The COVID-19 outbreak has made a serious impact on various sectors worldwide, and the travel and tourism industries are among those that are most affected. According to the BBC, the number of daily flights has dropped by as much as 80 per cent since the start of the year. Many holidaymakers have cancelled their plans or postponed them indefinitely.
If you are among those who had plans to go on a trip this year, you are likely wondering whether you can get a refund on your travel insurance. In some instances, companies offer pro-rata refunds based on certain considerations. Another option for travellers is changing the dates of travel on the policy.
When should I request a refund?
Request for a refund as soon as possible. You should do this because the sooner you request for one, the more funds you might get back. Note, though, that you might not be able to get your insurance back since some companies might not be offering refunds. You should only cancel your policy if you have no more plans to rebook anytime soon.
Furthermore, sort out your refund before cancelling your insurance, since the money you get could cover cancellation fees that you might incur. Again, make sure you cancel only if you are sure you do not need the coverage.
Can I request for a refund anytime?
Most insurance companies grant plan holders a ‘cooling-off period.’ During this time, you have the right to cancel your policy without needing to pay a cancellation fee. This period usually lasts for 14 days after the purchase.
If you bought your policy in the last two weeks, then, you would be able to request a refund without any issues. However, some companies could charge an administration fee. If you had purchased a plan even further back, you have to double-check with the company.
Which companies are offering refunds?
Insurance companies have different policies regarding refunds during this pandemic. For some, they only refund annual policies. Others only offer options for changing the dates on single-trip policies. There are also different rules on the amount that travellers can refund.
Admiral, AXA, Churchill, Co-Op, and Direct Line are all offering variants of refunds on both annual policies and single-trip ones. Allianz Assistance, Aviva, and More Than do not offer refunds on annual policies, but have various refund types for single-trip policies. LV has no listed policy for annual holders, but refund certain types of single-trip plans. Finally, Saga decides on a case-to-case basis. Here is a table that elaborates on these.
What if my insurance company refuses a refund?
If a company refuses to give a refund despite a trip’s cancellation due to COVID-19, plan holders can elevate their claim to another authority. The Competition and Markets Authority or CMA says that companies can face legal action if they disregard the law.
One way that insurance companies attempt to settle this is by giving a voucher for the insurance cost. The CMA notes that these vouchers may only be useful at a time when free travel is available for everyone.
Seek assistance and legal advice if your insurance provider refuses a refund. Complete the Coronavirus Business Complaint Service form and alert the CMA to this unfair treatment. If you want to get a refund, you should get in touch with your insurer and relevant entities.
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