Important advice regarding the Coronavirus and travel insurance


The outbreak of Coronavirus in some regions of China is a rapidly developing situation and we would strongly advise anyone travelling to the country to look at the guidance issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is updated on a regular basis.

At present, the FCO is advising against ‘all but essential travel’ to Wuhan city and Hubei province. This would apply to anyone travelling through Wuhan to another destination.

From a travel insurance perspective, we expect that consumers who had purchased travel insurance and travelled before the FCO issued its advice on 23rd January will be covered while in China. Travel insurance includes medical expenses and so treatment costs for a traveller who becomes unwell in China should be covered up to the limit in the policy. This would include anyone who had visited or is presently in Wuhan city or Hubei province but not now for travel into the city or province from elsewhere in China.

Most travel insurers offer a 24-hour emergency medical advice hotline and travellers who feel they might have been affected by this event are encouraged to call their insurers for help.

For consumers who had purchased travel insurance before 23rd January and had booked travel that included visiting or passing through Wuhan city or Hubei province, BIBA would expect that they will be covered for any unused travel and accommodation costs if they are forced to cancel their trip and any necessary extra travel costs if they have to cut their trip short.

For people travelling to Wuhan city or to Hubei province after 23rd January, insurers are now excluding cover since the FCO is advising against travel. This is a standard response.

Concerned consumers who had booked their trip via a tour operator or travel agent or using a credit card may wish should contact them to see if they can get a refund or have their trip re-arranged.

All travel policies are different we would advise people to read their policies carefully to see exactly what their policy covers and what they can claim for. If the policy was purchased via an insurance broker, customers can also contact them for help and advice.

Authored by BIBA


About BIBA

The British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) is the UK 's leading general insurance organisation representing the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers. 

BIBA membership includes 1,700 regulated firms. BIBA brokers handle around half the value of all UK home, contents, motor, travel, commercial and industrial insurance policies. Insurance brokers make a direct and indirect contribution of 1% to UK GDP. 

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