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Travel insurance issues explained: UK-France holidays

Unrestricted travel is now permitted into France from within Europe so people can come for holidays and to a second home, but insurance issues have arisen.

Why travel insurance might be invalid

Problems may arise for visitors from the UK due to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continuing advice of ‘essential’ foreign travel only. An Association of British Insurers (ABI) spokeswoman said: “Generally, if you travel against FCO advice, then you are likely to invalidate your travel insurance. That applies to most British travel insurance policies. People should check the terms and conditions with insurers.”

Your money questions answered: can I still receive paper invoices instead of online?

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance covers private healthcare, mountain rescue, repatriation, lost or stolen baggage, or refunds if you cannot travel in situations not covered by EU guarantees, such as falling ill. The ABI said this does not apply to car insurance, and the AA and RAC said European breakdown cover is still valid. Healthcare insurance via a UK Ehic is valid.

Some major travel insurers in the UK are offering pro-rata refunds to people who want to cancel their policies due to the pandemic. ABI said if you took out European car insurance that you were not able to use due to Covid-19, some insurers may agree to pro-rata refunds. “They are being flexible. Refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

Read more: how to explore France in a campervan or motorhome this summer

News on the voluntary quarantine

A spokeswoman for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it regularly reviews its advice and is observing the impact as countries ease social distancing. The UK was due to review its 14-day obligatory quarantine for arrivals by the end of June. France has a reciprocal ‘voluntary’ 14-day quarantine for arrivals from the UK. It is up to individuals to act responsibly, it says. Some readers report being asked by travel firms on leaving the UK for France to give sworn statements that they do not have Covid-19 and are willing to self-isolate.

Read more: France domestic flight ban will apply to low-cost airlines

New air bridges

The UK’s transport minister said the government is “actively working” on “air bridges” with some countries where the virus is under control, and commentators speculate this will in­clude France. It would end the reciprocal quarantine and the UK “non-essential travel” advice. Such air bridges could start from July 4, The Telegraph reports a source saying. The Department for Transport did not confirm this.

The UK Home Office said it has no figures for numbers of checks done on whether people are respecting the quarantine rules. No fines had been issued for non-compliance by midnight on June 17. The UK says this is because the rules are being respected. The checks are by telephone by an agency of the Department of Health, and they can then be passed to police or Border Force officers if there are concerns.

Read more: how the French tourism industry is coping post-Covid-19

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Visa and residency cards for France*
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- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
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