More than 88,000 people have now been infected by coronavirus, with the global death toll from the outbreak exceeding 3,000. Amid the spread of Covid-19, Martin Lewis has issued a “big warning” to holidaymakers.
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Speaking on Good Morning Britain last week, the financial journalist explained that he often talks about his “ASAB” travel insurance tip.
This stands for as As Soon As (You’ve) Booked, and Mr Lewis suggests holidaymakers adopt this acronym when they are planning their getaways.
“This is the big warning,” he began. “I do it every year – I talk about booking travel insurance ASAB – as soon as you book.
“Because if you don’t and something happens in the meantime before you get travel insurance, you’re not covered.”
Mr Lewis went on to explain what his holiday tip could mean in terms of the coronavirus outbreak.
He explained that travellers who have travel insurance would be covered should they then be told by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) say they cannot travel to their intended destination due to the outbreak.
However, should those who don’t have travel insurance in place be told by the FCO that the destination is no longer safe to travel to, then these holidaymakers would not be covered.
As such, they wouldn’t then be able to make a claim on their travel insurance for this reason.
“Well, anyone who has booked a holiday now for this year – if you have not got travel insurance, if you get the travel insurance and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office then says you can’t go to a country, you’re covered,” he explained.
“If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office rules out a country in future and you haven’t got travel insurance at that point, you’re not covered.”
The broadcaster also explained that it’s not the case that a person can just cancel a trip out of fear of catching coronavirus.
He warned that “unless the FCO has warned against travel to a country, you can’t claim on your travel insurance” if the holidaymaker doesn’t want to go.
It’s also important to note that cover depends on the travel insurance policy itself and the specific insurer.
“Not all travel insurance policies will cover you for pandemics but you should check and talk to your travel insurer,” Mr Lewis warned.
Sally Jaques from GoCompare Travel Insurance, said: “With the coronavirus spread showing no sign of easing ahead of the Easter break and with many holidaymakers set to travel abroad, we are seeing a shift away from customers buying ‘same day or within a week of travel’ to ‘one month to travel’.
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“This would suggest that customers are buying earlier for their Easter holidays, and other later dates. We are also seeing purchases increasing significantly, and comparing this to the same day last year, they’ve increased by 159 percent.
“The key message is to make sure you have travel insurance in place as soon as you’ve booked. If you’ve booked and haven’t got insurance, get it sorted as soon as possible.
“If you have insurance in place and the FCO advises against travel to your destination, you should be covered, whereas if they have listed your destination area as no travel before you buy your policy, an insurer won’t pay out.
“Travellers already in travel restricted zones and trying to leave will continue to be covered by travel insurance, whereas anyone actively trying to travel to these areas or any other area which has a travel restriction imposed by the FCO would now risk invalidating their travel policy.
“If you’ve booked a trip and now want to cancel it, then you may find your insurer won’t refund you if there’s no warning on travel to your destination.
“If you’ve booked flights and accommodation separately, it’s worth contacting the airline you’re flying with to seek their advice on disruption to future flights.
“We’d also urge people to get in touch with their insurer to check cover and restrictions, or for more specific advice relating to their policy.”
Coronavirus: Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice
The government website states that the FCO is “currently advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China”.
“If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so,” it adds.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is also advising against all but essential travel to:
- The cities of Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea
- Ten small towns in the Lombardy region and one in the Veneto region of Italy.
The FCO says: “If you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your existing travel plans, check with your airline, tour operator, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers as applicable.
“Individual providers may also have their own requirements for customers or passengers to meet.”
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