Covid: Insurance threat for pinged holidaymakers

1 month ago 60

By Kevin Peachey
Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionCovid has created hurdles for people wanting to travel overseas this summer

A host of travel insurance policies will not cover cancellation costs if holidaymakers are told to self-isolate owing to a close Covid contact.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been pinged recently by the NHS app or contacted by the tracing service.

Analysts Defaqto said nine in 10 travel insurance policies cover the cost of cancelled holidays if the policyholder tests positive for Covid.

But for cases of self-isolation, cover falls to fewer than six in 10 policies.

The practical effects of self-isolation requests - dubbed the pingdemic - have crossed work and home lives, and led to considerable political debate.

Much of that has concentrated on people's ability to work safely, particularly in critical roles.

There has also been concern among holidaymakers, desperate for a summer getaway, that their plans may be scuppered by contracting Covid or coming into close contact with someone who has the virus.

The latest information from data specialists Defaqto, which analyses the insurance sector, found that 88% of single trip travel insurance policies on the market in the UK would pay out if a holiday was cancelled owing to a positive test.

However, this drops to 56% if cancellation is owing to a self-isolation request. The figures are almost identical for annual policies.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionPeople who test positive for Covid are more likely to have insurance cover

Anyone who receives notification from NHS Test and Trace is legally required to self-isolate, whereas a ping from the NHS app is advisory, but strongly recommends isolation.

Anna-Marie Duthie, from Defaqto, said some insurers would be sympathetic to those required to self-isolate, so people in that situation should talk to their insurer about a claim.

"Policyholders should read their policies carefully to be sure they fully understand what cover they have, and if in doubt should contact their insurers before changing any travel plans," she said.

The vast majority of people take out travel insurance policies for overseas trips, although there is also cover available for domestic travel.

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