Travel insurance holders should renew policies to retain Covid-19 cover, expert advises

Multi-trip annual policies taken out before mid-March will retain cancellation cover

Anyone who takes out a new policy will most likely not be covered for any Covid-19 related cancellations. Photograph: Getty Images

Anyone who takes out a new policy will most likely not be covered for any Covid-19 related cancellations. Photograph: Getty Images

 

People with multi-trip annual travel insurance policies which are due to expire in the weeks ahead will retain cover for Covid-19 related cancellations once they are renewed and not allowed lapse, an industry expert has confirmed.

Policies taken out last summer have significantly different terms and conditions to those issued since March when Covid-19 related cover was largely removed.

However, once a customer renews an existing policy rather than either letting it lapse or switching to an alternate provider, they should still have some protection for holidays due to be taken in the months ahead as long as bookings were made before the crisis hit.

“If you booked that summer holiday for July, August or later in the year, then let your policy automatically renew or renew it yourself, but don’t let it lapse,” the managing director of Blue Insurance Ciaran Mulligan told The Irish Times.

“By renewing an annual policy, customers ensure they have a continuation of cover for any holidays that would have been booked prior to Covid-19 becoming a pandemic,” he continued.

He said that when policies were being renewed with any company people should make sure there was cover for Travel Disruption or Government Travel Advice although he warned that anyone who takes out a new policy will most likely not be covered for any Covid-19 related cancellations.

“Another reason to consider renewing your policy is that there is a potential for insurance prices to increase, possibly coming this summer, as a result of the number of potential claims,” he said. He added that prices could increase by as much at 25 per cent if a high volume of claims are settled by insurers this summer.

Meanwhile, the Vhi has confirmed it will offer cover to customers renewing multi-trip travel insurance policies for trip cancellation due to Covid-19 for trips in 2020 provided the trips were booked prior to March 19th, 2020.

On that date, the company added a general exclusion to its terms and conditions for any claims caused by or relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19) or any mutation of the disease.

“This was necessary at the time given the general uncertainty around travel but did cause some difficulties for our customers,” a spokeswoman said. “Vhi have now established a fund to further support our Vhi MultiTrip customers during this period.”

As the peak of the travel season comes closer the company said it was seeing increasing volumes of cancellation claims for pre-booked trips.

“This cover is provided in the Vhi multi-trip base policy with no need for customers to purchase an add-on. Vhi multi-trip cover needs to be in place at the time of planned trip in order to claim, therefore it is important that cover remains in place.”

She said emergency medical cover abroad would not be subject to the Covid-19 exclusion provided customers were not travelling against advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs which currently rules out overseas travel.