Travel Insurance & COVID-19 – Essential Advice & FAQs

COVID-19 Travel insurance
Image Credit: xlibber. Used under CC licence.

Due to the developing situation surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is currently advising against non-essential travel to several countries. To check the latest travel advice for your destination please visit https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/

To help you holiday safely over the coming weeks, the AA Travel Insurance team have put together some essential advice for Annual and Single-Trip travel insurance customers below.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a global pandemic, what does this mean for my travel insurance?

Customers who purchase Travel Insurance after 16/03/2020

  • Any customer who purchases a new policy after 16/03/2020 will not be covered for Coronavirus (COVID-19) related cancellation claims
  • If your trip is cut short – Curtailment claims in relation to Coronavirus will be considered if there is an updated ‘no travel’ notification from DFA for your destination while on holiday
  • Medical Expenses claims will be considered if you contract Coronavirus COVID-19 while on holiday (provided you are not travelling against the advice of the Department of Foreign affairs)

Customers who purchased Travel Insurance before 16/03/2020

  • Cancellation, Curtailment and Medical Expenses claims in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) will be considered for any trips booked before 16/03/2020
  • Any existing customer who purchases a new trip after 16/03/2020 will not be covered for cancellation in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    • If your trip is cut short – Curtailment claims in relation to Coronavirus will be considered if there is an updated ‘no travel’ notification from DFA for your destination while you are on holiday
    • Medical Expenses claims will be considered if you contract Coronavirus COVID-19 while on holiday (provided you are not travelling against the advice of the Department of Foreign affairs)

Which countries have COVID-19 travel restrictions and how does that impact my Travel Insurance policy?

As the situation is evolving we urge you to keep up to date with the latest information from the Department of Foreign Affairs

Simply follow the link and select the country you are planning to travel to.

https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/

I can’t get my flights home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions now imposed, what am I covered for

AA Travel insurance customers may submit a claim for additional accommodation costs should they have to extend their stay due to their return flight being cancelled in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In order to reclaim their costs for return flights, customers must first approach the airline to retrieve those costs or book an alternative flight. If customers are unsuccessful at reclaiming their costs, or booking an alternative flight they may refer to claims to have their claim considered.

I have been quarantined because of the Coronavirus outbreak, what am I covered for?

Claims for rebooking of return flights will be considered for those customers who have been quarantined while on holiday. Customers should first approach their airline/travel provider before submitting a claim. Claims will only be considered for those customers who are not travelling against the advice of the DFA or similar body.

Additional costs such as loss of earnings are not covered under an AA Travel insurance policy.

 If my trip is affected by the spread of the Coronavirus, who should I contact?

In the first instance, you must contact your travel provider to reclaim costs for trips which have been cancelled or curtailed.

If you are an AA Travel Insurance customer and your travel provider refuses to refund you, you can contact the AXA Assistance Claims Centre (the policy underwriter) by calling 00 353 143 11204.

What are my entitlements if the airline cancels my flight?

In the event that your flights are cancelled by the airline, they must offer you a choice between

  • A new flight as soon as possible
    • A new flight at a later date at your convenience
    • A refund

If you choose the first option and you are travelling home, the airline must also provide you with care and assistance while you wait for your new flight. This includes

  • Meals and refreshments as reasonable while you wait
    • Hotel accommodation if an overnight stay is required
    • Transport between the hotel and the airport
    • Two free phone calls/access to email

You can find more information on your entitlements in the event of a cancelled flight here.

If my flight is cancelled due to DFA advice, can I be refunded for pre-booked accommodation?

If you booked your accommodation through your travel provider, you will need to contact them directly to seek a refund.

If you booked your accommodation independently, you must first seek a refund from the accommodation provider. If this is unsuccessful, you may then refer your claim to your travel insurance provider. 

My flight isn’t cancelled, but I no longer want to travel. Can I get a refund?

If your flight is proceeding as planned and the DFA has not warned against non-essential travel to your destination, then you will not be entitled to a refund.

However, if the DFA has stated that you should not travel to your destination, then you should approach your airline to request a refund.

If you are unsuccessful at reclaiming your expenses, you may refer to our claims team for assistance.

The DFA is advising against travel to my destination. Can I still go?

If you travel against the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs or World Health Organisation, any subsequent claim relating to the Coronavirus (e.g. curtailment or medical costs) could be denied.

This will not apply in cases where you can provide proof that your travel was essential.

You can check the latest travel advice for your destination by visiting:

https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/

OR

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice

I am currently in an area covered by a DFA alert. Can I make a claim if I shorten my holiday?

If you are currently visiting an area and the DFA issues a warning against non-essential travel to that area, we would encourage you to comply with the warning and leave. If you choose to do so, you can submit a claim for any unused accommodation or costs resulting from a change of departure date.

If you choose to stay in the area against DFA/local authority advice, you will only be covered for any subsequent claim if you can prove that your trip was essential.

An alert advising against travel to my destination has been issued. Can I make a travel insurance claim?

If your trip was booked before the WHO and/or DFA alert was issued, you will be able to submit a claim provided you also purchased your insurance before the alert was issued. However, you must first contact your travel and accommodation providers to seek a refund.

However, if you booked your trip after a WHO and/or DFA alert against non-essential travel was issued, you will not be able to make a travel insurance claim for any resulting costs. In this situation you will need to seek a refund from the travel provider.

What if I contract Coronavirus while abroad?

If you contract the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) while abroad, seek medical assistance immediately. Do not attempt to travel outside of your current location or board your return flights. In this event, medical expenses you experience will be covered by your travel insurance provided you are not travelling against the advice of the DFA or WHO.

My destination is currently unaffected, can I still travel?

If your destination is not currently covered by a WHO and/or DFA warning, you do not need to change or cancel your plans. However, as the situation is constantly evolving, we advise checking the latest travel advice for your destination at the links below regularly in the lead up to your holiday:

https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/

OR

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice