Holidaymakers ‘take huge risk’ by travelling ‘outside of FCDO advice’ warns expert

Travel insurance: Expert says refunds ‘are not compulsory’

Holidays have been a contentious topic throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Although the government has long warned against travel, many Britons have decided to jet-set anyway. By travelling when the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advises against it is a risky business indeed.

Analysis of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) November International Air Passenger Traffic data has revealed a whopping 1,439,268 travellers may have travelled abroad uninsured during the UK’s second national lockdown in November 2020.

If one looks at July, August and September, too, over three million Britons may have been uninsured during November and these summer months, according to Medical Travel Compared, a specialist travel insurance comparison site.

Not all travel insurance offers full covid coverage and could be invalidated if you go against government advise.

Tommy Lloyd, MD of Medical Travel Compared, warned holidaymakers put their “health and finances” in jeopardy if they aren’t adequately protected.

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“Discovering that over three million travellers may have travelled uninsured in July, August, September and November is very worrying,” said Lloyd.

“Travel insurance is an essential element of taking a holiday, especially now when the whole world is experiencing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“By travelling outside of the FCDO advice, travellers are taking a huge risk with their health and finances by travelling to other countries.

“The decisions the government made during the European summer and ahead of the second lockdown were last-minute and without consultation of multiple industries that service the travel and tourism sector.”

Lloyd added: “This meant that the insurance industry, like many other businesses, were being asked to react to huge changes with little notice so many could not provide cover in time for holidaymakers’ trips.”

While travel insurance policies may be more comprehensive now compared to last year, it’s vital holidaymakers check the small print when buying cover.

Lloyd said: “The good news is that many insurers have adapted and travellers now have a range of COVID-19 travel insurance policies to choose from should they wish to go abroad, but only when the FCDO advise it is safe to do so.

“For those who would like to travel to a country once we’re out of lockdown and is within quarantine guidance there are insurance policies available, just remember to check the small print for all eventualities covered.”

Lloyd previously spoke exclusively to about how to go about buying travel insurance.

He emphasised the importance of buying travel insurance with a reputable company – and research is key.

“You should always buy your travel insurance from a company you’ve either heard of or a company you know you can trust,” the expert advised.

“It’s very easy to find reviews about companies on the internet, so I always recommend researching before finalising a purchase.”

He continued: “Working for a travel insurance comparison site, I believe comparing policies and prices is the best way to buy your insurance online.

“Using a comparison site like Medical Travel Compared means you can tailor your search to either find the cheapest deal or a policy that offers you the most comprehensive cover, which is the most important aspect. It also saves you from searching through every individual insurance websites.”

Lloyd also warned that you should be honest about your health. “Always declare your medical conditions to ensure you are covered should anything happen,” he said.

“A pre-existing condition includes physical and mental health conditions you’ve seen a doctor about or had ongoing medical treatment for, so it is essential that they are declared on your travel insurance.”

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