These are difficult times – and we’re having to deal with disruption in most areas of our lives. If your travel plans have been disrupted or cancelled due to coronavirus, it’s important to know where you stand. This guide sets out the main reasons for making a claim, as well as the steps for getting a refund.

Why you might make a claim

1. Get a refund from your travel provider

The first thing to do is speak to your provider


  • If your provider has cancelled your travel plans, then in most situations they are legally required to offer you a refund.
  • Although phonelines are busy right now, you must speak to your provider first to know your options.
  • If you have booked your holiday in parts – for example, you booked your flights directly with the airline and your accommodation directly with the hotel – only one part might be cancelled. In such cases speak to the providers that have yet to cancel and see if they will also provide a refund due to the change in circumstances.

Keep in mind


  • If you’re offered a travel voucher or credit note instead of a refund, it’s your decision to either take it or ask for a refund instead. If you do take it in the first instance, you can still ask for a refund. Be aware that if you refuse a travel voucher or credit note, you will no longer be able to claim through your travel insurance.
  • Don’t expect an instant refund. This is a very busy time, with many people requesting refunds. So be prepared to wait at least a month to get your money back.
  • If your provider says no to a refund, ask them to confirm this in writing, including the reason why. You’ll need this as proof later.

2. Get a refund through your bank or building society

Only try this if:


  • your travel provider said no to a refund
  • you paid for your trip by debit or credit card

Important information about card schemes and payment protection


  • Card payment schemes, such as Visa, let you dispute and charge back payments where you do not receive the goods or services that you have been promised when making a purchase. You are only able to charge back the value of the original purchase.
  • You also have protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you paid by credit card and the payment was between £100 and £30,000. It doesn’t matter if the payment on your credit card was only for part of the balance, your booking will still be covered by section 75 cover for the whole amount.
  • If you have booked part of your holiday by credit card – for example the flights but not the hotel – and the part booked on your credit card is cancelled, you may be able to claim for the parts not cancelled. This is not guaranteed and will depend on the terms and conditions of the provider that you have booked with.

Keep in mind


  • You’ll need to speak to the bank or building society whose card you used
  • For a Nationwide debit or credit card, you can find out more or make a claim.
  • You’ll need confirmation that your travel provider cancelled your trip and refused a refund.
  • Visa dispute claims must be made within 120 days of the trip being cancelled, or the date when you were meant to travel. There are no time limits for a Section 75 claim.
  • We’re working as quickly as we can during this busy time, so claims are taking longer than normal to process.
  • If your card provider couldn’t resolve your claim, ask them to confirm it in writing. You may need this as proof later.

3. Get a refund through your travel insurance

Only try this if:

  • You couldn’t get a refund from your travel provider – and have proof of this
  • Your travel insurance policy covers cancellation and travel disruption due to Coronavirus

Keep in mind

If you are a FlexPlus account holder or have the travel insurance benefit as part of your FlexAccount, your policy does provide cover for cancellation in certain scenarios.

You will be covered if:

  • When you opened your account (including purchasing any upgrades you need for your trip) the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) were not advising against travel to your destination and you were not aware of a reason you could not go on your trip.
  • You can make a claim whenever you like – even if the trip should’ve already taken place.
  • Where you are claiming due to the FCO advising against all but essential travel, the advice must be in force within 28 days of your trip start date.
  • You’ll need to have any required upgrades to make a claim. That includes the age upgrade if you are over 70 and the worldwide upgrade if you have a FlexAccount and are travelling outside of Europe.
  • UK trips of more than 2 nights are covered if:
    • you are staying in pre-booked commercially run accommodation and
    • there is government advice against travel to the area that you are due to stay.

You can find out more detailed information and make a claim on our travel insurance important information page.

