Coronavirus sees four major travel insurance firms suspend sales – who’s left

Three major travel insurers have joined LV= in stopping no longer offering policies to British holidaymakers as the coronavirus epidemic worsens.

Admiral, Churchill and Direct Line are the latest providers to pull sales.

All four stress that if you have an existing policy, it will still work, but have suspended travel insurance for new customers.

Others – including Axa – have said you can buy cover, but they simply won't pay out if it's coronavirus that causes problems with your trip.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, said: "Our concerns are being borne out with a large chunk of the insurance industry, including the biggest travel insurer AXA, suspending new travel insurance policies and putting coronavirus restrictions on existing ones.

“Anyone planning a holiday should get insurance as soon as they book. If you haven’t already booked insurance and are travelling soon we urge you to seek appropriate cover immediately from a reputable insurer.

"It's now even more urgent that the government, insurers and the travel industry work together to tackle the huge challenge posed by coronavirus, as the industry depends on people having the confidence to travel knowing that they will be covered." 

What the insurers have to say for themselves

  • Major travel insurer suspends all new cover due to ongoing coronavirus outbreak

  • Coronavirus: How to get your money back for cancelled football matches

A statement on Admiral's website reads: "We’ve made the difficult decision to pause the sale of new travel insurance policies in light of the global impact of coronavirus (Covid-19). We considered different options, such as excluding cover, for new customers before introducing this temporary measure.

"We strongly believe that pausing the sale of new policies to focus on our existing customers is the right decision and will keep monitoring the situation. Our existing customers are not affected."

Direct Line and Churchill told Mirror Money: "Due to the impact that coronavirus is having across the world we have experienced a huge increase in demand for travel insurance.  Our priority is to protect and service our existing customers and therefore we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the sale of travel insurance to new customers so that we can focus on our existing customers.

"We have not taken this decision lightly and we carefully considered many different options prior to reaching this decision.

"For our customers who already hold a travel insurance policy with us there is no change and they can continue to contact us to make a claim or amend their policy.

"We remain committed to the travel insurance market and would reiterate that this is a temporary measure and we will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Axa said it will still let people take out cover – but not pay out on claims relating to coronavirus.

"If you purchase a new policy now, it will not cover any trip cancellation or disruption in relation to coronavirus," its website reads.

"If you already have an annual multi-trip policy and you book a new trip now, you may not be covered to cancel that trip, or for any disruption you experience."

If you've worried about your trip – and don't have cover in place already – here is what the other major players are currently saying:

  • Aviva  no longer offers "travel disruption" or "airspace closure" cover to new customers. These offer protection against your journey being disrupted but also meant you would be covered if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against travel to your destination after buying a policy
  • The AA  is no longer quoting single-trip policies for Italy, France or Spain
  • Insure and Go  said policies bought "from 11.59pm on 11 March 2020, will no longer provide cover for claims relating to coronavirus disease; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) or any mutation of these"
  • Post Office travel insurance is telling customers you won't be covered if there is already advice from the FCO not to travel to a destination and policy add ons such as "Extended Travel Disruption (ERGO policies) or Natural Catastrophe and Terrorism, Enhanced Trip Disruption (Collinson policies)" will no longer include claims relating to coronavirus
  • More Than is still offering policies – but emphasises you won't be covered if booking somewhere area where the FCO advises against all or all but essential travel

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