Coronavirus and your travel insurance cover
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a big impact on travel plans. If you're thinking about booking a trip, or you have something booked, this guide will help you to understand what's covered under your Nationwide travel insurance. Please read this page before you call us. We’re updating it regularly as Government advice changes.
Please check the latest Government advice on travelling abroad and coronavirus before you book a new trip or travel. Your insurance cover may be different based on the Government’s advice for your country. Read the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel guidance (opens in a new window).
On this page:
Your policy is made up of your policy booklet and Summary of Changes document for your account.
Planning a trip
Government traffic light system and your insurance cover
The Government has announced a traffic light system for travel, effective from Monday 17 May 2021. This outlines the rules for re-entering the UK when returning from abroad. This system will not impact your cover, but it may influence your decision about whether to travel.
Further details for each nation are available on the following pages:
As long as you’re not travelling to a destination where the FCDO advise against ‘all’ travel, you’re covered to travel by your travel insurance, subject to the policy terms and conditions.
Your travel insurance will not provide cover for cancelling a trip due to the country you’re travelling to being placed on the red, amber or green lists if:
you booked the trip on or after 1 January 2021
you booked the trip before 1 January 2021 but when you booked the trip, the FCDO were advising against travel to your destination, or
you fail to provide the documentation required to enter a country abroad or return to the UK.
We encourage you to read the FCDO travel guidance (opens in a new window) on the rules around entering the country you’re travelling to. You need to be sure that you’re comfortable with the risks of booking travel at this time.
Your travel insurance will only provide cover for cancelling your trip if there’s a valid reason to cancel. If you opened your account or booked a trip on or after 1 January 2021, there’s no cover for cancelling a trip due to quarantine, FCDO advice or natural disaster, as a result of the coronavirus or another pandemic disease.
Please read your policy terms and conditions for full details on what is and isn’t covered. You can find these in the ‘Policy documents’ section of this page.
If you've paid a deposit for a trip
You may be wondering whether to pay the full balance. Things are changing almost every day, so we cannot say how things will pan out. Only you can decide whether to pay for the rest of your trip.
You should speak to your travel provider to see what options are available to you.
If you’re going on a cruise around the UK
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, UK cruise providers require travel insurance to give higher than normal cover for medical and repatriation costs. So, our insurance provider, U K Insurance Limited, is automatically extending the limit for UK cruises for trips departing in 2021 to £10 million.
If you need confirmation of this increased limit, you can download a copy by visiting the U K Insurance Limited travel insurance portal (opens in a new window). You can also contact U K Insurance Limited on 0800 051 01 54. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, and Saturday, 9am to 2pm. Closed Sundays and bank holidays.
You must ensure you meet all the conditions of carriage for your cruise provider.
If you have to quarantine at your destination
Some countries require you to quarantine when you arrive. Providing the requirement to quarantine was unforeseen and was not in place when you booked your trip, opened your current account or departed on your trip, you’ll be covered for reasonable additional accommodation and transport costs.
You can find out the entry requirements for your country on the Government foreign travel advice (opens in a new window).
While you're away
If you test positive for the coronavirus
The amount of cover you’ll have depends on the FCDO guidance. Please keep up to date with the FCDO advice for your intended destination, as this is changing often.
As long as the FCDO have not advised against ‘all’ travel to your destination, you’re covered for emergency medical expenses, including additional transport and accommodation, until you can return home. This includes cover for cutting short your trip if you have a positive coronavirus test at the airport.
If the country you’ve travelled to is moved to the amber or red list
You may have to cut short your trip because the country you’ve travelled to has been moved to the amber or red list while you’re there. As long as the Government had not placed the country on the green watch list, or announced before you departed that the country was moving to the amber or red list, you’re still covered.
You should first speak to your travel provider.
Cancelling a trip
Due to the ongoing risk of global travel disruption, we’ve made some changes to our travel insurance cover for cancellations.
From 1 January 2021, you’re no longer covered for cancelling your trip due to the coronavirus or another pandemic disease, before you travel, unless it’s for medical reasons. This applies to all trips booked, or new accounts opened, on or after 1 January 2021.
But if you bought a travel insurance upgrade and haven’t been able to use it due to the coronavirus, you may be able to get a refund.
You can find more information on your cover in the ‘What you’ll be covered for’ section of this page.
First, speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund, or offer you an alternative, before making a claim on your travel insurance. You’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve done this when making a claim.
For members with FlexPlus or FlexAccount travel insurance
If you opened an account or booked a trip on or after 1 January 2021
If you already have travel insurance with your FlexPlus or FlexAccount, the following changes will apply to trips you’ve booked since 1 January 2021.
