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What does coronavirus imply for holidays, journey insurance coverage


If I purchase journey insurance coverage now for a vacation I’ve simply booked, will it cowl me going ahead?

Sure. The Affiliation of British Insurers confirmed this week that somebody reserving a vacation to Spain in, say, June, and shopping for journey insurance coverage could be lined for cancellation, however provided that the Overseas & Commonwealth Workplace (FCO) later suggested towards journey to the nation. The insurance coverage has to have been purchased earlier than a rustic was declared off limits.

That stated, Cash wouldn’t be shocked if insurers – confronted with a deluge of claims sooner or later – began to argue that the virus was a identified downside when the coverage was purchased. Power majeure could also be used to keep away from paying out, though once we examined a number of main journey coverage phrases and situations this week, we weren’t capable of determine such get-out clauses. MB

Will journey insurance coverage cowl me if I cancel my vacation?

Generally, no. Insurers’ cancellation cowl will solely kick in if the FCO advises towards all however important journey. This occurred for China, elements of South Korea and the world of northern Italy in lockdown. Nevertheless, in case you are travelling to a different vacation spot that’s not lined by the recommendation – and also you don’t really feel you need to journey due to the chance – your journey insurance coverage won’t cowl your losses. MB

What journey insurance coverage coverage ought to I purchase?

One of many issues confronted by travellers has been the truth that airways have been cancelling flights. Whereas they are going to refund the price of the ticket, holidaymakers have been left holding unrefundable lodge and automotive rent bookings. The higher journey insurance policies supply “journey disruption cowl”, which can typically choose up the items in such circumstances.

After Flybe’s collapse this week and the warnings that different airways could also be in the identical boat, consumers have to go for a coverage that gives scheduled airline failure (SAF). About half of journey insurance policies offered within the UK supply SAF as customary, with an extra 19% providing it as an add-on in keeping with Defaqto. Within the present local weather it could be a mistake to not purchase a coverage that included it.

MoneySavingExpert did an in-depth investigation into which insurance policies are at present the perfect buys. It highlighted the AA (Silver) cowl coverage, which can cowl you in case your flight or lodge is cancelled. This prices about £29 for a 35-year-old’s annual European coverage, £141 for a household worldwide. It additionally favours Nationwide’s journey cowl for these with its FlexPlus account. MB

England’s Ben Youngs looks to pass the ball during the Six Nations match between England and Ireland

Rugby followers who purchased tour packages for the England v Italy Six Nations match in Rome on 14 March ought to get refunds {Photograph}: Glyn Kirk/AFP by way of Getty Photographs

I’m over 70, and my physician has suggested me to not journey. What’s my place?

The attainable exception to the above comes in case your GP has suggested you to not journey to a virus-affected space, during which case your journey insurance coverage might kick in.

Axa stated: “In case your GP tells you to not journey to an [affected] space, you must contact us earlier than your departure date, and also you gained’t be penalised.”

The conventional situations of declaring pre-existing situations will apply. So, for those who have been advised to not journey by your physician due to an underlying lung downside that you just had not declared if you purchased the coverage, you might discover your declare turned down, or the payout diminished. Docs could, within the present local weather, take a really dim view of being requested to supply a letter to will let you make such a declare. MB

I used to be as a result of journey to attend an occasion that has been cancelled – can I declare again my losses?

It relies upon. Those that purchased tour packages to go to the Italy v England Six Nations rugby match in Rome on 14 March – which has been postponed – will likely be provided a full refund or tickets for the brand new date.

Nevertheless, for those who had put collectively your individual bundle, shopping for a match ticket, and reserving inns and flights your self, most journey insurance policies are unlikely to pay up.

There are a couple of exceptions. Some insurers pays up in case you are pressured to desert the journey. For instance, Barclays’ journey insurance coverage states that it’s going to pay as much as £3,00zero if “the world during which you’re staying is affected by pandemic or epidemic influenza”.

Most affordable individuals would suppose that Italy and a bunch of different areas have been affected, however the World Well being Group is but to declare a pandemic. MB

Winter landscape in Dolomites

Each Inghams and Crystal Ski are nonetheless flying shoppers to northern Italy for ski journeys. {Photograph}: boerescul/Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

I’ve a ski vacation booked within the Dolomites later this month. Can I get my a refund?

