Coronavirus: Nearly half of UK’s major insurers stop selling travel insurance

Helen Coffey

Nearly half of all major UK insurers have now stopped selling travel insurance as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect trips worldwide.

Some 31 of the nation’s 75 leading insurers have pulled their travel insurance offerings, according to Which?.

A further 13 companies have also changed their terms to exclude claims related to Covid-19 for new customers.

Brands that have suspended the sale of travel insurance include Admiral, Aviva, Churchill and Direct Line.

Existing customers who purchased insurance before the coronavirus outbreak started heavily impacting on travel in mid-March should still be covered in most cases.

For those who have a trip booked post-16 April – which is when the Foreign Office advice against all foreign travel is currently due to expire – but haven’t taken out insurance yet, it may be difficult to purchase cover that includes coronavirus-related travel disruption.

Which? recommends new customers look out for policies that include “travel disruption cover”, which allows travellers to claim for costs associated with delays, missed departures or an unplanned extended stay in a destination for those who can’t get home.

Travel insurers are expected to pay out a minimum of £275m in coronavirus-related claims this year, according to estimates from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

This would be the biggest annual cancellation payout ever, almost double the previous record set in 2010.

“Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the travel insurance market, with dozens of providers amending policies or pulling them altogether,” said Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?.

“This is creating confusion and uncertainty for consumers, who may feel they simply cannot make plans for future trips in the circumstances.

”The government, insurers and the travel industry must work together to tackle the huge challenge posed by coronavirus, to ensure people feel confident enough to travel in the knowledge that they will be covered.“

Firms no longer selling travel insurance

  • AA
  • Admiral
  • Alpha Insurance
  • Asda
  • Aviva
  • Boots
  • Churchill
  • Clydesdale Bank
  • The Co-op
  • CoverMore
  • Direct Line
  • Esure
  • ETA
  • First Direct
  • Flexicover
  • Fogg Travel
  • HSBC
  • LV
  • More Than
  • M&S Bank
  • Now I Can Travel
  • Post Office
  • Puffin Insurance
  • Sainsbury’s Bank
  • Santander
  • Sheilas’ Wheels
  • Spectrum
  • TopDog
  • Virgin Money
  • Yorkshire Bank
  • Zurich

Firms that have changed their terms

  • AllClear – no new cover for coronavirus-related claims
  • Axa – no new cover for coronavirus-related cancellation
  • Allianz Assistance UK – from 12 March, no new cover for coronavirus-related claims
  • Columbus Direct – from 13 March, no new cover for coronavirus-related claims
  • Debenhams – from 16 March no new cover for coronavirus-related claims
  • Direct Travel – from 17 March, no new cover from coronavirus-related claims
  • Ergo is still selling annual policies, but with exclusions regarding any epidemic or pandemic as declared by WHO
  • Holidaysafe is still selling travel insurance, but policies now include a Covid-19 specific exclusion
  • InsureandGo – no new cover for coronavirus-related incidents
  • Nationwide – from 18 March, new policies won’t cover coronavirus
  • NFU is still selling annual policies to existing home insurance customers but has stopped the sale of single-trip policies
  • Saga – from 13 March, no new cover for coronavirus-related claims
  • Staysure – no travel disruption extension for new customers

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