Coronavirus: Insurers limiting travel protection

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Travellers amid coronavirus concernsImage source, AFP

One of the leading travel insurance providers, AXA UK, has become the latest in a string of insurers to restrict cover for claims relating to coronavirus.

New policies will not cover trip cancellation or disruption relating to the virus, it said.

AXA joins the Post Office and InsureandGo in limiting or changing cover this week.

Admiral, Aviva, LV, Churchill and Direct Line have suspended new sales.

The AA and RAC's insurance arms have also limited some of the destinations they cover or the third party sites they use to sell to customers.

Latest big name to change

AXA has added a message at the top its website telling customers: "If you purchase a new policy now, it will not cover any trip cancellation or disruption in relation to coronavirus."

The company adds: "If you already have an annual multi-trip policy and you book a new trip now, you may not be covered to cancel that trip, or for any disruption you experience."

Insurers have faced a surge in applications from holidaymakers who are anxious to protect themselves against the risk of their trips being ruined.

Even before the current virus crisis, the cover provided by travel insurance varied significantly between providers.

More than half of existing policies do not pay out if the policyholder cancels because of a new warning from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office not to visit a particular country, according to analysts Defaqto.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that travel insurance is for unforeseen circumstances and the coronavirus danger was no longer an unforeseen circumstance.

"Insurers will take account of when any risk becomes more of a probability than a possibility, making whatever commercial decisions that they feel are prudent," a spokesman for the ABI said.

"People should shop around for the cover that best meets their needs."