COVID -19 Travel Insurance Advice 

Updated Tuesday 12 January 2021 

 

Covid-19 travel insurance advice

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

For further information please visit the website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Policy coverage guidance from 4th July 2020

The following guidance has been provided by our broker, Arthur J Gallagher:

With effect from 4th July 2020, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) updated their guidance against Travel to EXEMPTED countries only. Therefore no restrictions against Travel will apply. These exempted Countries can be found here:-

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel

In respect of the RSA Personal Accident and Travel Insurance we appreciate you will have numerous questions around how cover will apply. At this time our broker Arthur J Gallgher can confirm:-

  • For any trips booked to exempted Countries on or after 4th July 2020, full cover will apply as per standard policy terms and conditions.
  • If Travel is approved by Institutions to any of the exempted countries, and during such time of a trip (or even prior to departure) the FCDO advice is re-enforced “against all but essential travel” then usual cover will apply. However, as we have seen over previous weeks and months we would strongly recommend seeking any refunds from Airlines and/or Travel Management Companies. 
  • It may also be worthwhile taking in to consideration the booking of only Flexible and refundable tickets, but learning of any implications Airlines may have for further disruption in their own Cancellation Policies before doing so.  We would expect Ticket costs to be slightly, if not considerably higher, during the foreseeable future whilst Operating Companies aim to recover any financial losses incurred during the lockdown period.  Thereby exposing both Insurers and Institutions to higher levels of reserves for potential claims and of course, impacting the overall performance of the London Universities Consortium account.
  • It is advisable when considering travel applications, of any local/foreign travel and border restrictions, as any delays/cancellations etc resulting from Third Country conditions could fall under the exclusion of ‘regulations made by any public authority or government or persons with the authority under legislation or licence to make regulations;’
  • For any trips booked before the 4th July, please be aware that as per the Policy wording terms and conditions, Cancellation/Curtailment cover will not apply as the risks were known at time of booking. Even though the restrictions have now been lifted, the policy operates on a basis of “trips booked”.   We are working with RSA to determine any alternative and positive take on this but at this time please be aware of these cover restrictions for trips booked before 4th July 2020.

 
For any person who returned to their home country (non-UK) as per University guidance, any trips within their home country will need to be referred to RSA accompanied by a completed Risk Assessment to determine if and what cover will apply. 

COVID-19 policy exclusion

There is no cover under the policy for amendments (Under Section B4.1 Cancellation, Curtailment, Rearrangement, Replacement, Missed Departure & Travel Delay) to your trip, resulting from:

A)      SARS-COV-2
B)      COVID-19
C)      or any derivative or mutation of A or B

And due to any law or guidance or regulation by any of the following:

i)                    the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, or,
ii)                   any other similar body for Insured Persons not resident in Britain, or
iii)                 any other legally empowered regulatory body or government or local authority

which advises against all travel, or advises against all but essential travel, or prevents, or restricts, or denies the Insured Person from travelling.

How to submit a Travel Insurance Claim

RSA will review each claim on its own merits.  Please read the instructions below before submitting a claim.

RSA have advised the following:

In order to trigger a claim under this policy, you have to evidence that the amount you have paid is not otherwise recoverable. We have recently obtained some Legal advice, which confirms Airline and Tour Operators are Legally obliged to provide a full refund in respect of Cancellation claims as a result of Covid-19.

The Flight Compensation Regulation and the Package Travel Regulations confirm that if the journey is cancelled due to "extraordinary circumstances" a full refund has to be provided to the traveller. We have asked our Panel law firm to prepare some standard template letter's, in order to support you to try and obtain a full refund and the first letter is attached, if you do not receive a response we can provide a second letter.

Again, if your trip has been booked using a credit card you have to evidence that any amounts paid are not recoverable to trigger the policy, as per your rights under section 75 of the Consumer Act 1974, which is stated below;

Your rights under Section 75

Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the credit card company is jointly and severally liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader.

