Got travel insurance you're sure you won't use? Many insurers will now pay out a refund if you cancel
Major travel insurers including Axa, Churchill and Direct Line are now offering pro-rata refunds to customers who've ruled out travelling due to coronavirus and want to cancel their policy. But you'll need to request a refund to get one – and should only do this if you're certain you no longer need the cover.
With the Foreign and Commonwealth Office now advising against all but essential travel to all overseas destinations "indefinitely", lots of people have seen holidays cancelled, while many more who've yet to book are deciding not to even try and travel for the foreseeable future. So if you have a travel insurance policy you can no longer use, you may be able to get a partial refund, or at least change the dates of your cover.
Importantly, you can only do this if you haven't already made a claim on your policy. Only consider doing this if you don't have any travel still booked and if you've sorted a refund for any trips that have been cancelled, as once you've cancelled your travel insurance, it obviously won't give you any further protection.
And if you think you might want to book a trip in the near future, consider carefully if it's worth keeping your policy anyway – getting new travel insurance can be tricky at the moment, with many providers no longer taking on new customers.
See our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide for full help on holiday refunds, travel insurance and more.
Which travel insurers are offering refunds?
If you booked your insurance within the last 14 days, then as usual you've the right to cancel the policy under 'cooling off' rules – though firms can charge an administration fee.
For other policies, your chances of getting a refund depend on the insurer and whether your cover is annual or single trip. Here's what some of the big insurers told us – unless otherwise stated, the info for each insurer applies to all its policies regardless of when they were issued:
|Insurer||Annual policies – can I get a refund?
||Single-trip policies – can I get a refund or change the dates?|
|Admiral||Yes, pro-rata refund for total number of days left on policy||Yes, pro-rata refund for cover not used (calculated by days left on the cover) or can amend travel dates up to 365 days from date policy first bought|
|Allianz Assistance||No||Yes, full refund or can amend travel dates|
|Aviva||No||Yes, pro-rata refund for cover not used (based on length of policy still to run)|
|Axa||Yes if bought before 13 March 2020 – pro-rata refund for total number of days left on policy. No if bought on or after 13 March 2020||Yes if bought before 13 March 2020 – can get up to 65% refunded or amend travel dates. No if bought on or after 13 March 2020|
|Churchill||Yes, pro-rata refund for total number of days left on policy||Yes, can amend travel dates – can cover a trip up to 550 days from date policy first bought|
|Co-op||Yes, pro-rata refund based on date policy taken out and also other factors, eg, whether the policy has been travelled on||Possibly – you "may" be entitled to a partial refund|
|Direct Line||Yes, pro-rata refund for total number of days left on policy||Yes, can amend travel dates – can cover a trip up to 550 days from date policy first bought|
|LV||Waiting to hear back||Possibly – you can get a refund "in most cases" (we've asked for this to be clarified)
|More Th>n||No||Yes, can get a full refund or amend travel dates to any date up to a year in the future|
|Saga||Possibly, on a "case-by-case basis"||Possibly, on a "case-by-case basis"|
|Table last updated 27 April 2020.|
'Didn't occur to me to try to get a refund – I'll get £107 back, thanks!'
We've already seen some successes from people getting some of their money back after cancelling their policy.
For example, Tracy on Facebook told us: "Didn't occur to me to try to get a refund on travel insurance after I got my holiday deposit refunded. Just checked Columbus Direct website and they will refund premium in full. £107, thanks!"
Alex on Twitter is also getting money back: "Paid £191 for cruise travel insurance. Policy was active for two months approximately. Will receive £95.56 back."
If you've managed to cancel a policy and get a refund, let us know at email@example.com.
I want to get a refund – how do I do it?
To check if you can get a refund, and ask for one if you can, you'll need to contact your insurer. The best way to do this depends on your insurer – if you can, do it online as phone lines will be busy at the moment, but if you're stuck, ring to check.
Remember, in most cases the sooner you ask for the refund, the bigger the rebate you'll likely get, as most refunds are calculated pro-rata. So if you're sure you're going to do this, do it ASAP.
But before you do it, carefully weigh up if it's the right thing for you to do. In particular, if you have travel booked which you intend to cancel, make sure you've sorted any refund before cancelling your insurance, as you may find you need to rely on it to cover any cancellation costs.