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Travel insurance, Coronavirus and FAQs

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and any other pandemics

Travel Insurance

You should refer to the travel insurance terms (including the endorsement) for details of the cover provided.

Your travel insurance changed on 5th January 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

You should also refer to the FAQs below for more information on what you are covered and not covered for.

As the Government advice changes in relation to travel and Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to check Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice before you book a new trip and before you travel. www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus (opens in a new window) and the advice of the UK Government www.gov.uk/coronavirus (opens in a new window)

As you can imagine, our insurance provider is experiencing higher volumes of enquiries, so it may take longer than normal for you to get through to them. Your patience is appreciated during this busy time.

Please check our FAQs below before calling; we’re updating them regularly and you may find the answer you need there.

Remember you don’t need to purchase an upgrade for your travel insurance until you book a trip.

Travel Traffic Light System - Red, Amber and Green List

The UK Government has announced a new Traffic Light System for travel from Monday 17th May 2021 outlining the rules required to re-enter the UK when returning from abroad. You must make sure you meet these conditions and further details can be found by clicking on the links below, according to which nation you live in.

In addition to the Traffic Light System you must monitor the Travel Advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Foreign travel advice (opens in a new window) when you book a trip and before you travel.

How does the Traffic Light System affect my travel insurance?

As long as you are not travelling to a destination where the FCDO advise against 'all travel' you are covered by your insurance to travel, subject to the policy terms and conditions.

Your travel insurance will not provide cover to cancel a trip due to the Traffic Light System if:

  • you booked the trip on or after 5th January 2021
  • the FCDO are not advising against 'all' or 'all but essential' travel to your destination
  • when you booked your trip the FCDO were advising against travel to your destination

For further information on your cover please visit our frequently asked questions.

Travel Cancellation and Legal Expenses information

If you have had to cancel your trip before it was due to start for one of the cancellation reasons covered by the policy, then you may wish to submit a claim.

Please remember that your policy will not cover any expenses that you can recover from elsewhere.

If your travel provider has been unable to provide the service you booked, you should first speak to your travel provider to seek a refund from them.

If you paid by credit card and the value of your booking is more than £100, you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact your card issuer for further information. Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice, as you may be able to make a claim under their chargeback rules. This applies if the service you have paid for is not being provided e.g. the hotel you booked is closed.

If you are unable to obtain the refund from the travel provider or another party and wish to make a claim, please ensure you have kept records of communications with your provider or another party, along with any booking and cancellation invoices to help us manage your claim efficiently.

Remember that your policy includes Legal Cover for a breach of contract relating to your trip. Please check the policy wording for full details.

If you wish to make a claim, please consider using our online claims service within the membership benefits website (opens in a new window) and click 'make a claim' under your Travel Insurance.

Please note that all claims made are subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.

Other account benefits

If you have purchased a holiday through our Travel Service or bought tickets from us for an event, we understand you may be concerned about potential cancellations. You may not have heard from us yet, but please be assured that we are working to contact all affected customers. Please check our FAQs below for further information.

Membership Services website

If you encounter any issues registering for the first time or logging in to view your benefits, please check our FAQs below before contacting us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Important Note: The following general advice does not replace the terms and conditions of your Travel Insurance policy and you should read your policy booklet for further information.

1. Booking your trip

What cover does my travel insurance provide for COVID-19?

Following the changes to our terms effective from 5th January 2021, you’ll be covered for the following situations related to COVID-19:

  • Cancelling a trip if you or any insured person, a close relative or travelling companion are diagnosed with COVID-19 or a pandemic disease
  • Emergency medical expenses abroad if you or any insured person are diagnosed with COVID-19 or a pandemic disease while on your trip
  • Cutting your trip short due to a change in Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice as long as you weren’t aware of this advice when you travelled
  • Cutting your trip short if you’re unable to stay in pre-booked accommodation due to COVID-19 or a pandemic, as long as you weren’t aware of this when you travelled

You won't be covered if you cancel a trip due to quarantine (including Test and Trace or other Government alternative) or FCDO advice as a result of COVID-19 or a pandemic.

If I booked a trip before 5th January 2021, will I be covered for COVID-19 or any other pandemic?

Your travel insurance will provide cover for cancelling a trip if:

  • any insured person, a close relative, or travelling companion is diagnosed with a serious illness (including COVID-19 or another disease that is declared a pandemic)
  • you are quarantined before your trip starts

as long as you weren't aware of this reason to cancel when you booked the trip or your cover started, whichever is later. Your account must have been opened and your trip booked before 5th January 2021 in order for this cover to be in place.

You will also be covered for cancelling a trip if:

  • the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is advising against travel due to COVID-19, as long as this advice wasn't in place when you booked the trip or your cover started, whichever is later

When there is no FCDO advice against 'all travel', you will be covered whilst on a trip for emergency medical expenses including reasonable additional travel costs and for cutting short a trip due to COVID-19 or another pandemic, as long as you weren't aware of any reason to claim when you departed on your trip.

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be insured?

No, your travel insurance policy does not require you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be insured to travel.

When do I need to purchase any upgrades I need for my travel insurance?

