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Coronavirus FAQs - Updated 23rd March 2020

COVID19 – Sales and Medical Screening
Please find below our FAQ’s in relation to COVID19 and associated travel advice which should cover most of the questions you might have in relation to policy sales queries and amendments to existing policies.


Claim queries


I am looking to make a claim for cancellation or want to put a claim in for something related to COVID19, FCO travel advice or border restrictions, can you give me advice?


Please review the FAQ’s for claims here https://www.first-travel-insurance.co.uk/covid-19-claims-faqs-helpful-advice/. Where you should find the answers to most commonly asked questions in relation to these circumstances.


I am looking to make a claim for Cancellation or Curtailment please can you send me a claims form.


Please be aware that claim forms can be downloaded online and we are currently unable to email or post these to you.


Before downloading a form, please review the information in our ‘important things we want to highlight’.  As general advice, please be aware that if your trip has been cancelled, rearranged or curtailed as a result of COVID19 and/or FCO advice, then it is likely that your transport and/or accommodation provider is going to be able to refund you. We will only be considering claims where you have approached the appropriate provider for either refund/reimbursement or change to trip dates, prior to submitting a claim to us. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.


If after approaching your accommodation and transport providers, you are still looking to make a claim for cancellation or curtailment relating to COVID-19 of change in FCO advice, you can download the relevant claim form from our website here.


Please complete this form fully and send it back to us with all the supporting documentation requested. Missing information could result in delays to the assessment of your claim.


New policies


New policies are available to purchase; however, the following exclusions have been added to our Policies:
  • There is no cover under this policy for cancellation, abandonment or curtailment claims if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises you not to travel, for example where the FCO advise against all but essential travel to an area affected by Coronavirus, COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2) or any mutation of Coronavirus, COVID19 or SARs-COV-2.
  • There is no cover under this policy for any claims as a result of Coronavirus, COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2), any mutation of Coronavirus, COVID-19 or SARs-COV-2 or any pandemic or fear or threat of any the above. Except for Section B3 Emergency Medical Expenses. This will only apply if you did not travel against the published advice of the FCO, any local government, local authority or WHO.


Flight company and Air Passenger Rights


Flight companies are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. If your flight operator cancels or can’t fulfil your flight then there is protection available under something called the ‘Montreal Convention’. Some airlines are going over and above their requirements and so it is important to contact them in the first instance to find out what support they can give you.


Flight cancellations by the airline need to be claimed directly from them, your insurer will not consider a claim unless you have sought a refund from your airline in the first instance.


All around the world, passenger rights for international flights are protected under the Montreal Convention. Essentially, this piece of law states that the airline is responsible for you if your flight is cancelled and/or you are left stranded at an airport waiting for a flight. These measures of care include:
  • Meals and refreshments
  • Communication to the outside world (two occasions)
  • Hotel accommodations when necessary
  • Rerouting to your final destination
In countries like Canada, Israel and the Member States of the European Union, your rights are protected even further.
Like any piece of law, it is complicated and not that easy to read! But below is a link and if you google CAA and Montreal Convention then you will find some useful information online that may help you.




Existing Policies – changes


My trip has been cancelled. I don’t need to claim but I want my insurance premium refunded.


Email us with your policy details, reason for the refund request and confirmation that you are not intending to claim, or that you have not had a previous claim on your policy and the team will be able to refund your policy premium in line with the cancellation terms in your policy wording. We may be taking longer than usual to respond to queries but we will get back to you.


Can I upgrade my current policy?


We can consider upgrades where you wish to change your travel dates, add an activity or change your selected territory, however, please be aware that dependent on pre-existing medical conditions it may be that worldwide cover is refused due to the increased risk.


We understand there may be situations where at the time of purchase you did not have a certain type of trip booked and that you now require for this trip- (for example winter sports or hazardous activities). We will consider these requests individually.


We cannot upgrade our policies to include any cover relating to travel restrictions, FCO advice or Coronavirus, COVID-19, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-COV-2), any mutation of Coronavirus, COVID-19 or SARs-COV-2 or any pandemic or fear or threat of any the above.


Can I extend my policy?


I am abroad and I don’t want to come back to the UK


Unfortunately, if your policy is due to expire and you are choosing to remain overseas, then we are unable to extend cover for you.


I am abroad and my amended flight home is after my policy end date


If your flight has been amended by your flight company due to the recent events, or due to your medical emergency as confirmed by the emergency assistance team, then you can extend cover. In the event of a medical situation your cover is automatically extended provided you do not remain overseas beyond the date you have been advised to return home or had repatriation arrangements offered to you.


Can I change the travel date on my current travel insurance policy?


