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Travel insurance still valid if Foreign Office travel advice changes mid-trip

Holidaymakers can go abroad confident their travel insurance will continue to provide cover if Foreign Office advice changes while on holiday so long as they followed the advice at the time of departure, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has confirmed.

However, “travel against Foreign Office advice would invalidate travel insurance”, ABI insurance policy director general James Dalton told Travel Weekly, saying: “It has always been the case. That remains the position.”
Dalton said: “We’ve tried to be upfront with customers about that.

“If you’re overseas when Foreign Office advice changes, you continue to be covered. Travelling against advice invalidates insurance, but it’s not invalidated if advice changes after departing.”

The ABI view may strengthen the legal claims of consumers seeking full refunds for holiday cancellations to destinations where flights continue to operate but the Foreign Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel.

On the Beach and Loveholidays quit Abta last month over its insistence members refund customers in line with FCDO advice. The OTAs say there is no legal requirement under the Package Travel Regulations to cancel and refund where a holiday could still go ahead.

An initial estimate of the cost of Covid insurance claims in the UK alone totalled £1.8 billion.
Dalton, who will address Abta’s Travel Convention on October 14, insisted: “The core nature of travel insurance is unlikely to change.

“We are likely to see developments around the treatment of Covid. Some [insurers] will cover it and some won’t.”
He said: “Customers need to be clear about what they want and purchase accordingly. It’s important for consumers not to base their purchases on price.”

Dalton confirmed insurers are “looking to the government to take forward the recommendations” of the Airline Insolvency Review, saying: “We’re broadly supportive. These combine an airline levy with a bond-based insurance scheme.”

He noted: “It’s questionable whether it should be taxpayers who pick up the cost of repatriating people. In the review’s opinion, the travelling public should pick up the cost combined with a bond.”

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