1. Speak to your provider


  • This should be the first thing you do, before looking at other options
  • They will be able to explain the terms and conditions that you agreed when you booked
  • Many providers are being understanding – if they can’t give you a refund, they may reschedule your trip or offer a credit note or travel voucher instead

Keep in mind


  • If you’re offered a travel voucher or credit note instead of a refund, it’s your decision to take it
  • Don’t expect an instant refund. This is a very busy time, with many people requesting refunds. So be prepared to wait up to one month to get your money back.
  • If your provider says no to a refund, ask them to confirm this in writing, including the reason why. You may need this as proof later.

If you decide to cancel, but the trip can still go ahead, you will not be able get a refund by disputing the card payment.

2. Get a refund through your travel insurance

Your policy may cover you if you decide to cancel. First, check the level of cover that you’ve got and the policy terms.

 

Only try this if your:


  • travel provider said no to a refund – and you have proof of this
  • policy covers travel cancellations and coronavirus claims

Keep in mind


  • If you can still travel, but you change your mind about going, you usually won’t be covered for cancelling
  • If you decide not to travel because you’d need to quarantine when you arrive back, you won’t be covered
  • Please remember your travel insurance will only provide cover for reasons that you were not aware of when you booked your trip or became an insured person (whichever was later).

If you hold a FlexPlus account or travel insurance as part of your FlexAccount you will be covered if:


  • your provider is still offering your trip but Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice not to travel to your destination is in force on your departure date. You must have opened your account and booked your trip when there was no FCO advice against travel in place
  • UK trips of more than 2 nights are covered if:
    • you are staying in pre-booked commercially run accommodation and
    • there is government advice against travel to the area where you are due to stay
  • a doctor advises you are not fit to travel. Where this is because of a pre-existing medical condition, you must have declared the condition to our insurer, UKI, and they must have agreed to cover this
  • your destination is enforcing a quarantine period that is for all or the majority of your trip
  • you are not able to use your pre-booked and pre-paid accommodation due to the surrounding area being badly affected by a natural disaster (including a pandemic)

What you need to make a claim


  • You’ll need any required upgrades to make a claim. That includes the age upgrade if you are over 70. And the worldwide upgrade if you have a FlexAccount and your trip was outside of Europe.
  • Your account must have been opened, including any upgrades, and your trip must have been booked when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) were not advising against travel to your destination and you were not aware of a reason you could not go on your trip.
  • Your trip must be due to take place within the next 28 days, if you are claiming due to FCO advice.
  • There is no time limit on making a travel insurance claim, so you can call us even if the trip should have already taken place.

You can find out more detailed information and make a claim on our travel insurance important information page.

The first thing to do is get confirmation that your trip has been cancelled.

Some travel agents confirm your arrangements with third party accommodation or travel providers as soon as you book your trip. In which case, you might still be able to go as planned. If not, check if your trip is covered by an ABTA or ATOL bond. 


  • If your provider has gone into administration, you probably won’t be able to contact them by phone.
  • Visit their website for more details on what to do next.
  • If your trip was booked as a package, it should be protected by ABTA or ATOL. A package typically includes travel, accommodation, car hire and activities.

1. Get a refund through ABTA or ATOL


  • Check your booking to see if you’re covered by ABTA or ATOL
  • If you do, visit their website and complete the form to make a claim

Remember


  • ABTA and ATOL are industry organisations. So, if there are failures across the travel industry, it may take some time to get your refund
  • Trips booked separately or in parts are not usually covered by ABTA or ATOL

2. Get a refund through your bank or building society

Only try this if you:


  • are not covered by ABTA or ATOL
  • paid for your trip by debit or credit card

Important information about card schemes and payment protection


  • Card payment schemes, such as Visa, let you dispute and charge back payments where you do not receive the goods or services that you have been promised when making a purchase. You are only able to charge back the value of the original purchase.
  • You also have protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if you paid by credit card and the payment was between £100 and £30,000. It doesn’t matter if the payment on your credit card was only for part of the balance, your booking will still be covered by section 75 cover for the whole amount.
  • If you have booked part of your holiday by credit card – for example the flights but not the hotel – and the part booked on your credit card is cancelled, you may be able to claim for the parts not cancelled. This is not guaranteed and will depend on the terms and conditions of the provider that you have booked with.

