Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

What's the latest news?

Here are the very latest travel updates:

  • You will have to show proof of a negative test before returning to the UK.
  • Upon return to the UK, you have two days to take a PCR test and must self-isolate until you have your results.
  • New countries have been added to the red list.

 

COVID-19 Medical Cover

We’ll only show you quotes from providers who cover emergency medical expenses (including repatriation to the UK) if you catch the virus whilst travelling abroad.

Enhanced COVID Cover

Extra cover that'll give you & your holiday even more protection against COVID-19. Compare quotes from leading providers with this additional cover today.

Travel rules for returning to the UK

From 7th December 2021

The red, amber, green traffic light system has been replaced by a single list of red destinations. This two-tiered system makes it much simpler for travellers, with any destination not on the red list essentially considered green.

Before your return to the UK

  • Regardless of your vaccination status, all travellers aged 12 and over will have to show proof of a negative test.
  • Either a PCR or lateral flow test must be taken no more than 48 hours before your return to the UK.
  • This must be a private test and you are not allowed to use the free NHS lateral flow kits.
  • Complete a passenger locator form.

Upon arrival to the UK

  • You must complete a PCR test within two days of your return to the UK.
  • This test must be booked before you travel, and bought privately from an approved provider.
  • You will need to self-isolate until you have your result, and can stop isolation if your test is negative.

Destinations on the red list

  • You will need to take a pre-departure test in the 3 days before your return.
  • Complete a passenger locator form within 48hrs of your arrival.
  • You will need to self-isolate for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel at your own cost. PCR tests are to be taken on day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine.

Is travel insurance valid for red list destinations?

The traffic light system is not relevant to your policy cover. For a travel insurance policy to be valid, you must not be travelling against the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

It is therefore essential that you check the FCDO's travel advisories for your destination before booking and/or travelling.

What do the FCDO advisories mean for my travel insurance?

If you decide to travel against FCDO advice, any travel insurance cover you have in place will no longer be valid. This advice is constantly under review and can change - either advising against travel, or removing restrictions - at short notice.

It's also important to remember that even if the FCDO are no longer advising against travel to your destination, some countries will still have their own entry requirements, including, in some cases, quarantine rules should you decide to visit.

Keep an eye on the latest government travel advice, using the link below, for any further updates and information.

FCDO Travel Advice
Dr Sarah Jarvis, MBE

Dr Sarah Jarvis answers your questions

Sarah is the Clinical Director of the Patient Platform, an active medical writer, broadcaster, and is the resident doctor for BBC Radio 2.

Question: How long after getting my COVID-19 vaccination can I travel abroad?

Different countries will have different requirements. Most countries that require proof of vaccination will require you to have a full course of vaccination before travelling. For all the vaccines currently available in the UK, that means two vaccinations 10-12 weeks apart.

You will also need to check the individual requirements for the country you're visiting on the FCDO website. For instance, some countries may not allow you to travel until at least two weeks after your second vaccine, as it takes some time for maximum immunity to develop.

You can find answers to all your coronavirus-related questions on the link below.

COVID-19 Health Questions

Do I need to be fully vaccinated to be covered by travel insurance?

If you've had all of the COVID jabs offered to you by the NHS and are fully vaccinated, then you should be covered by your travel insurance for any emergency medical expenses if you catch the virus whilst abroad.

However, some travel insurance providers will not cover you if you aren't fully vaccinated.

If you have decided not to be vaccinated for personal reasons, or yet to have all doses, then certain travel insurance policies will not cover you for any COVID-related claims.

We've clearly highlighted those travel insurance providers that require you to be fully vaccinated in order to provide cover on the results page.

Some insurance provides will give consideration if you haven't been vaccinated for medical reasons, but this can differ from policy to policy. It is very important that you review the terms and conditions of the policy, and if in doubt speak directly to that insurance provider to clarify your situation.

What COVID-19 cover is available?

As a minimum, we've ensured that every travel insurance provider available through our site now includes emergency medical cover, including repatriation, for COVID-19. If you fall ill with COVID-19 whilst on holiday, and require treatment, you’ll be able to get help with the medical costs or even be brought home for medical treatment if required.

Some of our travel insurance providers are also able to offer Enhanced COVID-19 Cover, including some cancellation protection. We’ll make it clear which policies they are and, depending on your policy, some of the areas that may be covered are;

Before your holiday

  • You contract COVID-19 before you travel
  • You are required to self-isolate at the time of your trip departure
  • A family member you were due to stay with has to self isolate and you have nowhere else to stay
  • You are denied boarding by your airline due to COVID-19 symptoms

During your holiday

  • You are asked to return home early from your trip by the local authorities due to COVID-19
  • Additional accommodation costs if you need to isolate and extend your trip
  • A close relative becomes ill with COVID-19 and you need to return home early

The specifics of the cover will vary from provider to provider, so it’s really important that you check your policy wording thoroughly. If you’re still unsure, then speak with your chosen travel insurance provider directly who can give you guidance on what they can and cannot cover you for.

