Nearly half of UK insurers have stopped selling travel insurance, according to recent findings from Which?.
Some 31 insurers, including Admiral, Aviva, Churchill, Direct Line, LV, More Than and the Post Office, have temporarily suspended the sale of travel insurance to new customers, according to the research group.
Existing customers will remain unaffected, however, if they purchased insurance before the outbreak escalated last month.
A further 13 insurers, including Axa, Saga and Staysure have changed aspects of their policy. Existing customers may be able to claim back the costs of cancelled holidays, or costs incurred trying to get home.
For customers who booked a trip beyond 16 April, when the Foreign Office advice against all foreign travel is due to expire, it may be difficult to purchase cover that includes coronavirus-related travel disruption if they have not yet taken out insurance.
Which? now recommends new customers should look for policies that include “travel disruption cover”, which allows travellers to claim for costs associated with delays, missed departures or an unplanned extended stay for those who are unable to get home.
It added: “As the situation is changing rapidly, we recommend you carefully check policy details and exclusions prior to purchasing a policy, or booking new trips with an existing annual multi-trip policy.”
The investigation comes after the Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimated that travel insurers will pay out at least £275m for coronavirus-related claims.
This would set a new record for annual cancellation payouts, almost doubling the previous record of £148m set in 2010. Insurers are expecting 400,000 claims for cancellation and disruption due to the pandemic.