Keep in mind


  • You’ll need to speak to the bank or building society whose card you used
  • For a Nationwide debit or credit card, you can find out more or make a claim.
  • Visa dispute claims must be made within 120 days of the trip being cancelled, or the date when you were meant to travel. There are no time limits for a Section 75 claim.
  • We’re working as quickly as we can during this busy time. So, claims are taking longer than normal to process.
  • If your card provider couldn’t resolve your claim, ask them to confirm it in writing. You’ll need this as proof later.

3. Get a refund through your travel insurance

Your policy may cover you if a travel company goes into administration. So first, check the level of cover that you’ve got.

Only try this if you:


  • You weren’t able to get a refund through ABTA, ATOL – and have proof of this

Keep in mind

If your provider goes into administration and they are the 'end supplier' e.g. airline or hotel, you will be covered if you're:


  • a FlexPlus account holder
  • a FlexAccount holder with the travel insurance benefit who purchased the travel disruption upgrade before November 2019, as part of the travel insurance benefit.
  • FlexAccount holders with the travel insurance benefit who did not purchase the travel disruption upgrade before November 2019 are not covered if a travel provider goes into administration.

What you need to make a claim


  • You’ll need any required upgrades. That includes the age upgrade if you are over 70. And the worldwide upgrade if you have a FlexAccount and your trip was outside of Europe.
  • You’ll need to show that your package does not qualify for ATOL or ABTA protection, and that you weren’t able to claim through your credit or debit card provider.
  • When you opened your account (including purchasing any upgrades you need for your trip) the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) were not advising against travel to your destination and you were not aware of a reason you could not go on your trip.
  • There is no time limit on making a travel insurance claim, so you can claim even if the trip should have already taken place.

You can find out more detailed information and make a claim on our travel insurance important information page.

Other questions you may be asking

Things are changing almost every day, so we can’t say how things will pan out. Only you can decide whether to pay for the rest of your trip or not.

Things to think about:

If you don’t pay the balance
You probably won’t get your deposit back. But your deposit is all you’ll lose. Because it is your decision to cancel at this stage, then it’s unlikely that you’ll get your deposit back.

See the ‘You would like to cancel your trip’ section on this page for more information, including the reasons why you could be eligible for a refund.

If you pay the balance and travel
This is the best outcome for everyone. If the government lifts travel limits and your trip goes ahead as planned, neither you nor the travel provider loses out. However, if your holiday isn’t as expected due to restrictions when you get there, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make a claim for compensation.

If you pay the balance but don’t travel
It depends why you weren’t able to travel. The rest of this page sets out the reasons why you might not travel, as well as your options.

But keep in mind, if you make a travel insurance claim at the end of the process, you will be covered in full (less any excess and recoverable costs). If you have paid for any of the balance of your trip on a credit card, the whole balance payable to that provider will be covered under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

It’s important that you check the situation at the destination you are travelling to. For example, some beaches or certain hotel facilities may be closed, and you probably won’t be able to make a claim if this happens. So, you should be comfortable with this before you travel.

Speak to your travel provider and do some research online before deciding to go ahead.

If your travel provider has cancelled your trip, in most cases they are legally required to offer you a refund. However, to ease the pressure on themselves, many providers are offering travel vouchers or credit instead. It’s your decision whether to take this or not. Ask yourself if you’re likely to travel with the company again. Or if they’ll still be in business when you come to rebook.

See the ‘Your provider cancelled your travel plans’ section on this page for more information.

Keep in mind, if you’re offered a travel voucher or credit but don’t take it, you won’t be covered by travel insurance on a FlexPlus or FlexAccount.

There’s no cover for this situation. Your travel provider may be flexible with their policy and refund or rebook your trip. So talk to them in the first instance. If they say no, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still advises against travel to your destination, then you may be able to claim through your travel insurance. It’s important to weigh up your options before deciding to travel.

See the ‘You would like to cancel your trip’ section on this page for more information.

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