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Virgin Atlantic giving free coronavirus insurance to ALL passengers – what’s covered?

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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.

You can see full details on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website.

Virgin Atlantic coronavirus insurance

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.

Virgin Atlantic coronavirus insurance

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.”

Conclusion

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.


How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 15,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (34)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Jonathan says:

    Agree on the £3k point.

    For those who have it, I recently enquired about the equivalent insurance cover provided by the HSBC Premier card Travel Insurance and was pleasantly surprised to find out they covered £7.5k per person for accommodation if required to stay longer /self isolate etc. From what I can tell its a decent insurance product, even though it doesn’t appear to get much airtime vs. the Amex Plat offering.

    • Jonathan says:

      (A different Jonathan). Based on my multiple experiences HSBC Premier insurance is streets ahead of Amex Platinum. Despite having both I’ve always ended up claiming through HSBC as limits are higher & they are more flexible. They also pay out via immediate bank transfer during the initial claim phone call.

      • JP_MCO says:

        Thank Jonathans! This is really helpful – I never knew this. I always just assumed the HSBC Premier insurance offering wasn’t that robust. It’s good to know that it’s a strong policy.

        On a separate but related note, I am also a ‘Jonathan’!

  • SammyJ says:

    My reading is that it expires on 31st March 2021, irrespective of your departure date, so Virgin’s peak Easter holiday Florida trippers (last week March/first wk of April) Won’t be fully covered by this, the cover only works for the first part of their trip. Not sure how the T&Cs apply if you were to take ill the first week but need further treatment or repatriation they second?

    • Roberto says:

      I have a one way award booking to Barbados and appreciate the insurance but as it only lasts 12 hours after landing some of cover is redundant but happy to take it.

      Seems a good deal to me.

      • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

        It’s a bit vague on one way flights. You just need to have a return flight booked – nothing specific about Virgin. So if you had a return flight ticketed by someone else then according to their definition you’d not be on a one-way trip and be covered until you returned home.

        Wouldn’t work in reverse though. You have to ‘actually fly’ using your ticket to be covered, so you’d have no coverage on an itinerary where you flew out with someone else and were prevented from returning on a Virgin one-way.

  • Jon says:

    I’m not sure there are many / any destinations that VS are flying to which are currently not subject to the FCO ‘all but essential’ guidance, making the insurance pretty useless at the moment.

    • Tim says:

      This is my thinking too. The government announces quarantine requirement and the FCO immediately updates advice. There seems to be no differentiation and therefore insurance is invalidated.

      • Jonathan says:

        It’s actually a bit of a mess to be honest. The FCO general guidance excludes all but essential travel with specific exceptions.

        The government have a separate list of countries for which upon returning you don’t have to self-isolate. These lists are in some cases different.

        Take Mauritius, it’s have very few coronavirus cases, it is on the governments list, but it’s on the FCO list, the implication being travel insurance generally is invalidated. As it happens the border is shut for now but it’s not the only example.

        It’s a complete mess and I’m amazed there’s not been more in the press about this point. Inevitably some people are going away assuming they’re covered as their destination is on the self-isolation exemption list when in reality they don’t have insurance cover.

  • MikeL says:

    A very decent offer from Virgin tbh. Like many other travellers, I’m concerned about insurance cover restrictions / exclusions and that has ultimately put paid to my potential travel plans for the next 6 months (at least)

  • TripRep says:

    Good initiative, I’m assuming that they are not planning to offer anything similar for redemption tickets?

  • marcw says:

    Good. But kinda useless. No one should be booking long haul flights. No one. Unless you have to. There are no indication that borders will be opening – just the opposite: more countries are announcing they are extending the closure of borders.

    • Tim says:

      Yes but little Billy and/or little Sally will miss their holidays and be very sad….

      • Mikeact says:

        Little Billy and/or Little Sally never went overseas when I was a kid.

    • Andi says:

      Surely a long-haul to Barbados where there are strict testing requirements pre/on arrival and really low case numbers is better than a short haul to a greek island which has no such testing requirements, are more crowded and are seeing a significant rise in case numbers?

    • Harry T says:

      I believe VS have taken many months to refund customers with cancelled flights too.

  • Jessiefan says:

    This is a game changer offer from Virgin, I can’t believe the Branson haters on here that think otherwise, I mean do you expect Virgin to put you up in an Intercontinental if you have to quarantine, £215 a day sounds generous.
    My reading is you have to BOOK by 31st March, not travel by then.

    I have noticed flights seem more expensive altho that goes for all airlines, and very little VS redemption availability after mid March

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      If you fall ill mid-trip, you may be stuck in the room you’d already booked. If you need to extend that for up to a fortnight at rack rate dining only on room service then you could easily overshoot £3k.

    • Mikeact says:

      I think you must be mistaken, I don’t recall any Branson haters on this site ?

      • Rob says:

        It is FLY by 31st March. If you are halfway through your trip, your cover still ceases on 31st.

  • Alastair says:

    Reported on LBC this morning that Virgin haven’t secured funding and unless RB sells assets there may be no business in any event. Is this a good time to transfer miles elsewhere?

    • Mikeact says:

      I believe September 2nd is the final crunch date, assuming that today’s vote gets the green light…but I stand to be corrected.

      • Rob says:

        The vote today will pass eventually, if only because the court can impose it even if it fails (that’s democracy for you!).

        • insider says:

          in the unlikely event that it doesn’t pass, could Virgin cease trading at the end of today?

          • Rob says:

            My understanding is that VS goes to the court to ask the court to impose the deal. Only if the court refuses does Virgin go into administration. That wouldn’t be today.

            Remember we are talking about £10m here. That’s it. The unsecured voting creditors have, between them, £50m due from the airline and the airline wants a 20% haircut and time to pay the balance. Hard to imagine such a small thing bringing down the airline.

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