The tour corporations are, for now, sticking firmly to their phrases and situations. Provided that you cancel at Crystal Ski (a part of Tui) greater than 70 days earlier than departure do you get your a refund – after which it’s minus the deposit. After that, there’s a sliding scale of charges: so for those who cancel between 28 and 15 days previous to departure, you get simply 10% of your a refund; and for those who cancel 14 days earlier than it’s nothing again. It’s the same image at Inghams: you’ll get nothing again for those who cancel inside 21 days. Apparently, each are nonetheless flying shoppers to northern Italy for ski journeys, and are saying they are going to solely supply refunds if FCO recommendation modifications. You’d be mad to e book proper now. PC

I used to be about to e book my summer season vacation – ought to I nonetheless do it?

There’s little price to delaying however for those who actually need to e book, be good about it. If shopping for a summer season vacation bundle from Tui, for instance, select a no-deposit deal, then mark your calendar for 70 days earlier than departure. As much as then, you possibly can cancel and get your a refund.However after that, you’ll begin dropping a whole lot of what you’ve paid.

Impartial travellers ought to for now solely e book inns and automotive rent with 100% cancellation rights. Many lodge teams, conscious how nervous holidaymakers are, have switched to 100% free cancellation. For instance, Meliá, an enormous Spanish lodge chain, was this week providing all its rooms with free cancellation. Purchase on the lodge’s personal web site, and, the place attainable, select the pay-on-arrival choice.

Flights are extra difficult. Ryanair is notably robust for those who select to cancel, refusing to offer any a refund. For those who should e book now, simply pay the naked minimal for the flight, and keep away from the extras for “precedence” or seat choice. You may add them later. You might also need to keep away from the financially weaker airways – the longer the disaster carries on, the extra will go bust. Atol safety solely applies for those who purchase the lodging and flights from a journey agent on the similar time.

The long-haul image is brighter. Virgin Atlantic and BA have stated they are going to waive flight change charges for brand spanking new bookings this month, so you should purchase after which postpone if wanted. PC

Will the Ehic cowl me in Europe if I want extended hospital care?

Ehic card and British passport

The Ehic card stays in drive till the tip of December 2020. {Photograph}: Alamy

The Ehic – European medical insurance card – is an EU-wide scheme that is still in drive till the tip of December this yr, and provides you state-provided healthcare within the EU without spending a dime or at diminished price till you come residence. The UK has issued about 27m playing cards, and you may nonetheless apply for a free one: seek for “NHS Ehic” on the web and don’t fall for any of the dodgy web sites that cost charges.

The Italian authorities has pledged to supply free entry to Covid-19 therapy to all vacationers, with the president of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi, telling day by day Corriere della Sera this week “the Italian well being system is free and for everybody”. PC

Will flights get cheaper?

They already are. Ryanair is at present promoting flights from London to just about all over the place in Italy for beneath £20 in June and beneath £30 in July. Flights to Rome for the Easter weekend begin at £80 return, when normally they might be double or triple that worth.

Lengthy-haul costs are additionally dropping. British Airways is at present providing London-New York returns at about £250 return via March, April, Might and June. Google Flights’ “worth graph” and Ryanair’s “fare finder” choices are helpful for exhibiting the most cost effective offers.

Airways are decreasing capability and cancelling some flights, so don’t count on costs to fall a lot additional.

Years and Years perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury festival

Glastonbury competition is simply one of many huge occasions this summer season that might be affected by coronavirus. {Photograph}: Michael Cragg/The Guardian

I’ve paid £265 for a ticket to Glastonbury competition. What occurs if it will get cancelled? And what if it goes forward however I resolve to not go?

With some international locations imposing restrictions on giant public gatherings, persons are anxiously crossing their fingers and hoping Glastonbury will go forward in June. On Wednesday this week, organisers stated they might not affirm if the competition would undoubtedly go forward, and have been persevering with to plan for it whereas intently monitoring developments.

If the occasion is cancelled, you possibly can count on a refund. The competition web site states that after midnight on 7 Might 2020, “no refunds will likely be made aside from within the occasion of the cancellation of the competition. Reserving charges and postage and packing expenses are non-refundable.”

For those who resolve to cancel earlier than that date, you can be reimbursed the worth of your ticket, minus a £25 administration payment – so in case you are nervous, the excellent news is that you’ve got two months earlier than it’s worthwhile to decide.

