Coronavirus: Can I claim travel insurance?
With Coronavirus causing chaos worldwide on travel, money.co.uk has issued an expert comment on travel insurance with a guide on cancellation cover. Flights from Europe to American are grounded and Belgium is the latest country to completely lock down.
Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has caused a flood of people trying to cancel trips. While many airlines are not charging cancellation fees on flights that have been grounded, some holidaymakers might find that they can’t get refunds — even if they paid for travel insurance.
“The British Insurers Brokers Association has advised that some policies may actually exclude any cover for pandemic situations.
“Many travel companies won’t refund holidaymakers who cancel trips because they are worried about contracting a virus. However, some policies do include cover for travel disruption and cancellations due to government restrictions. Check that your policy covers you for cancellations due to epidemic or pandemic restrictions.”
For more detail on what your travel insurance will and will not cover, check out this money.co.uk guide on cancellation cover:
Meanwhile on UK soil, patients are finding non-urgent operations cancelled.
Comment from Kate Goodman, senior litigation executive at Fletchers Solicitors:
“If your operation is cancelled due to the Coronavirus, there are a number of things you can do.
“The NHS has a maximum waiting time for non-urgent referrals of 18 weeks. This means that from the date of your referral by your doctor, you should be seen and preferably, undergo treatment within 18 weeks. This target however, is not always met and different hospitals have different waiting times for surgery. It is not uncommon for a hospital to have a waiting time of twice this for some procedures. It is also foreseeable that the 18 week target may well be suspended in the wake of a Coronavirus outbreak.
“If your procedure is cancelled on the day of surgery, then you should be offered another date for the procedure within 28 days, or they can fund the treatment at a date and hospital of your choice. If the hospital does not comply with this, you have a right to complain to PALS at the hospital, or the Clinical Commissioning Group that referred you for treatment.
“However, it is more likely that, if there is a widespread outbreak, surgeries will be cancelled before the date of surgery. In this situation, there is no right for you to be offered an alternative within the 28 days specified, though if your waiting time is outside the 18 weeks, you have a right to ask the hospital or Clinical Commissioning Group to move your care to another hospital. However, if there is an outbreak, the likelihood that this will result in your procedure taking place any sooner is remote. It is likely that any delays caused by Coronavirus would be a reasonable course of action.
“In these circumstances, you are likely to be reliant on complaints to PALS and the Clinical Commissioning Group. If you have already experienced a significant delay well in excess of the 18 weeks target, and you suffer a further significant delay as a result of Coronavirus, there is a possibility that your wait will have become so excessive as to become a breach of duty of care. If you have suffered unnecessarily as a result of these delays, then Fletchers Solicitors will be able to advise you on whether you may have a medical negligence claim.”
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