HOLIDAYMAKERS worried about if the coronavirus outbreak will affect their trip should check their travel insurance policies to see if they're covered.
And those who are yet to take out insurance for an upcoming trip should make sure the policy will actually cover them in this case.
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There have been over 85,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, in countries including the UK, Spain, Thailand and France.
British tourists are already suffering holiday disruption – the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has banned travel to all of mainland China, parts of Italy and areas of South Korea.
Ryanair and British Airways have also scrapped hundreds of flights as holidaymakers ditch destinations affected by the virus.
And Flybe partly blamed the disease for dwindling sales and its eventual collapse with passengers afraid to fly.
In most cases, airlines and package holiday providers will issue refunds for cancellations due to an FCO travel ban.
But in instances where they don't have to give you your money back, such as a FCO "all but essential travel" warning, your travel insurance may cover you.
Here, we take you through what you need to look out for in your holiday insurance policy to make sure you're covered if your trip is affected by coronavirus:
What do I need to look out for in my insurance policy?
Martyn James from complaints tool Resolver warns that you'll want to avoid new policies where insurers have inserted "no coronavirus claims" clauses into contracts.
Comparison site GoCompare.com are advising customers to look for clauses that include cover for travel disruption and cancellations due to government restrictions.
You should also make sure your policy covers you for cancellations due to epidemic or pandemic restrictions.
What happens if I don't have travel insurance?
IF your travel insurance doesn't cover coronavirus cancellations, or you don't have any travel insurance, it's worth getting in touch with your travel operator.
You're not guaranteed any help but it might arrange an alternative holiday or allow you to rebook at a later date.
Free cancellations aren't guaranteed if you've booked through an ATOL-protected tour operator either.
This is because the protection is against the failure of the package holiday provider, and not for a major medical outbreak like the coronavirus.
Some travel companies are still offering worried holidaymakers help where possible.
For example, Greek airline Aegean Airlines is offering customers with flights to any destination before March 20 the chance to rebook for free.
If you've booked flights and accommodation separately, ask the airlines and hotels if they can help.
"Some insurers will list epidemic or pandemic under travel disruption, others will not," warns Sally Jaques, travel expert at the comparison site.
"That’s why it’s crucial people are checking with their insurer directly, as it’s not a one case fits all here."
Generally speaking, you will only get a refund if you took out an insurance policy before an FCO travel ban was issued.
So you may find it difficult to get a refund if you want to cancel your holiday if you're worried about the outbreak in the area of your destination.
This is because one in 10 insurance policies have "disinclination to travel" clauses (TravelInsurance.com) that mean they won't cover you if your decide that you don't want to go any more.
Only policies that have a "cancel for any reason" clause will cover you for these kinds of cancellations, but only nine per cent of those sold include it.
If you are covered by this clause, keep in mind that you'll need to cancel your trip at least 48 hours before the departure date and you should only expect to get 50-75 per cent of the holiday cost reimbursed.
How much cancellation cover do I need?
Most policies will include cancellation cover which lets you claim the cost of your trip if you're no long able to go, or it ends earlier than expected.
They're usually slightly more expensive though – on average £2.01 for single trip cover and £7.14 for annual multi-trip cover, according to comparison moneysupermarket.com.
It will cover you for any pre-booked transport, such as plane or train tickets, pre-booked accommodation, and other pre-booked expenses, such as tours and excursions.
But there will be a limit for what you can claim, usually between £1,000 and £5,000, so make sure that the amount at least covers what you've spent on your trip.
For example, if your flights cost £500, hotel booking costs £600 and a tour you've booked costs £100, you'll need to make sure the cancellation cover is at least £1,200.
You will also need to meet your policy provider's cancellation criteria though, such as accidental injury or illness, jury duty, bereavement or your destination becoming unsafe.
These differ between providers so it's worth checking with them before parting with your cash.
Can I get a refund if I cancel my holiday due to health concerns?
You may be able to get a refund for your trip if you cancel it because you're concerned that a pre-existing health condition may put you at greater risk of contracting the virus, even if you're not going to a country on the FCO's warning list, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) explains.
For most policies, it must be a condition that you have already told your insurers about and you will need to provide proof that a doctor has advised you not to travel.
We've put together a guide to which insurers will cover you in this instance, including AXA, Aviva and Direct Line.
It's worth noting though that these will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and you're not guaranteed a refund just because you've got a note from your GP.
You may be able to get your money back if you've had to cancel your trip because of an unexpected illness or injury.
You may even be covered if you're pregnant and your doctor advises you not to travel after you've purchased your insurance policy (pregnancy doesn't count as a pre-existing condition).
Martyn James added: "A good travel insurance policy will have a range of clauses about cancellation including being "fit to fly".
"That might be because of a pre-existing condition, pregnancy, or even if you’re suffering from anxiety and you get signed off by a medical professional."
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