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Coronavirus FAQs
Posted on 20 March 2020

Please see information below regarding tifgroup's stance and FAQs on COVID-19 Coronavirus.
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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://faqs.tifgroup.co.uk/ 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

I want to buy a new policy, why aren’t you selling insurance anymore?

Following the recent outbreak of COVID19 and associated border restrictions/FCO advice, we took the difficult decision to suspend policy sales for a number of reasons;

  • To ensure that we can protect and support our existing customers.
  • To avoid exposure for people who had previously booked trips but had not booked insurance who are now attempting to purchase a policy to cover what is now considered as a ‘known’ event.

We are monitoring the situation daily and will look to offer products in the future.

Some premium bank accounts and specific types of accounts have bundled travel insurance, which means you may not need to purchase specific cover if you already have a trip booked or are looking at making a trip booking for the future and once travel restrictions have been lifted.

 

List of account names:

Barclays – Premier

Citibank – Citigold

Co-op – Privilege

First Direct – First Directory

HSBC – Premier

Lloyds – Private / Gold

Nationwide – Flex

Natwest – Reward / Black / Platinum

RBS – Reward

TSB – Silver

Ulster – Private

Yorkshire – Signature

 

Where else can I get protection for my future trip if I can’t buy insurance?

Package travel regulations (PTR)

If a customer has booked via a travel agent or tour operator or has booked more than one thing, that must include;

  • Flight
  • Accommodation
  • Transfer

Then the trip is considered as packaged and the below applies.

  • Trips cancelled due to FCO advice would therefore fall within the remit of PTR and be eligible for a refund.
  • Trips where access is restricted or public life is subject to significant limitations (closures of tourist attraction etc..) should give passengers the right to cancel their trip with refund via PTR.
  • If passengers have a medical condition for which exposure to the COVID-19 is particularly dangerous, current advice is they should have the right to cancel their package travel contract if the risk of contamination with COVID-19 at the travel destination or its immediate vicinity is declared high by the competent authorities.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/634/regulation/1/made

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/package-travel-regulations

https://www.abtot.com/regulation/civil-aviation-authority-caa-atol/

https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak

 

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.

https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Resolving-travel-problems/How-the-CAA-can-help/Consumer-protection-law/

 

Existing Policies – changes

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

You will need to email the company you bought your policy from 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. They may be taking longer than usual to respond to queries but they will get back to you.

 

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

You will need to contact the company you bought your policy from providing the following details;

  • reason for the refund request,
  • confirmation that you are not intending to claim,
  • or that you have not had a previous claim on your policy.

Following this the team will be able to refund your policy premium in line with the cancellation terms in your policy wording.

Given the current circumstances, it may take us a little longer than usual to respond to queries but they will get back to you. You can find their contact details on your policy documents.

 

Can I upgrade my current policy?

We will look at these requests individually. However, as we have currently suspended sales of new policies, we are only considering requests for amendments to existing contracts for specific reasons that do not relate to COVID19, FCO advice or travel restriction. We would not be looking at this point in time to accept amendments as below;

  • Adding people to the policy, except where it is a newborn child on a family policy.
  • Upgrade to increased level of cover or that would include coverage for FCO or COVID19 related incidents.

However, we would be able to change geographical limits (for example, changing from European cover to Worldwide cover) 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.

 

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.

 

I have been provided with a quote before 13/03/2020, will you honor this quote?

If you have already been provided with a quote, we are happy to honor this but the following criteria must be met;

  • Your trip is not within 30 days of 17th March 2020 subject to further FCO advice.
  • You are not purchasing a policy for an area currently advised against travel, please check the FCO advice carefully for your chosen destination, which can be found on the link below. Currently the FCO advises British Nationals against all but essential international travel.
  • Your trip was not booked over 10 days ago.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

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

  • For Single Trip policies that have not yet started, we are happy to shift the dates to a trip which is more than 90 days from 17th March 2020 and within a year of the date you purchased the policy. 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.
  • If you wish to move your policy to trip which is more than 1 year ahead of when you purchased your original policy, this may also be subject to a premium adjustment due to having cancellation cover for an extended period of time.
  • We are not able to amend the start dates of a Multi Trip Policy or any policy where the start date is in the past.

 

Existing Policy queries

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

https://faqs.tifgroup.co.uk/

 

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 tifgroup 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?

None of the policies underwritten by tifgroup are renewed or are rolling contracts, instead we offer new 12-month policies to existing customers. We will be able to offer new 12-month multi trip products to customers who have expiring policies with us, however this may not be immediately after your expiry date as there are some current restrictions to current sales.

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?

tifgroup underwrite a number of different products on behalf of different partners, as well as our own. There were some products that did have coverage included but this was not standard across all products and the pricing was different for the policies that included cover for this situation. This 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. There is information further on about what alternative protection exists for customers further down this article.

 

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 add to my existing policy, can I medically screen?

Yes of course, for existing policies and newly diagnosed conditions only. 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.