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Foreign Office says avoid ‘all but essential’ travel to the United States

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The Foreign Office has just announced that you should avoid ‘all but essential’ travel to the United States:

“The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the USA, due to restrictions put in place by the US government with effect from 03:59 GMT 17 March in response to the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) (Summary and Entry Requirements)”

Here is the official link.

You may think this is a statement of the obvious, given that you won’t actually be allowed into the country if you have been in the UK in the last 14 days.

However, for insurance purposes, this is important.  Some policies will pay out if the Foreign Office advises against ‘all but essential’ travel.

Foreign Office says avoid 'all but essential' travel to the US

Other policies, unfortunately, will only pay out if the Foreign Office advises against ‘all’ travel.  The only places with an ‘all’ warning are certain parts of China and South Korea.

If you are on the hook for financial loss due to pre-paid hotels and car hire in the United States, you should dig out your travel insurance.  You may now be able to make a claim.

Comments (40)

  • Crafty says:

    OT: Cheapest share dealing platform? Half recall a name having been mentioned here; googling is not triggering the memory.

  • Andy says:

    Be careful to check policy wording carefully. Most insurance policies exclude pandemics in terms of cancellation insurance (and of course the WHO has recently defined coronavirus as a pandemic). So my travel insurer is now very clear that cancellation is not covered even if the FCO now advises against travel.

    • stevenhp1987 says:

      Our insurance has this clause…

      If our USA (AA flights) go on without us, we won’t see a penny.

      I almost don’t see the point in this particular travel insurance…

      • AJA says:

        Which insurance company is that???? Let us all know so we can avoid it.

      • Lady London says:

        Remember the clause has to be in there when you bought or renewed it. Otherwise it doesn’t count.

  • Boi says:

    Insurance related: I am currently in Canada- need to fly back tomorrow (instead of Thursday) as my daughter is not well. If I can’t get through to Amex or HSBC insurance would it still be ok to book a flight and claim when I arrive in UK?
    (I am assuming curtailing trip coz our 12 year old was sick will be a valid reason? We had left them with my sister)

    • Anna says:

      Boi, I can’t remember if I answered this on a different thread or my comment was removed for containing a link! If you google HSBC insurance FAQs I think it’s question 3 which says you are covered for curtailment if a family member falls ill at home. Hope you get sorted.

      • Polly says:

        Yes, immediate family covered, and you have the hospital report. I would still send them a message through contact us link, just to inform them and to show you actually tried to get hold of them. They are quite good with back dated claims, esp medical related. Hope your daughter is improving by the hour.

  • Christopher Mc says:

    Just found out my Admiral Gold policy doesn’t pay out even in the event of FCO ‘no travel’ advice.
    They’ll happily pay out for jury service though. Waste of money.

  • Renaud says:

    HSBC Premier travel insurance mentions that we are covered if
    ” you choose not to travel or continue your trip because […]
    (c) your accommodation is directly affected by a food poisoning outbreak, or the area in which you are staying is affected by pandemic or epidemic influenza;”
    Do you think that would cover an accomodation in the French Alps? There is no clear definition of “area” in the policy document.