France-UK travel: how quarantine would affect insurance

The UK may take action related to travelling to France if the number of cases of coronavirus in the country continues to increase. We break down how this could affect insurance coverage. 

11 August 2020
The UK may decide to change its advice on travel to France if Covid-19 numbers continue to rise in the country
By Connexion journalist

Currently, there are no travel restrictions between the two countries, but that may change. One possibility is that the UK imposes a two-week quarantine on anyone arriving from France. Another is that as well as the quarantine measures, the UK Foreign Office (FCO) updates France’s status to advise against all-but-essential travel to the country.

What happens if FCO advice changes?

If the FCO changes France’s status and advises against all-but-essential travel to the country, there could be huge disruptions. 

A spokesperson for insurance company AllClear told Connexion that “cancellation cover would not be offered under travel insurance if that advice changes specifically due to Covid-19”. This is likely to be the same for all other insurers too. 

However, AllClear did say that if a person is already on holiday in France and the FCO advice changes, then their insurance with AllClear would not be affected.   

“We believe this to be an event out of their control and cover should be available for costs incurred as result of the change in advice that are not recoverable from the holiday provider or airline where people have to change travel plans or cut short their holiday,” the spokesperson told Connexion.  

This is not guaranteed to be the same with every insurance provider and anyone planning to travel to France in the coming weeks should check this with their insurer. 

For individual travel companies, if the FCO advice changes there is no guarantee they will offer refunds if a person decides to cancel their holiday. If the travel company itself cancels the service you are booked on, you should be entitled to a refund. Most travel companies are currently offering the opportunity to reschedule bookings for free. 

There is similarly no guarantee that accommodation providers will offer refunds if FCO advice is changed. 

If you have booked a package holiday and FCO advice changes before you travel, you will be due a full refund. 

What happens if only quarantine measures are imposed?

“There are a range of policies that offer cover for travel to France whilst FCO allows non-essential travel,” the AllClear spokesperson said.

This includes covering people for cancellation if they or a member of their travelling party contracts Covid-19 before the date of travel. Cover will also apply if a member of the party has to cancel the trip because of issues they may incur due to quarantine measures. 

“Cover is also available for emergency medical expenses whilst overseas where someone contracts Covid-19,  for repatriation back to the UK if it is deemed in the patient's best interests; costs for a relative to fly out to join someone who is recuperating from Covid-19 and up to 30 days of free additional cover should a policy be due to expire but because of the length of stay in hospital and recuperation the policy can be extended to maintain cover,” the spokesperson stated. 

This again may be different depending on which insurer you are with. 

It is highly likely that if the UK imposes quarantine measures on people travelling from France, it will also add France to its list of countries where only essential travel is advised. 

Is it possible to travel to France regardless of FCO advice?

Yes. If your travel and accommodation is uninterrupted and you wish to travel to France against FCO advice, you can. In this case, you will be obliged to self-isolate for two weeks on your return to the UK. 

Also, you will not be covered by any private travel or medical insurance. You will still be covered by a valid European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) if you have one. This will only cover basic medical costs, though, and so any additional treatment, which can be expensive, you will have to pay yourself. 

The AllClear spokesperson said that they recommend people thinking very carefully about the risks of travelling right now. 

“We can’t emphasise strongly enough that travel against FCO advice invalidates cover,” they stated.

Read more about UK-France quarantine measures:

UK quarantine for 'at risk' countries: Is anyone exempt?

France-UK quarantine: 'I'm very concerned for my holiday'

France risks being placed on UK quarantine list

If UK imposes France quarantine, will France do same back?

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