You’re covered for:
cancelling a trip if you or any insured person, a close relative or travelling companion are diagnosed with the coronavirus or another pandemic disease
emergency medical expenses abroad if you or any insured person are diagnosed with the coronavirus or another pandemic disease while on your trip
cutting your trip short due to a change in FCDO advice as long as you weren’t aware of this advice when you travelled
cutting your trip short if you’re unable to stay in pre-booked accommodation due to the coronavirus or another pandemic disease, as long as you weren’t aware of this when you travelled.
You're not covered for cancelling your trip, before you travel, due to:
needing to quarantine or self-isolate either in the UK or abroad. This includes NHS Test and Trace guidance and local or national lockdowns
the FCDO advising against ‘all’ or ‘all but essential’ travel to your destination due to the coronavirus or another pandemic disease
the immediate area that you are due to travel to being impacted by the coronavirus or another pandemic disease
the Government’s traffic light rating for your destination.
All other cover remains the same, including cancellation of a trip, as detailed in the policy terms and conditions when the cause is not the coronavirus or another pandemic disease. You can find these terms in the ‘Policy documents’ section of this page.
If you opened an account or booked a trip before 1 January 2021
You may be able to claim due to having to cancel a trip because you’ve been contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate.
If your cancellation claim is accepted by U K Insurance Limited, the cost of any non-refundable coronavirus or other pandemic test costs will also be covered by your travel insurance policy. You should speak to the test provider first and get evidence that the cost of the test cannot be refunded.
You can find out how to make a claim in the ‘Making a claim’ section of this page.
Vouchers and credit notes for cancelled trips
If your travel provider has cancelled your trip, in most cases they’re legally required to offer you a refund. But many providers are offering travel vouchers or a credit note instead.
It’s your decision whether to take this. Ask yourself if you’re likely to travel with the company again. And check whether they’re offering a refund credit note that’s legally protected by ATOL certification.
If you’re offered a travel voucher or credit note but choose not to take it, your travel insurance will not provide cover for a cash equivalent where the voucher or credit note is considered a refund of your booking.
If the voucher or credit note expires, speak to the company that issued the voucher to see if you’re entitled to an extension or if you can get a cash refund. If this is denied, and the travel provider is not legally obliged to offer you a refund or an extension of the voucher, you may be able to claim through your travel insurance.
Making a claim
For any claim, please first seek a refund from your trip provider. If your trip has been cancelled by the provider and the booking was made by a debit or credit card, you can also speak to the card issuer for advice on whether you can claim a refund from them. Excess payments do not apply to claims made on your debit or credit card.
If you’re unable to get a refund from the travel provider or another party and wish to make a travel insurance claim, please ensure you’ve kept records of communications with your provider or another party, along with any booking and cancellation invoices. This will help us manage your claim efficiently.
Please be aware that your policy:
- will not cover any expenses that you can recover from elsewhere
- includes legal cover for a breach of contract relating to your trip (check the policy wording for full details).
All claims made are subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.
Make a claim online
Claims can be made online 24 hours a day. This includes claims relating to cancellation or cutting your trip short due to the coronavirus.
If you already have a travel insurance policy with us, you can also manage your travel insurance online using the U K Insurance travel insurance portal (opens in a new window). From the portal, you'll be able to make and check on outstanding claims (logged from 22 March 2021), view and download your travel insurance policy documents, complete medical screening, purchase upgrades, and more.
How to register for the travel insurance portal
If you already have a travel insurance policy with us, you can register with and access the portal using your FlexPlus or FlexAccount current account details. For joint account holders, you'll need to register separately and use the address and personal data on your FlexPlus or FlexAccount current account when registering.
Refunds for upgrades
We understand that some members have bought upgrades for their FlexPlus or FlexAccount travel insurance, such as cover for those aged 70 or over, and haven’t been able to use these due to the coronavirus travel restrictions.
Usually, travel insurance upgrades can only be refunded if you cancel within 14 days. But as we know these are unusual times and want to deliver a fair outcome for our members, you may still be able to get a refund.
To be eligible for a pro rata refund of your travel insurance upgrade, you need to have not:
- made a claim
- used the upgrade or
- booked a future trip that might require use of the upgrade.
If any of these apply to you, please contact our insurance provider. They will discuss whether your upgrade can be refunded.
Discuss an upgrade refund
If you hold a FlexPlus or FlexAccount travel insurance policy, please call U K Insurance Limited.
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
Saturday, 9am to 2pm.
Closed Sundays and bank holidays.
UK: 0800 051 01 54
What you’ll be covered for
What you’ll be covered for depends on your reasons for cancelling or cutting short your trip.