This means it is just as responsible as the retailer or trader for the goods or service supplied, allowing you to also put your claim to the credit card company.<https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/can-i-claim-on-my-credit-card-when-something-goes-wrong>

You don't have to reach a stalemate with the retailer or trader before you can contact your credit card provider - you can make a claim to both the retailer and credit card provider simultaneously, although you can't recover your losses from both.

This right is particularly useful if the retailer or trader has gone bust, or it doesn't respond to your letters or phone calls.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act also applies to foreign transactions as well as goods bought online, by telephone or mail order for delivery to the UK from overseas.

To consider the claim further we must have evidence of the following;

*         That the loss is not otherwise recoverable

*         If you paid for the trip using a credit card? Supporting documents to show you also confirmed no refund is available through this route.

*         A copy of the contract if there is specific exclusion term being relied on by the Tour Operator/ Airline

*         It requires you send a letter asserting a request for refund of monies from Airline / Tour operator (This is the template letter attached)

*         Challenge any refusal in writing (We can provide this template letter as required)

 

 

Travel Assistance Contact Details

If a traveller contracts COVID-19 while abroad, it should be noted that the local domestic health authority will be treating patients, in line with the global response.

Should you need to make contact in an emergency:

For medical emergencies that require urgent assistance call the local emergency services.  Please make sure you are aware of the number prior to travel.  As soon as possible thereafter call the Medical & Security Assistance telephone helpline on +44 (0) 208 608 4100

If you require additional information relating to Medical or Security Assistance which is not available within the Healix App or via Risk Monitor, please also telephone the helpline: +44 (0) 208 608 4100.

In all instances remember to quote your policy number: RTT306251

 
COVID-19 Policy Exclusion  FAQ  

FAQs COVID-19 policy exclusion

Will the University travel insurance cover me in respect of COVID-19 or SARS-COV-2, or their variants?

Cover relating to Cancellation, Curtailment, Re-arrangement, Replacement, Missed Departure and Travel Delay has been removed in respect of Countries where:

i) the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO),

ii) or, any other comparable body for Insured Persons whose permanent place of residence is not in Britain, e.g. US State Dept. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

iii) or, World Health Organisation (WHO), or similar governing body, or,

iv) any other legally empowered regulatory body or government or local authority


advises against all travel, or advises against all but essential travel, or prevents, or restricts, or denies the Insured Person from travelling.

  • The exclusion removes cover where there is advice against travel, or laws / guidance / regulation prevents, restricts or denies travel, at the time that the trip is booked, and
  • The exclusion removes the cover if the Insured Person goes ahead with travel when restrictions or regulations are in place, and puts themselves at known risk of curtailment, rearrangement etc.
  • All external journey travel involves two or more countries, and as a result there is potential need to consult not only the FCDO, but also WHO or other similar bodies, or governments of another country who may put in place restrictions.

 

The insurance exclusion wording effective from 1st November 2020 Renewal follows:

Section B4.1 Cancellation, Curtailment, Rearrangement, Replacement, Missed Departure & Travel Delay Cover Covid-19 Exclusion

In respect of any Trip (including where the Operative Time extends to Business and Leisure Travel) booked on or after 1st November 2020 the following Exclusion is added to the Cancellation, Curtailment, Re-arrangement, Replacement, Missed Departure and Travel Delay Insurance Section

The Company will not pay

any claim which is directly, or indirectly, as a result of, or, is contributed to by, or, is as a consequence of:

A. severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) or B. coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) or C. any derivative or mutation of either A. or B.

where the Insured Person is arranging or booking to travel to or from, or, is travelling to or from, any country, or, area within a country, where there is any law or guidance or regulation by any of the following:

i) the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, or, ii) any other similar body for Insured Persons not resident in Britain, or iii) any other legally empowered regulatory body or government or local authority

which advises against all travel, or advises against all but essential travel, or prevents, or restricts, or denies the Insured Person from travelling.

