The outbreak of Coronavirus

26th February 2020

As the deadly Wuhan Coronavirus continues to spread, concern is growing among travellers with bookings for China and other east Asian countries later this year.

As of 26 February 2020, there have been 2,666 deaths and over tens of thousands of confirmed cases in China alone.

Around 600,000 British travellers visit mainland China each year.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against ‘all but essential travel’ to China.

The outbreak of Coronavirus in some regions of China is a rapidly developing situation and we would strongly advise anyone travelling to the country to look at the guidance issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is updated on a regular basis.

This can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china 

With the spread of the Coronavirus causing global concern, what does this mean from a travel insurance perspective?

From a travel insurance perspective, the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) expect that consumers who had purchased travel insurance and travelled before the FCO issued its advice on 29 January will be covered while in China (including in Hubei province if they travelled there before the original advice issued on 23 January).

Travel insurance includes medical expenses and so treatment costs for a traveller who becomes unwell in China should be covered up to the limit in the policy.

Most travel insurers offer a 24-hour emergency medical advice hotline and travellers who feel they might have been affected by this event are encouraged to call their insurers for help.

For consumers who had purchased travel insurance before 29 January and had booked travel that included visiting or passing China, BIBA would expect that they will be covered for any unused travel and accommodation costs if they are forced to cancel their trip and any necessary extra travel costs if they have to cut their trip short.

Insurers are now excluding cover since the FCO is advising against travel. Concerned consumers who had booked their trip via a tour operator or travel agent or using a credit card may wish should contact them to see if they can get a refund or have their trip re-arranged.

One of the most important preventive practices is frequent hand washing and hand sanitiser.

The World Health Organisation are monitoring the ever-changing situation and, alongside our insurer partners, we will continue to monitor developments.

All travel policies are different and we would advise people to read their policies carefully to see exactly what their policy covers.

If you have any questions relating to your travel insurance arranged through Horner Blakey please contact your account handler on 020 7929 0108

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