For Single Trip policies that have not started yet, we are happy to shift the dates to a trip which is more than 90 days from 17th March 2020 and takes place within 12 months of your original policy issue date, in line with the policy  terms and conditions. Please note that this may be subject to a premium adjustment if the new trip is to a different geographical area and/or different duration to your original dates.


Existing Policy queries


If your query is in relation to a claims query please review our claims FAQ’s which can be found here;


Will I still be covered if I am on my cruise and the FCO change their advice on travel to a country I am due to travel to and the cruise ship has to go to a different location outside of the geographical area covered by my policy?


Yes, we would continue to cover you as normal, without charge and without the need to contact us, as we understand that this is outside of your control and not an intended change to your policy coverage needs.


Am I still insured if I travel against the advice of the FCO?


None of the policies underwritten by the insurer will provide cover if you decide to travel against the advice of the FCO. This would be for ‘All Travel’ and ‘All but Essential Travel’. If the area is classified as ‘All but Essential Travel’ and you are still planning to go, you will need to consider looking for a specialist product that provides coverage for these territories, this is unlikely to be a leisure travel policy.


Is my policy still valid if my connecting flight on the way back to the UK stops in an area/country which is against the FCO advice?


Providing you are transiting only (not leaving airside and not going through passport control)- we would cover you if on your return to the UK you have to pass through one of these areas. You may wish to contact your airline and see if there is an alternative route.


I am due to pay the balance on my holiday – which is currently an area advised against travel, will I be covered if I pay and then I am unable to travel due to FCO advice in the future?


We would consider this as a known event and so it is unlikely that the increased costs would be reimbursed on your insurance policy.  You will need to approach your booking agent to discuss your options. Your policy will only cover you for costs up to the date the advice changed and not costs you have committed to beyond that date.


Are you offering ‘renewals’ for annual multi trips?


Yes, however, PLEASE NOTE: There will be some significant changes to cover that you will need to be aware of. The terms on new policies will vary from the terms applied in previous policies purchased from us, in that we are no longer able to offer cover for change in FCO advice or COVID19 related circumstances.


Why doesn’t my policy cover FCO advice?


The insurer underwrite a number of different products on behalf of Rush Insurance. Coverage for this type of event was not standard across all products which is true for a lot of the Travel Insurance Market. This is simply because, generally speaking, this type of event is covered by either tour operator liability, package travel regulations or airline liability. So, it was not something that was required as protection existed for consumers elsewhere.


Currently abroad


I am currently travelling abroad, is my policy still valid?


If when your trip started there was no FCO advice against all but essential travel, then your policy is still valid.


However, the FCO currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. The government have urged people to return to the UK. Therefore we would recommend coming back to the UK. You will need to speak to your booking agent about finding an alternative flight home as soon as possible.


If you choose to ignore this advice, then we will be unable to continue insurance coverage beyond the date that you were physically able to return back to the UK.


How do I get home?


You would need to urgently speak with your booking agent in order to get a flight back to the UK.
Please note: We are not be able to assist in getting you home unfortunately, unless this is due to your injury or illness, and this has been agreed by our assistance team. It is important to note that medical repatriations are currently being prioritised to ensure the safety of those who are unwell and the assistance team will not be able to support you with returning back to the UK due to FCO advice.


Are the costs of returning home early covered under my travel insurance policy?


This type of situation is not usually covered under travel insurance policies. We understand however that many transport providers are offering ticket changes at little or no cost to customers affected by change in FCO advice.


In the first instance, we would recommend that you contact your tour operator/travel agent to see if they are able to re-arrange your return travel for you. If you are travelling independently from a tour operator/travel agent, you should contact your airline/transport provider to see if they are able to alter your return ticket. There are some details further down the page as to who you can approach to support you before submitting a claim to our team.


You will need to evidence that you have approached and been refused a refund for these costs before we will consider a claim.  You should also check that you purchased a policy which covers curtailment due to FCO advice changes.


You can look at the curtailment (cutting short your trip) section of your policy wording to see if a change of FCO advice is covered.


Medical Declarations


I bought a policy but did not medically screen when I bought my policy and now want to add my conditions?


If you bought your policy within the last 14 days then we can do this for you. We would expect customers to declare their existing medical conditions at the point they purchased their policy, and so for policies purchased over 14 days ago, this will need to be referred to underwriters who may decide not to extend cover for existing medical conditions.


I bought a policy but have a newly diagnosed medical condition/change in health that I want to add to my existing policy, can I medically screen?


Yes of course. It is important to understand that if you needed to claim then the claims handlers would request details of your medical records, in order to determine that the change in health/diagnosis corresponds with your medical history. Please also be aware there would be no cover for claims as a result of COVID19 or associated FCO advice.

This article was posted on 23-03-2020