. People on a beach at Bormes-les-Mimosas in the south of France a few days after the country was added to the FCO travel quarantine list.Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

A major insurer has started offering travel insurance to customers prepared to ignore the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's advice against "all but essential" travel to destinations including France and Spain. Staysure said it had updated its single trip and annual travel policies to offer non-coronavirus related medical claims to the European destinations the government has advised against holidaying in. The move is something of an industry first.

Until now, travellers ignoring the FCO advice have been told their insurance would be null and void if they still chose to travel. Despite this, thousands of holidaymakers have travelled to Spain and more recently France, often to see family stuck abroad, or just to take a holiday. They still face having to quarantine for 14 days on returning to the UK.

The latest Staysure policies do not cover coronavirus-related medical claims in the affected countries, the insurer said. However, travellers to Spain, France, the Netherlands and other European countries on the FCO list would be covered for normal holiday-related claims such as a car accident, or if they were robbed. Ryan Howsam, the chief executive of Staysure, said: "Against a backdrop of ever-changing travel advice and widespread uncertainty, we have worked hard to bring this new cover to market as quickly as possible.

"We know that, for a multitude of reasons, people are choosing to travel to European destinations even when FCO advice advises otherwise. In doing so, they find themselves exposed to additional risk, as they are no longer insured for other eventualities. "While we cannot prevent people from choosing to travel, we can support them to make sensible choices and protect themselves and their families to the degree that it is possible in these challenging times."

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Howsam said that should the FCO change its advice on a destination once a traveller has arrived, Staysure would pay the policyholder up to GBP1,000 for additional accommodation and travel expenses incurred, if they need to repatriate or return to the UK earlier than planned.

Holidaymakers have faced an off-on-off summer as the government has advised against all travel, lifted the restrictions, only to impose them again.

Travel insurers have been rewriting their policies in an attempt to keep up with the shifting position.

Many people in the UK have given up trying to go abroad this summer and find themselves in UK campsites for the first time.

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