Virgin Atlantic has just announced that is is providing free Covid-19 insurance coverage for all new and existing bookings, for travel until 31st March 2021.
It is the first UK airline to do so, although Emirates implemented a similar policy back in July. Allianz Assistance is underwriting the policy.
What’s covered by Virgin Atlantic’s Covid-19 insurance?
Virgin Atlantic is calling its coronavirus insurance the ‘most comprehensive Covid-19 cover provided by any major airline to date.’ Here is what it includes:
- Up to £500,000 necessary and emergency medical expenses incurred due to Coronavirus affecting you or your travel companions.
- Repatriation due to Coronavirus, should it be medically necessary.
- Up to £3,000 if you are required to quarantine during a trip or denied boarding at origin or destination. This includes ‘reasonable costs’ for accommodation, transportation, refreshments (but not alcohol!), booking amendment fees and other travel expenses.
- Cover for your whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of your time away.
- One way tickets, with cover ending 12 hours after your flight arrives.
- Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of journey.
Crucially, there is no premium OR excess payable – Virgin Atlantic is bundling it into every ticket they sell.
Note that this insurance cover does NOT replace a comprehensive travel insurance plan. It is limited to claims related to Covid-19. Any epidemic or pandemic other than coronavirus is also not covered!
Any travel undertaken against FCO or other governmental advice is not covered. You cannot claim from this policy if your trip is cancelled due to changes in FCO advice, which is why you should have additional travel insurance.
You ARE covered if someone else on your booking – not you – contracts Covid-19 during your trip.
Covid tests are NOT included in the cover, unless “it is medically necessary and on the request of a treating doctor in order to diagnose and treat the patient.” That means you can’t claim if your destination country requires a negative test for entry.
You can read the policy document here.
Is £3,000 enough for quarantine and denied boarding?
The only thing that sticks out from this policy is what seems to be fairly low cover if you are required to quarantine.
In a worst case scenario where you must quarantine for 14 days £3,000 doesn’t seem like a lot – just £215 per day.
This is fine if you’re staying in cheaper hotels but won’t be enough at the higher end of the market. To be fair, this is still significantly more than the €100 Emirates is offering its passengers per day.
If you make a points or miles booking Virgin Atlantic will only reimburse the lowest cash equivalent. You are not covered for:
“More than the lowest market value of equivalent accommodation, transport charges and other travel expenses, if payment was made using frequent flyer points, loyalty card points, redeemable vouchers or another similar scheme.”
Whilst people seem content to book short haul flights last minute, long haul flying still looks a little precarious. This is a smart move by Virgin Atlantic to try and boost its forward bookings and offer passengers some peace of mind.
It’s also hard to disagree that this is the ‘most comprehensive’ coverage of any airline. Virgin Atlantic’s Covid-19 cover certainly outdoes the Emirates policy which offers substantially lower payouts.
You can read more on the Virgin Atlantic website here.