For travellers going abroad, you should check the most up to date advice from the FCDO or the appropriate body. Here is the link to the FCDO website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  If the FCDO have shown a Country as advising against all but essential international travel and have then exempted that Country and allowed travel, then Cancellation Curtailment, Re-arrangement, Replacement, Missed Departure and Travel Delay will operate, but only where the exemption applies.

Where it is known that the exemption will be lifted and a booking is made before it is in implemented, cover will not be in place.

Does this exclusion affect other elements of our Travel Policy?

Other sections of the policy, including emergency medical expenses, are not subject to this exclusion or any other exclusion pertaining to COVID.

Does the exclusion apply to bookings made before 1st November 2020?

The exclusion is not retrospective and does not apply to bookings made before this date. Claims arising from bookings made prior to this date would be subject to the terms and conditions of the policy, which other than for this exclusion, are the same in the 2020/21 period of insurance as in 2019/20.

If a booking made before 1st November 2020 is amended on or after this date the amendments to the booking would be subject to the exclusion.

How does the Exclusion operate if on a Study Abroad or Long-Term Placement?

If you are a Study Abroad student or a member of staff or student on a long-term placement and you are planning to travel abroad from your placement country the principal source of guidance on whether travel is allowed should be the Government of the country in which you are based. However, it is important to understand requirements of destination territories and the FCDO site and WHO site can assist with this

Aside from applying Cancellation of the entire trip how else could the exclusion apply?

The exclusion does not just apply to Cancellation but also to Curtailment, Re-arrangement, Replacement, Missed Departure and Travel Delay and as such it important that travellers not only know whether travel is permissible but also what are the COVID related restrictions of Airlines and other Transport providers in making a journey and of the destination country in respect of testing and quarantining on arrival for example as the exclusion would apply to losses arising from failure to comply with these requirements


Travel Insurance Claims FAQ

Covid-19 travel insurance FAQs

Q. Where can I find a claim form?

Q. Where do I send my claim?

A.  Please send all claims to insurance@imperial.ac.uk

Q. Can I submit an insurance claim through my expenses

A. The policy excess will be waived for COVID-19 claims.  Finance Managers should not be accepting insurance claims through expenses, as noted in the Expenses policy here.

Q. What action should I take, if any, in advance of submitting a travel claim?

A. If a travel cancellation or disruption loss does occur, before submitting a claim, we suggest that you should first contact the travel agent, airline or hotel to seek a refund or make alternative travel arrangements based on existing tickets and bookings. After this, if you still have a loss that is unrecoverable from any other source, please submit a claim in the usual manner along with the original and amended itineraries and other relevant documents to substantiate the loss.

Q. Can I make a claim if I need to cancel pre-booked travel?

A. Our travel policy is defined by the FCDO.  If at the time of booking there was no travel restrictions then the policy will respond, subject to the terms and conditions.  We would advise all travellers to regularly check FCDO travel advice for their destination and any countries in transit.  If the advice changes to “against travel” and the traveller wishes to cancel or postpone their trip, they can submit a claim.

Q. Can I make a claim for costs against College Insurance if the event I am due to attend has been cancelled by the organiser?

A. If an organiser (not ICL) has cancelled an event, then the policy should respond.

Q. How do I get more information about my destination country?

A.    For country advice and assistance please use: Healix International, an advanced online country/city risk intelligence service. 

Travellers need to self-register at https://www.rsainsurance.co.uk/commercial-insurance-products/business-travel and follow the instructions for Healix International. 

You can also download the RSA Travel Assistance App or Healix Travel Oracle App from Google Play or Apple Store.

Q. Are there and APPS I can use for travel risk and medical assistance?

A.You can download the RSA Travel app for pre travel information as well as pre-programmed access to insurers 24-hour helpline and direct access to Healix for medical assistance.  The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.   You need to enter the Policy number RTT 306251 as part of the registration process.