In some circumstances, you may be asked for medical certification, or confirmed test results, if your claim is in relation to COVID-19.

It’s also important to remember that whilst cover may be restricted in respect of COVID-19, cover for other areas should still apply, such as if you fall ill and are unable to travel, or need medical assistance for other conditions that are unrelated to COVID-19.

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What COVID-19 cover isn't available?

This will vary, policy by policy, and unless otherwise stated, providers won’t be able to cover you for anything related to COVID-19, other than emergency medical expenses cover whilst you are away. 

It is unlikely that any travel insurance provider will be able to cover you if you can’t travel due to government restrictions, such as advice from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, or a country closing their borders, if this is due to COVID-19.

Most providers will also restrict cover if you decide not to go on holiday. This includes if you are worried about catching the virus whilst you are on your trip, the facilities at your hotel being restricted, or if you are expected to quarantine either when you get to your destination, or when you come back to the UK.

Medical Travel Compared Map Pins

How will lockdown restrictions impact my travel insurance?

If you are unable to go on your trip due to regional or national lockdown restrictions, you should, in the first instance, contact your travel provider (such as your airline or hotel) - as they should be able to rearrange your trip for you or offer you a refund.

It's unlikely any travel insurance provider will be able to cover you if you cancel your trip due to the government's lockdown rules, or if you decide to travel against the governments restrictions.

Please see your local guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and check with your travel insurance provider if you are unsure about your cover.

What happens if my travel provider has cancelled my trip?

If your holiday gets cancelled not only will you probably be disheartened, but you’ll also want to know what happens to the money you invested in it.

In the first instance, your travel operator should be able to rearrange your trip for a later date, when it’s more likely that your trip can go ahead.

Your travel operator may also offer you a refund but this does depend on the T&C’s of your booking, so make sure you give them a good read. Alternatively, they may instead offer you a travel voucher so that you can re-book your trip at a later date. But make sure you check when the expiry date of the voucher is.

Remember, if you’ve booked a flight or package holiday you should have ATOL protection as an added buffer should things go wrong. UK and European law require all package holidays to be ATOL protected, so make sure to keep an eye out for the ATOL logo when booking. ATOL protection won’t apply if you booked your plane ticket directly with the airline, or travel company. For more information about ATOL, check out our guide

If you booked your holiday through a travel agent or paid using a credit card, you may also be able to get help from either your travel agent or credit card provider.

ATOL Protection

My travel is essential – can I still get cover?

The FCDO give some guidance on this and say essential travel “is a personal decision and circumstances differ from person to person. It is for individuals themselves to make an informed decision based on the risks and FCDO advice.”

However, it is unlikely that our travel insurance providers will be able to cover you for essential travel, you would need to speak to a travel insurance provider directly to see if they would be willing to cover your trip.

Medical Travel Compared UK Roads

What if I go away without valid travel insurance cover?

Travelling against FCDO advice, will, in nearly all cases, invalidate your travel insurance cover. Whilst you may find that some airlines and travel providers will cancel, or reschedule your trip, some may still operate, leaving you with a difficult decision to make. Do you lose out on your trip, or press ahead, and travel somewhere without any insurance protection?

It's important to remember that travelling without a valid insurance policy, means that you won't be covered should you need medical assistance whilst abroad – whether that is COVID-19 or other healthcare issues, e.g. breaking your leg or getting a stomach bug.

You might have to pay medical bills, which could run into the thousands if you are travelling to somewhere with high healthcare costs. Plus if you lose baggage or have something stolen, you would not be covered – there are lots of aspects to travel insurance.

Even if you have a GHIC/EHIC card, this will only provide limited protection and may not cover all of your medical costs and will not cover you if you need to be repatriated back home.

Where can I get more help?

There’s a lot of things to consider, and Dr Sarah Jarvis has created some useful guides to give you all the information you need to travel safely.

If you need anymore help then feel free to speak to our online team, or send us an email at contact@medicaltravelcompared.co.uk .

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Cancellation amounts will be per person. So, if you were going on a trip for 2 people which cost £1,000 in total you would ideally need cancellation cover for at least £500.
You will need to add each country that you are visiting. If you are on a flight stopover this will include any countries where you leave the airport. If you are on a cruise it includes any countries where your ship will be docking at.
A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now, or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!
If you're taken ill or have an accident abroad your travel insurance policy will repatriate you once you are well enough to travel. It is included within your medical cover. The insurance provider's Emergency Assistance team will help organise this along with the medical team who are treating you. If you are travelling in the UK, check repatriation with your insurance provider to see what is included.
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