Some ticketholders could have purchased TicketPlan refund safety, the place refunds are supplied for those who can not attend due to sure circumstances. RJ

I’ve tickets for a gig at a big venue. What occurs if it will get cancelled?

The Society of Ticket Brokers and Retailers (Star) says the UK authorities and deputy chief medical officer have suggested that there isn’t any clear motive for cancelling occasions. “Until particular occasions have been cancelled by an artist or occasion organisers, all different occasions are scheduled to go forward, and the usual coverage will apply. Cancelled occasions are sometimes rescheduled, however for those who can’t make the brand new date or the occasion is cancelled fully, you’re entitled to a refund of no less than the face worth of your ticket.”

Some occasions have already been cancelled – for instance, early final month the Korean band Seventeen cancelled their gig at London’s Wembley Enviornment tomorrow (eight March) due to the outbreak. Relating to that gig, the Wembley web site states: “All tickets will mechanically be refunded from level of buy.”

Some venues such because the O2 in London do have small print that claims neither they nor the occasion organiser “will likely be liable to you … to the extent that any loss or failure … is attributable to a drive majeure occasion”.

It states that drive majeure “means any trigger past AEG’s or the organiser’s affordable management”, which suggests venues/organisers might in idea use this clause to reject claims.

Maintain an in depth eye on venue and ticket company web sites, particularly earlier than you set off – many are offering common updates.

For those who choose to not go, there are a variety of fan-to-fan resale web sites, together with Twickets, the place you possibly can promote your tickets and hopefully recoup your outlay. RJ

‘Our insurer refused to pay regardless of journey restrictions’

American Samoa

American Samoa imposed a 14-day quarantine over coronavirus fears. {Photograph}: Alamy

A pair who have been pressured to desert a rowing journey to American Samoa after the governor of the tiny Pacific island imposed a 14-day quarantine over coronavirus fears have been advised by Barclays, their journey insurer, that they’ll’t declare for his or her misplaced flights.

John and Caroline Turnbull, from Woking, have been as a result of take the journey of a lifetime in April to fulfill fellow rowing lovers for a two-week tour of the little-known, distant American territory within the South Pacific Ocean.

Having booked costly flights from London to Hawaii, and dear enterprise class tickets for the five-and-a-half-hour flight to Pago Pago on American Samoa, the couple, each of their 70s, say they’ve been pressured to desert the Samoa a part of the journey to the island, after the governor banned all international nationals from touchdown on the island except they’ve spent 14 days in Hawaii.

The island had already been battling a lethal measles outbreak that has killed greater than 60 individuals.

“The ban successfully rendered our flights unusable. Hawaiian Airways gained’t refund us, because it says that it’s nonetheless working the flight,” says John.

The couple had worldwide journey insurance coverage supplied by Barclays as an add-on to a checking account and duly claimed the £2,500 they’d spent on the Hawaii to Samoa flights they might not use.

Nevertheless, Barclays turned down the cancellation declare on the idea that the UK authorities has not suggested towards journey to the island.

After the Guardian’s intervention, Barclays took a second take a look at the case, and has now paid up.

“The preliminary decline determination was the proper given there isn’t any cowl in our coverage for ‘closure of borders’. Now we have, nevertheless, reviewed the specifics of this case and have determined that the declare will likely be paid as a gesture of goodwill,” it stated. MB

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A truly bold chancellor would scrap national insurance |


What’s the basic rate of tax? No, it’s not 20%. That’s just income tax. The true basic rate of tax is 32%, once national insurance is paid – and you can’t avoid it if you’re a PAYE employee earning above £8,632 a year. Every chancellor talks about making tax simpler and more transparent, yet in every budget they persist with the fictitious distinction between NI and income tax for purely presentational reasons. In other words, they take us for fools – and they’re probably right.

In 2000, the basic rate of income tax was 22%, and NI for employees was 10%. The basic rate has since been cut to 20%, but NI for employees has gone up to 12%. Yes, there have been valuable increases in the personal allowance, but true rates of tax have not shifted at all.

Why do we have these two separate tax regimes with income tax raising £196bn for the Treasury in 2019-20, and NI £143bn?

