Holidaymakers over the age of 60 thinking of booking for the Costa del Sol or the Costa Blanca in Spain this year may be in for a shock as insurance companies have reclassified the coronavirus as a ‘known event.’
Experts have warned that travel insurers have ‘quietly’ changed the wording of policies to exclude cover for the coronavirus.
Many firms stopped selling travel insurance in March as the pandemic took hold. The policies are now being reintroduced but with changed wording that specifically excludes claims relating to Covid-19 as it is now a ‘known event.’ This means that, despite travel agents reporting demand for holidays in 2021, any trips booked now are extremely unlikely to be covered by insurance if the holidaymaker changes their mind.
Experts said this would be a particular problem for those over the age of 60 who are most at risk from the virus and most likely to decide to cancel if there was any kind of second wave, which the WHO (World Health Organisation) has predicted.
Insurers said the current exclusions are only temporary, but travel experts fear the situation could last until a virus vaccine is widely distributed, which could be as far as a year away. Government advice currently restricts travel abroad but there are fears that even after these changes most travellers will be put off booking holidays because of a lack of cover.
Brian Brown, of Defaqto, the analysts, said that even after the pandemic is over it is “very unlikely that many if any, travel insurers will offer cover for coronavirus or similar events in the future.” He added: “Until the WHO declares the pandemic over you won’t be covered for cancellation in the event Covid-19 causes your holiday plans to change.”
Insurance will still pay out for medical claims arising from coronavirus, insurers have said.