Why Virgin Atlantic’s Covid-19 Insurance is Nice to Have, But…

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Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Allianz Insurance to offer FREE Covid-19 insurance to passengers flying Virgin Atlantic between 24 August, 2020 and 31 March, 2021. To qualify, your ticket must be issued by Virgin Atlantic – the ticket number will start with “932” and must include at least one Virgin Atlantic flight. Already-booked tickets are covered – what matters is the travel date.

This covers:

  • 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.
  • Denied Boarding/Quarantine – We will cover many necessary additional costs should you or your travelling companion be denied boarding or individually requested to quarantine in your destination due to Coronavirus, including personal accommodation, transport charges, refreshments, booking amendment fees and other travel expenses incurred.
  • Cover for your whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of your time away.
  • Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of journey.
  • There is no excess payable with this policy (unlike other traditional travel insurance policies).

However, the following is NOT covered:

  • Covid-19 tests, if a negative test is required by the destination country (in advance or upon arrival)
  • Trip cancellation (i.e. prepaid accommodation, etc.), even if Virgin Atlantic cancels their flights
  • One-way flights (12 hours after arrival, your coverage ceases, even if your return flight is on Virgin Atlantic, but booked separately)
  • Any other health issues besides Covid-19

You can read more about Virgin Atlantic’s insurance by clicking here.

OK, But…

There’s certainly no reason to complain about Virgin Atlantic trying to provide peace of mind. I certainly would not feel 100% confident that my current travel insurance provider will cover me for Covid-related costs, especially if travelling against FCO advice. So this policy might fill in a potential gap.

But here’s what we really need to book long haul travel again, with Virgin Atlantic or any other airline:

  1. To know that the airline WILL actually operate the flight they are selling (or at least refund our money promptly – Virgin Atlantic has been delaying refunds for several months)
  2. To know that the destination country WILL allow us to enter without a long quarantine, and won’t prohibit international flights without warning
  3. To feel confident that residents / travel sector employees of the destination country are respecting social distancing guidelines, wearing masks, disinfecting properly, etc.  (the cost of being treated for Covid might be an issue for some, but most people probably would just rather not get sick!)
  4. To trust that the UK government won’t implement with little warning a 14-day quarantine for returnees from your destination country

In other words, as travel was before… Book a holiday, look forward to that holiday, enjoy it safely and return home to work/school/etc. with no undue hassle. Unfortunately, no airline can provide such assurance right now…

What Do You Think?

Am I being too harsh? Is this insurance policy something that provides better coverage and peace of mind than current travel insurance providers are offering? Does it incentivise you to book Virgin Atlantic instead of the competition? Let us know in the comments section…

Comments

  1. Chris says

    It’s a step in the right direction. But the only real solution is for foreign governments hungry for tourism and business travel to do what the Kenyan government did when Kenya was declared an “essential travel only” country because of terrorism. They organised (with AIG) an affordable inbound travel policy which I used a number of times. The rates were incomparably lower than those being offered now by Battleface. I wish they would do the same again, other countries too. Particularly for tourists, it’s not an option for a family of four, say, to buy four covid tests with doctor’s certs within 48 or 96 hours of travel, pay Battleface insurance rates (which anyway exclude covid cover above a certain age) and airfares that are generally higher than normal. If they’re heading to a medium- or long-haul destination, they’ll have spent easily £3-4,000 before paying for transport, hotels and meals. The insurance situation is grossly unfair. The only reason the FCO has designated countries non-exempt is because of covid. But the other risks of travel (accident, theft) remain exactly the same. It’s a dream come true for insurers which sold thousands of expensive annual travel policies to have a legitimate-sounding reason to refuse any claim for any reason from non-exempt countries – e.g. most of the world. The insurance industry obviously has no incentive to change this, though whether people will be quite so keen to renew travel policies costing hundreds of pounds next year now they’ve discovered their limitations remains to be seen.

  2. Hannah says

    It’s also worth noting that this policy doesn’t cover travel to countries where the FCO is advising against all or all but essential travel. This is buried in at the bottom of one of the policy documents. I need to make an essential trip to the US in a couple of months, so I was almost swayed to go with Virgin, until I read through all the details and realised that the cover wouldn’t be valid anyway.

    • Craig Sowerby says

      Really? Good spot. I already thought that it was rather pointless, but there will be some really unhappy Virgin customers if they get caught out by that fine print.

  3. Terry McManus says

    Good…dosnt need to be 100 % bells and whistles but if the World airlines want to get back into some sort of Business..mode…then they all have to offer the same or at least similar “benefits”…No magic bullets out there but is one of many possible opportunities of …for a return to anywhere near normality…Otherwise Sit on your Jump seats and continue to naval gaze…2020–1-2-3…

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