Post Office Resumes Selling Travel Insurance—But There’s a Catch

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June 2020
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Post Office Resumes Selling Travel Insurance—But There’s a Catch

The Post Office has resumed selling travel insurance, with some cover for coronavirus—but only for trips in the future, after the government’s advice not to travel is lifted.

The Post Office suspended all sales of travel insurance policies in March, along with many other insurers, as coronavirus fears grounded flights and prompted countries to close borders and quarantine new arrivals.

Now, after a three-month hiatus, Post Office travel policies are back on the market, including for single trips, annual multi-trips and backpackers.

The policies will include as standard cover for emergency medical and repatriation costs, if the holders fall ill, including with COVID-19, overseas.

However, other coronavirus claims, including for trip cancellation or disruption, are specifically excluded from the policies. So you won't be able to claim if a second wave leads to your flights being cancelled.

And don’t expect to be able to purchase travel insurance for a trip scheduled within the next few weeks. All policies sold from 17 June 2020 won’t provide cover if the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had already advised against all or all but essential travel to your destination before you purchased your policy or booked your trip (whichever was latest). 

The FCO has been advising Britons against all but essential international travel since 4 April and hasn’t yet changed the advice, so no policies sold by the Post Office would currently be valid.

The Post Office said it expects travellers to purchase policies for trips scheduled later in the year or in 2021 and to benefit from pre-departure cover for non-COVID related claims until then.

“Once the FCO remove the travel restrictions, full coverage for non-Covid related claims would be reinstated along with full medical coverage. We are monitoring the situation carefully and will continue to keep our customers informed about the cover available to them,” a spokesperson said.

Paul Paddock, head of travel insurance at the Post Office, said: “We look forward to welcoming back our customers and protecting them and their upcoming travel plans, when it’s safe to travel. It’s likely that coronavirus will be with us for some time. By including medical cover now, we are able to support our customers for the foreseeable future.”

The Post Office said there will be no difference in price between policies sold before the pandemic and now. However, other insurers have suggested premiums will rise, to cover the £275 million the industry paid out for cancellation and the risk of COVID-19 leaving travellers ill. 

Insurance group Axa said it had processed five times the number of travel claims in recent months and warned travellers about higher premiums, at least in the short-term. “As we settle into the ‘new normal’ we will be able to revise our premiums and amend them as necessary,” a spokesperson said.

And although the FCO’s advise not to travel remains unchanged, many Britons are still planning trips, whether they can purchase coverage for them or not. A poll conducted by Telegraph Travel found that half of travellers are considering going abroad despite the advice.