The warning about ‘all but essential’ travel to mainland China, parts of South Korea and some parts in northern Italy, due to the coronavirus, while some other countries, has begun to implement their travel bans.
What if you have already planned a trip to France or Italy or if you have booked a cruise? Is there a risk of travelling across the world? Does your travel insurance cover the unanticipated?
Find below some of the answers to your questions.
Is it safe to travel?
Search for the country you would like to visit gov.uk.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice website should be your first port of call as it is regularly updated.
Are you entitled for a refund on cancelled flights?
According to the FCO, flights to afflicted areas are cancelled and some mainly due to a slump in bookings. If you have booked directly through an airline, you are entitled to a refund or to rebook free of charge (you may have to pay any fare difference incurred). If you booked through a travel agent, contact them to find out your refund options. Hotel cancellations amidst the virus is centred around mainland China, Italy, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan with elite hotel groups wavering cancellation or change of booking fees.
What about flight bookings?
Some airlines are granting travel incentives, with flexibility on bookings, including BA, which has dropped the alteration fee on bookings made from now and Monday the 16th of March, and on pre-booked trips to Hong Kong and northern Italy. Meanwhile Virgin Atlantic is waiving any costs on alterations to bookings made throughout March.
Are you scared to travel?
Airlines, tour operators and insurers are not under obligation to offer refunds rooted on panic. If you decide not to travel anywhere outside the FCO travel risk list, you are unlikely to get any refunds. However, some providers may allow you to move the booking, so it is worth getting information first, and according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), travel insurance is not modelled to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ where the FCO advice has not changed to advise against travel. The only chance of claiming this without cancelling your holiday is on medical terms and is done on depending on your case and requires a letter from your GP.
What about holiday packages?
Tour operators, who are ABTA or ATOL members, will offer an alternative holiday if you are rescinded according to FCO advice if it is of significant difference to the original booking you are not under any obligation to accept it. In these cases, a fully refunded. So, speak to your tour operator to check.
What about holding off on insurance?
The general agreement on travel insurance, made at the same time as your trip is booked. If you don’t have the insurance policy in place and your destination is later added to the FCO list, you will not be eligible for remuneration.
Will, I be insured for cancellations?
It’s best if you affirm with your airline, hotel or tour operator to see if they can offer anything. If not, you will most likely need to have a travel disruption cover included in your policy.
What is the quarantine process?
If you end up in quarantine, you will be obliged to follow the rules of local authorities, which will probably engage in a quarantine process for 14 days. The UK Government could arrange a flight or maybe the travel insurance could cover your return; it is yet not clear who will cover the cost of your journey home. If you become ill on board, most insurance policies cover medical costs but make sure you check the small print. However, if you’ve booked and don’t want to travel because you’re scared, you won’t have a basis for compensation.
Is it a risk to go on a cruise?
At the moment, only cruises to China and East Asia has been cancelled. Quarantines and outbreaks onboard have taken a significant hit on the industry, pressing liners to impose precautions, that includes cancellations, schedule alterations, and stringent screening of all passengers while boarding and disembarking.
Must I be feared of flying?
Most of the commercial aircraft have a system called HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters to remove airborne contaminants. The virus cannot survive for long on seats or armrests, so physical contact with another person is the biggest risk of infection on a flight.
Can I book a holiday now?
If you are healthy, you should be positive about going ahead with your holiday. However, if you are medically at risk, you should think twice as you might be at higher risk.