British travel insurers now refusing to cover virus-related cancellations

Published:  19 May at 6 PM
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Elderly Brits hoping to evaluate Spain as a retirement destination via a reconnaissance trip can’t now get travel cancellation insurance.

The majority of Britons settled along the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol are either retirees or older expats with small businesses in the hospitality sector. As is normal with those planning to relocate overseas, most will have visited several times before finally making the decision to leave the UK. As do most sensible travellers, they’ll have taken out travel insurance for their trips in order to cover the cost of accidents or illnesses whilst in Spain.

For those who’re planning to follow this path, they’re now on their own as regards travel insurance of any kind, as all the major players in the sector are now quietly changing their policies to exclude covid-19 coverage. Having already stopped selling the popular and necessary insurance in March, they’ve decided to re-issue cover but are specifically excluding claims for anything related to the pandemic as the virus is a ‘known event’. The exclusion as a reason for a claim includes cancellations for whatever reason but doesn’t as yet include treatment for the virus.

Spokespersons for the industry are claiming the exclusion is only temporary, but experts in the Spanish tourism sector are fearing it will last at least until a vaccine is widely available. Given that knowledgeable estimates concerning this magical event are set at no less that a year, the overseas hospitality trade is set to be harmed even more by the insurers’ actions, even although insurers are insisting the exclusions will only apply to cancellation claims. Given the reluctance of low-cost airlines to reimburse those who couldn’t or had decided not to travel and the financial situation of the airlines due to the pandemic, the insurers’ decision is likely to ruin any chance of a tourism renaissance in Spain as well as affecting those Brits who’d planned to retire in the Costas in the near future.

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