HOLIDAYS could be back on the cards for Brits if the government ditched the 14-day blanket quarantine rules for everyone coming into the UK.
The government is expected to announce later this week which countries will be on the safe list, meaning people won't have to stay home for two weeks when they return to the UK.
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If you are planning on going abroad you'll want to get travel insurance in case anything goes wrong on the trip.
Many insurers stopped selling holiday cover after the start of the pandemic as travellers rushed to protect their future trips abroad.
Plenty have now returned to the market but almost all of the policies now feature clauses that exclude cover for Covid-19 or even any future pandemics.
There are, however, some that will cover you if you catch the virus while abroad – but only one of them will pay out if any upcoming trips are cancelled because of the outbreak.
Here, we take you through the insurance firms that do offer cover during the pandemic – and what you need to look out for when buying it.
What travel firms will cover coronavirus?
There are only a handful of travel insurers that will cover you if you catch Covid-19 when you're abroad.
Prices vary depending on where you go, how long for and how much excess you agree to pay.
Which countries are considering air bridges?
SPAIN, France and Italy are set to be among the first to have air bridge agreements with the UK.
It is expected to be in place this week, joining a host of other nations including Germany, Bermuda, Gibraltar and Austria.
UK tourists could eventually visit Portugal too, as both countries have agreed to potentially allow access to the country for British families without quarantining.
Portugal's foreign minister confirmed his country is talking to UK counterparts about air bridges so tourists can avoid being quarantined.
Augusto Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "quarantine is an enemy of tourism".
He added: "Our diplomats will work together to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected on their return to England to any kind of quarantine."
And these would only be in the first step, with the Caribbean, Canada and Dubai allowing for holidays in August.
However, for those eyeing up a trip to the USA or Mexico, you could have to wait until December – and the Grand Cayman Islands isn't due to reopen until the autumn.
Some insurers aren't accepting new customers, while others have updated their policies for existing policy holders – we've specified this where possible.
Of course, it's worth noting that all of the policies are invalid if you travel against advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
These are companies that offer the services and exactly what they will cover.
Insurers accepting new customers:
- Alpha Travel Insurance – Existing and new customers will be covered for any medical costs incurred as a result of catching Covid-19 while on holiday.
- Insurancewith – Only covers medical costs if you contract coronavirus abroad.
- JS Insurance – Only emergency medical costs incurred by contracting coronavirus while on holiday will be covered.
- Post Office – Emergency medical and repatriation costs will be covered if you contract coronavirus while on holiday.
- Saga – Covers emergency medical cover if you fall ill with coronavirus while on your trip.
- Staysure – Emergency medical cover is covered if you contract coronavirus abroad. It has withdrawn the sale of disruption cover.
- Trailfinders – Covers medical expenses if you catch the virus overseas. You can claim for cancellations only if your trip can't go ahead because you've contracted Covid-19 or have been ordered to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
Insures who have updated policies for existing holders:
- Asda – Existing customers are only covered for medical costs if they catch coronavirus while abroad.
- Boots – Existing policy holders will only be covered for expenses for emergency medical care needed while abroad if you caught coronavirus.
- Esure – Policies that were bought or renewed on or after December 19 2019 will only cover your medical costs if you catch coronavirus abroad, and medical repatriation (bringing you home) costs.
- Flexicover -Existing policy holders are covered for any medical expenses and repatriation costs incurred while abroad if they contract Covid-19.
- Holidaysafe – Coronavirus medical related costs incurred while abroad will be covered for existing policy holders.
What won't they cover?
How to check if an insurance policy will cover you before you buy it
MOST insurers have inserted "no coronavirus claims
You should also look out for clauses that specify that you won't be covered for cancellations caused by an epidemic or pandemic.
There are three keys areas you need to look when buying travel insurance, according to consumer group Which?:
- Travel disruption cover – This will protect you for costs incurred as a result of delays, missed flights or being put in quarantine while abroad. Sometimes, you'll need to opt for it to be added on.
- Emergency medical cover – This is how much the insurer will pay out if you need medical treatment. The consumer group recommends you take out £2million for Europe and £5million worldwide.
- Excess – This is how much you'll have to pay before your insurer pays out. Make sure it's affordable for your otherwise you won't get help if you can't afford the initial payments.
None of the travel insurance policies listed above will offer any cover for you if you travel against FCO advice.
There is currently an FCO travel ban on all non-essential travel, which includes holidays.
The policies won't cover you even if you're travelling to a country that the UK has agreed to form an air bridge with.
This just means that you won't have to quarantine when you arrive in the UK after visiting one of these nations, not that it's safe to travel.
There is only one policy that will cover you if your trip is cancelled due to coronavirus and that's one with Trailfinders.
However, you'll only get your money back if your holiday was cancelled because you caught the illness or you've been asked to self-isolate for 14 days by N&S Test and Trace.
You won't be covered if your trip is cancelled due to the pandemic for any other reason.
You'll have to look to the airline, holiday provider or credit card provider for a refund in these cases.
Will I have to quarantine if I go abroad?
If you travel to a country that the UK has agreed to form an "air-bridge" or "travel corridor" with then you won't have to quarantine.
On June 25, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed air bridges will only be agreed with countries which have a coronavirus test and trace system at the same standard as the UK as well as a low rate of the virus.
Spain, France and Italy are set to be among the first to have air bridge agreements with the UK.
If you return to the UK from countries that aren't air-bridges, such as the US or Mexico, then you will have to quarantine for 14 days.
Those who don't self-isolate could be slapped with a £100 fine.
Police are conducting checks to ensure people are quarantining and not leaving their residence for the two-week period.
Magistrates also have the powers to prosecute or to issue unlimited fines for persistent breaches of the new self-isolation rule, or for refusal to pay a fine that has already been issued.
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