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Coronavirus in China Statement

A statement from Mapfre, our Travel Insurance provider, in relation to what to do if you are concerned about the coronavirus in China:

This bulletin will be updated as applicable in the future as current events evolve.

We understand that if you are due to travel soon or if you are abroad already, that you may be concerned about how safe it is to travel. For information on the current position, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/wuhan-novel-coronavirusand-avian-flu-advice-for-travel-to-china 

Here’s how your travel insurance can help:

If you are due to travel to Hubei Province and your trip was booked before 23rd January 2020 and your policy was purchased before 23rd January 2020; or

If you are due to travel to mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao) and your trip was booked before 28th January 2020 and your policy was purchased before 28th January 2020:

Your policy will cover cancellation in the event that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office states that, on your date of departure, they advise against “All but essential travel”. We will allow cancellation claims within 48 hours of your intended date of departure as long as that advice is in place.

We’ll pay you for any unused travel and accommodation costs if you have to cancel your trip and any necessary extra travel costs if you have to cut your trip short but please note:

  • We’ll only consider claims where the date you bought your travel insurance policy precedes the date the FCO advised against travel to your intended destination; and
  • We’ll only consider non-refundable expenses on your travel insurance policy so in the first instance you should approach the airline, your tour operator or your travel company for a possible refund/to see if they will amend your itinerary.

As always if you are overseas and you need medical assistance because of this event, call our 24-hour emergency medical team as soon as possible on +44 (0) 207 748 0521 – we’ll tell you what to do.

If you’re still in the UK and you haven’t travelled yet, the following rules apply:

  • Where you can, you should try to get a full refund from your tour operator or travel agent. We’ll only consider non-refundable expenses on your travel insurance policy.
  • If you want to rearrange your trip dates, and provided you’re not making a claim, we can transfer your policy to cover the new trip as long as it’s within three months of your original departure date, is for the same or no longer duration, and is to the same geographical area.

Bear in mind

  • You’ll need to check your policy terms and conditions to see exactly what cover your policy provides and how much you can claim for, as different policies vary.
  • We can only cover you for the scenarios above if you bought your policy and booked your trip before the FCO’s advice changed to ‘all but essential travel’.
  • If your trip does not involve travel to mainland China or Hubei Province but you are concerned about the risk of going on your trip, please be aware that our travel insurance policies do not provide cover for disinclination to travel. So whilst we sympathise that you may no longer want to travel on your trip, unless the FCO advise against travel to your intended destination there is no cover for cancelling or cutting short your trip.
  • If you’re stuck overseas and you’re unable to return to the UK, your existing policy will automatically extend in line with the terms and conditions for up to 30 days to cover you until you’re reasonably able to return home.

What to do

If you need to make a claim, you can do so by contacting Travel Claims Services.

Phone: 0207 748 6479

or email: claims@travelclaimsservices.com

FAQs

We have put together some questions and answers to outline our position on whether or not you are eligible to make a claim:

If you have not yet travelled:

My flight is still departing for China but all the excursions and accommodation have been cancelled so I want to cancel. Will I be covered?

  • You should approach all service providers in the first instance as they may be able to arrange a refund. If they confirm they are unable to offer any refund or only a partial refund, please contact the Claims Department who will consider the balances which are non-recoverable.

My final destination is outside China but the trip involves a stop-over in China. What am I covered for?

  • In the first instance, please approach the airline as they may be able to transfer you to your final destination via an alternative route. If the cost to amend your flight is less than the value of what a total cancellation of the flight would have been, then we will consider these costs. If not, you would be entitled to cancel your full trip provided that the FCO advice 48 hours before your intended travel date remains as ‘all but essential travel’.

I am travelling to China and Thailand. I still want to go to Thailand but I want to cancel the China part. Would I be covered to cancel the China part? Also would I be covered to cancel the whole trip if I couldn’t afford to purchase a new direct flight?

  • In the first instance you should approach your flight provider as they may be able to amend your travel arrangements. We will consider the amount you have to pay to amend your trip, up to the cost of what a cancellation claim would have been.

I am due to travel to China in April but I’m worried about travelling there so would like to cancel now. Will my policy cover me for this?

  • No. If the FCO is still advising against all but essential travel to China 48 hours before you are due to travel then we will consider a cancellation claim. It is possible that the FCO advice may alter over the coming weeks so at present we are only able to consider cancellation claims where the FCO is advising against all but essential travel to your destination and you are due to travel within 48 hours.

I am travelling to Thailand and currently there are no restrictions announced by the FCO but if the outbreak spreads to Thailand am I covered to cut short my trip and return home?

  • If the FCO change the stance of the area you have travelled to, to “all but essential travel” whilst you are there you will be able to make a Curtailment claim.

I have booked a package holiday. What are my entitlements?

  • You should contact your tour operator in the first instance as they may be able to assist you.

If you are currently overseas:

If I get stuck in China and cannot return home when intended will I be covered for any medical, accommodation and itinerary change beyond the end date of my policy/trip duration limit until I am able return to the UK?

  • If you cannot return home as scheduled, your policy will automatically be extended so we will provide cover for medical costs as well as additional accommodation and itinerary charges until such time as you are able to return to the UK.

I started my trip before the FCO stance changed but I am now in an area deemed ‘all but essential travel’. Would my medical expenses be covered if I contracted the virus?

  • You should make every effort to leave the area if you can but if you are unable to leave and you contract the virus, cover would be provided for medical expenses. If you experience symptoms, you should contact our 24-hour medical emergency line for assistance.

Questions around renewals/cover:

I bought my Annual policy at the end of 2019 to start in April 2020 for a trip planned to China. I have changed my holiday booking with my tour operator but I’m now travelling to Thailand in February and so I want to bring the start date forward. Is this possible?

  • Currently the FCO are not advising against travel to Thailand so we would be able to consider this (no claim for the China trip would have been possible as the start date of the policy wasn’t until April). You would need to contact us to confirm the date you now wish the policy to start and also confirm that you are not currently aware of any events likely to lead to a claim needing to be made.

My Annual policy is due to renew at the start of February. Would cover be available for claims relating to the coronavirus?

  • Provided your renewal is for continuous cover (ie there are no breaks in dates between the end date of your previous policy and the start date of your renewal policy starts), then so long as your trip was booked prior to the current policy expiring and at the time of booking your trip the FCO was not advising against travel to your destination then cover will be in place for claims related to the coronavirus on your new policy.

The travel company have reimbursed my unused costs and I’ve rebooked a trip to another country departing a week later. Can I change my policy to cover the new trip?

  • Providing you are not making a claim, we can allow cover dates to be transferred to a new trip within 3 months of the original departure date as long as it is for the same or no longer duration and is to the same geographical area. Anything outside of this will need to be referred to our underwriters.

My flight has been re-routed and now has a 15-hour stopover in USA and I will be staying in a hotel. I only have a policy that covers me for Worldwide Excluding the USA and Canada. Will I need to pay to upgrade my policy?

  • Provided you will not be leaving the airport in between flights then there would be no need to upgrade your policy. If the stopover advised to you by the airline is going to last for more than 24 hours’ then you should contact us to ensure you have the correct region of cover in place.