COVID-19: Travel insurers’ positions
To date, there has not been a unified approach between all travel insurers with respect to a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is therefore advisable that, before booking any travel or proceeding with any travel that has previously been booked, you read your travel insurance policy wording to determine if COVID-19 related events are claimable under the policy.
In that regard, we have noticed that a number of insurers are now refusing to honour claims in circumstances where the loss is either directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19. This is because, as a result of the World Health Organisation declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, any loss caused by the virus can no longer be classed as ‘unforeseen’ or ‘unforeseeable’.
Generally, a travel insurance claim will only be triggered in circumstances where the events are ‘unforeseen’ or ‘unforeseeable’ and in circumstances where COVID-19 is now a known issue worldwide, many policies will no longer respond to that event.
In circumstances where the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued Level 4 Alert, or ‘Do Not Travel’ advice in respect of a particular country, each policy may respond differently as to whether you will be able to be refunded for travel expenses that you have cancelled.
Again, it varies from policy to policy, though it may depend on when the travel was booked as to whether you receive a refund or not.
Certain insurers are now refusing claims for travel that was booked after the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs issued ‘Do Not Travel’ advice. We recommend that you review your travel insurance policy if you have recently had to cancel travel due to the advice of the Australian Government.
Those travel insurance policies that no longer respond to COVID-19 related claims, will still respond to all other claims, so long as the damage sustained was not as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.
Again, we recommend that you review your travel insurance policy to determine if your policy will respond before proceeding with any travel.
For further information, please reach out to our team below.
This publication covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.