It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has changed the face of travel as we know it. With countries being placed on traffic light style lists and quarantine now part and parcel of the travel conversation, going away can be a complex, costly and unpredictable process.

While things should eventually return to normal, the ongoing threat of COVID-related disruption makes it essential to get up to speed with if and how coronavirus affects your travel insurance. When it comes to COVID cover, it’s essential to make sure that you’re best protected and ready to go when the time comes.

Clearing up Misconceptions

A Which? study conducted in the spring shows that the lack of clarity about COVID-related cover from travel insurers is putting many travellers at risk. This is due to mistaken beliefs that they are covered for certain COVID-related events when they are not and vice versa. Which? is now calling for travel insurance providers to be clearer about Covid-cover terminology in the policy details on their websites as opposed to burying exclusions in the FAQs.

Which? are also asking the FCA to issue guidance to providers on the use of blanket terms such as “Covid Cover”.  While the latest research by Which? states that there are just two policies (out of more than 250 analysed) that offer full COVID-19 cover, this is not nearly as daunting as it sounds. This is because there is currently no universal definition of COVID cover and there are large discrepancies between different insurers.

These aforementioned “complete” policies cover you for cancellation if you can’t travel due to changes in Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office advice, or because of a lockdown. However, even “basic” policies still offer peace of mind by including emergency medical cover and repatriation for coronavirus while you’re away.

More comprehensive policies analysed as part of the Which? research will cover costs incurred from cancelling your holiday if you test positive for COVID-19. Those at the next level up – a total of 85 policies – cover cancellation if you’re told to self-isolate without testing positive yourself. This is usually done via a test and trace notification from the NHS app.

What about Domestic Travel?

Travellers still face plenty of hurdles to a successful trip such as new lockdowns at home or away. We’re also seeing countries change from the green or amber list to the red list at the last minute. This uncertainty has made a fair contribution to the rise of the staycation. 22 million people are expected to take a domestic holiday this year up to a value of £14.6bn.

Even though domestic travel also comes with hurdles such as local lockdowns and the risk of you or someone in your party being told to self-isolate at the last minute, fewer than one in three people would take out travel insurance for a UK break. This leaves you and your travelling companions vulnerable to both cancellation costs and the general risks of travel such as theft or non-emergency illness. Regardless of COVID-19, it’s important to do all we can to protect ourselves when travelling.

Setting up your Policy

As with all types of protection insurance, a lack of clarity and planning could end up costing you money and undue stress. Whether you’re planning a trip within the UK or overseas, it’s important to be aware of the finer details of your chosen policy. This includes any benefits and exclusions associated with COVID Cover and Enhanced COVID Cover.

As independent medical insurance specialist advisers, our team at Vintage Health analyse the whole market to find the most effective cover for every client. With the pandemic now classed by insurers as a “known risk”, expert guidance can be invaluable in helping you to find the most comprehensive cover and best value for money with your policy, such as flexible cover to protect against changes to the traffic light status.

Our review service will check that your current cover is providing the best possible value. We also offer guidance in how to prepare effectively for travel. This might include learning the COVID rules for your destination and staying up to date with the latest travel advice.


One thing’s for sure – the importance of travel insurance has never been quite so clear. To find out more about your options or review your current policy, contact our expert team today.