It dates back to 1911, when David Lloyd George introduced the National Insurance Act to cover industrial sickness, which was subsequently greatly expanded by Beveridge after the second world war. At the core of NI is the contributory principle – the idea that when you pay, you are making a designated contribution, with entitlements such as a state pension, and unemployment payments should you lose your job. There is a sense that people are more willing to pay up if they see an actual return on their money, and that when they receive their state pension, it’s a right, not a gift from the government.

But in truth, there is little relation between what you put in and what you get out. Your money does not go into a pot with your name on it, held safely until you retire. It’s all notional – today’s workers pay NI, and that money goes straight out of the door to pay for those who have reached pension age.

It’s true that there is a ring-fenced National Insurance Fund, and by law the money that goes into the fund can only be paid out to finance a list of specified benefits. But not all the money from NI goes into the fund – of the £133bn raised from NICs in 2018-19, £107.4bn went into the fund (90% of which was then paid out as state pensions) while £25.4bn went to part-fund the NHS. In some years the government tops up the NI fund, in other years it uses a surplus to fund government expenditure elsewhere (by buying gilts, which is the government’s way of moving money from one pocket to the other).

In 1986 the then chancellor Nigel Lawson published a green paper on personal taxation which was supposed to look into the benefits and costs of integrating NICs with income tax. In 1998 the then chancellor Gordon Brown said he wanted a “simpler and fairer” NI system, not least because the lack of alignment between the starting rates for NI and income tax is incoherent and causes all sorts of anomalies. Twenty years on, those same anomalies persist. In 2014 there was an attempt in the Commons, via a 10-minute rule bill, to have NI renamed as “earnings tax” on the grounds that that is how it is “universally preceived”. It failed.

There will be winners and losers from merging NI with income tax. Well-off pensioners would be hit hardest. Currently, you stop paying NI when you reach state pension age, on the basis that you have already paid for it. Fair enough. Except that lots of people in their 50s have already made sufficient NI annual contributions to qualify for the full state pension. Yet they must continue to pay NI – exposing it for what it is, a general tax.

If NI were merged into income tax, pensioners on high incomes would continue to be liable for payments. The extra sum would probably be enough to solve the social care crisis. It’s a win-win.

Integrating the two taxes would also remove substantial administrative burdens from employers. More problematic, but not insurmountable, is that those earning over £50,000 currently see their NI rate drop to 2%. A merged NI/income tax system would have to recognise that.

Sweeping away NI and declaring the truth about tax would be the boldest and most honest reform a chancellor could make. Let’s see if the new man in the job, Rishi Sunak, is up to it.


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How might recent plane crashes in Roy affect insurance rates?


Ask around in Roy and the perception of risk is real. Both the Roy City mayor and police chief have spoken out about concerns for public safety after the fifth headline-catching plane crash in about four years.

“We feel like it’s definitely time for Roy City to get involved and find out what the problem is,” said Police Chief Carl Merino.

The FAA and NTSB lead investigations into all plane crashes, but there are certainly many interested parties. Insurance rates can rise and fall on conclusions drawn in federal reports.

Matt Child, CEO of Utah Independent Agents, which represents the insurance industry says:

As risk goes up, so does your insurance rate in most cases. We don’t live in a bubble that is exclusive from emotion and environment, right? But at the same time, it is driven by statistics.

Child said homes and businesses in the flight path for the airport are very unlikely to see rate changes. State regulators and competition should keep rates where they are.

But might rates rise for airport or aircraft insurance?

“Maybe,” he said. “Depends on the cause.”

If federal investigators identify a common thread in recent crashes involving the airport, Child said there would be rate hikes and a ripple effect.

“The airport could have to raise its fees, raise its cost, it could have an impact on commerce in the city because I don’t know how much business and tax income the city gets from those operators,” he said.

But reports could conclude the opposite.

“Hopefully, they’re not all related,” Child said. “They’re just one-off and, sadly, just happened to be fairly close to one another.”

If a specific pilot or plane or part is the problem, rate hikes would be limited to policies for that person or machine.

“We’re not going to spread that loss, [the] impact of that loss, the cost of that loss across everybody in the marketplace because it was your fault,” Child said.

Bryant Garrett, the manager of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, said Friday the airport does carry a $100 million insurance policy and he’s confident recent crashes near the airport won’t change their rate.


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