Direct Line and Churchill remove some Covid restrictions on travel insurance

Direct Line and Churchill have removed some restrictions to travel cancellation cover that were put in place last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The move will mean broader cover where claims relate to disruption caused by Covid-19 – and give customers greater confidence to travel if they wish to – according to UK Insurance Limited, which owns the brands.

Insurers across the industry have been offering varying levels of “Covid cover”, making it vital for policyholders to check their terms and conditions. Many have put coronavirus exclusions in place during the pandemic.

UK Insurance said that customers will now have a choice of cancelling their trip or continuing to travel, in cases where Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice changes to being against “all but essential travel” after a trip has been booked.

From Tuesday, should Direct Line or Churchill customers’ travel plans be affected by such a change in FCDO advice, they will have the option of either submitting a cancellation claim or continuing with their trip in the knowledge that they will continue to receive full protection from their policy if they choose to travel, it said.

Policies will cover the FCDO advising against all travel or all but essential travel to a destination within 28 days of departure due to Covid-19 restrictions – provided the advice was not in place at the point of purchase of either the trip or the travel insurance.

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line and Churchill said: “Our new approach aims to support the recovery of the travel industry and will give customers greater confidence to travel if they wish to, whilst offering the choice of cancelling or travelling where FCDO advice is against ‘all but essential’ travel.”

Direct Line and Churchill travel policies will cover cancellation of a trip as a result of a passenger being instructed to quarantine or self-isolate – including cases where someone is contacted by NHS Test and Trace but has not been diagnosed with Covid-19.

Trip cancellations due to a government lockdown as result of Covid-19, preventing travel, will also be covered.

And trip cancellations due to pre-booked accommodation no longer being available due to the local area being adversely affected by Covid-19 will also be included.

Alongside these updates, policies will continue to cover emergency medical costs relating to a new Covid-19 diagnosis once trips have started and cancellation where the policyholder, a close relative or travelling companion have received a positive Covid-19 diagnosis in the UK and cannot start their trip.

The insurers said they will also continue to cover cutting a trip short due to a change in FCDO advice while on holiday.

Mr Bishop continued: “It’s important to remember that when preparing for a trip, all required documentation and testing requirements are organised ahead of travelling.

“If customers are unable to travel, then we require them to seek the recovery of costs or to rebook with their travel provider where possible. However, our policies are there to act as a safety net for our customers when they need us.”

Customers can check what is covered at either the Direct Line or Churchill websites.

The change announced on Tuesday also applies to the worldwide family travel insurance offered to customers of Nationwide Building Society’s FlexPlus current account.

Direct Line underwrites this insurance through UK Insurance.

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