The travel insurers Aviva, InsureandGo and the Post Office have followed LV= and withdrawn cover for future coronavirus claims.
LV= shocked the travel industry on Wednesday night when it announced that it would stop selling all travel insurance policies with immediate effect due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The insurance giant Aviva said on Thursday that it had halted all single-trip direct travel insurance for new customers travelling to Italy “to reflect the current risks posed by coronavirus”.
Customers buying cover for trips to other destinations will no longer be able to select its “travel disruption” or “airspace closure” add-ons, Aviva said.
The move has been prompted by the World Health Organization declaration of a pandemic, and is likely to be followed by other insurers. It means that anyone who has not already bought cover for future holidays will be unlikely to be able to get coronavirus cover.
The Post Office said it would continue to sell travel insurance policies but there is no longer cover provided for any claims related to Covid-19 for policies purchased after 11 March 2020 – the date of the WHO’s a pandemic announcement.
InsureandGo, owned by Mapfre, said on Thursday morning that customers who bought a policy after 11.59pm on 11 March will not be able to make any claim relating to the virus. Travellers who bought policies from all the firms prior to 11 March will be able to bring claims as before, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.
The Post Office said it was monitoring the situation very closely and would update its travel alerts webpage with the latest information for policy holders.
“Insurance is designed to provide cover for unforeseen and unexpected events and is priced on this basis. The outbreak of the Coronavirus means there is an increased likelihood of disruption to people’s travel plans. We envisage that these decisions, affecting only Aviva’s travel insurance new business, will be temporary actions,” said an Aviva spokeswoman.
As the coronavirus outbreak has spiralled out of control travellers and insurers have watched on with increasing horror. Travel insurance cancellation typically only kicks in when the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to a country. Travel disruption cover will sometimes step in, but it is limited and often absent from the cheaper policies.
Travellers faced with flight cancellations, lockdowns, and a growing list of countries refusing entry to tourists have found to their cost that they are not covered.
If the UK government advised against all but essential travel to, say, Spain the cost of claims would likely send some insurers to the brink. Despite this, the number of people buying travel insurance rose sharply last month.
An ABI spokesperson said: “Existing policies remain unaffected. Travel insurance for new customers remains widely available, so people should shop around for the cover that best meets their needs. In a competitive insurance market, insurers will be monitoring carefully the fast-moving developments in the coronavirus outbreak, and will keep their position under constant review as the situation develops.