You should consider purchasing any upgrades you need such as an age extension if you are over 70 or cover for pre-existing medical conditions when you book a trip, this is to make sure should anything happen before you are due to depart on that trip you are covered for cancellation for the reasons listed in the policy terms and conditions.

You can find out more about the upgrades available at rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window). Just log in and select Travel Insurance to view the upgrade options. If you hold a Black or Reward Black account, then you can do this on the Royal Bank of Scotland Premier Black mobile App.

How do I ensure I have flexibility to change my travel plans for future bookings?

Before you book a trip, remember to speak with your travel and accommodation provider about whether they would let you cancel or change your trip if you needed to. An ATOL-bonded package holiday could offer better protection than independently booked trips.

For the latest travel advice, please check the UK Government websites at www.gov.uk/coronavirus (opens in a new window) and www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus (opens in a new window).

If applicable, please also ensure you have the necessary travel insurance upgrades in place before you rely on your travel insurance cover (for example, if you or any insured persons are aged 70 or over or have a pre-existing medical condition). You can arrange an upgrade online at rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window). Just log in and select Travel Insurance to view the upgrade options.

If you hold a Black account, then you can do this on the Royal Bank of Scotland Premier Black mobile App. App available to Black account customers registered with Membership Services. "Black account" refers to Black and Premier Reward Black accounts. Available on iOS 11 and Android 6.0 (and above).

2. Before your trip

My trip has been cancelled, when should I contact the claims team to make a claim?

Your travel insurance has a specific exclusion relating to recoverable expenses, this means that any expenses you can recover from elsewhere are not covered by your travel insurance policy.

You should only contact the claims department once you have tried to recover your costs back from elsewhere.

Before contacting the claims team please take the following steps:

  1. Speak to the provider of your trip to understand if a refund is available, including a credit note or a voucher
  2. If you booked your trip using a credit or debit card, you should speak to your card issuer for advice on whether you can claim a refund from them. This is only applicable if you paid more than £100 for the trip and the service you have paid for isn't available, for example the hotel is closed so you can’t stay there as planned

The claims team cannot log a claim until you have tried to recover costs from elsewhere where that option is available.

If I have to cancel my trip will the cost of any COVID-19 tests be covered?

If your cancellation claim is accepted by the insurer, then the cost of any non-refundable tests (used or unused) will be covered by your travel insurance policy. You should speak to the test provider in the first instance and obtain evidence that the cost of the test cannot be refunded.

Can I cancel a trip because the country which I am travelling to has been placed on the Government Red or Amber Traffic Light Travel list?

No, you will not be covered to cancel a trip due to the country that you are travelling to being placed on the red or amber travel list. We recommend you speak to your travel provider to see what options are available to you.

If you booked a trip and had an account open with us before 5 January 2021 and you cannot get a refund from your travel provider, you may be able to claim if the country you are travelling to is placed on the red or amber traffic light list as long as the FCDO also advise against travel and this occurs within 28 days of your departure, as long as when you booked the trip the FCDO were not advising against travel to your destination.

Am I covered to cancel my trip if I don't receive the results of a COVID-19 test and am therefore not permitted to board my booked transport?

No, your policy will not provide cover to cancel the trip should a test result be delayed preventing you from boarding. Should your test result be positive, you will be covered to cancel the trip, subject to the policy terms and conditions.

Am I covered if I cancel my trip if I don't want to go because of COVID-19 or any other pandemic related risks?

No, there is no cover for cancelling your trip if you choose not to travel.

Am I covered if I cancel my trip because I will have to quarantine on arrival at my destination?

If you booked your trip or became an insured person on or after 5th January 2021 there is no cover to cancel a trip due to quarantine on arrival at your destination.

If your trip was booked and insurance in place before the 5th January 2021, you will be covered to cancel, as long as when you booked the trip or became an insured person (whichever was later) there was no requirement to quarantine upon arrival at your destination.

If the area where I live or am due to travel to is locked down by the Government and I'm unable to go on my trip, am I covered?

If you opened your account or booked your trip, whichever was later, on or after 5th January 2021, there's no cover for cancelling your trip due to any Government actions or restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 or a pandemic, this includes NHS Test and Trace and local or national lockdowns.

If your trip was booked and current account open before 5th January 2021 you may be able to claim and you should contact the insurer to register a claim or you can do this on line at rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window).

Am I covered if I cancel my trip because a country has locked down the area I am due to travel to, because of COVID-19 or any other disease that’s declared a pandemic, and I am therefore unable to use my pre-booked accommodation?

If you booked your trip or opened your account on or after 5th January 2021, there is no cover and you should speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

If your trip was booked and current account open before 5th January 2021, there is cover to cancel a trip, providing there was no FCDO or local country advice in place at the time you booked your trip or opened your account/purchased your upgrade, whichever is later. You must first speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative.

Does my cancellation cover vary if I change my account type to another Packaged Account type on or after 5th January 2021?

Providing your trip was covered by travel insurance on a Packaged Account with us before 5th January 2021, there is no change to your cancellation cover so long as the new account terms still include that type of trip.

If your trip was not covered by travel insurance on a Packaged Account with us before 5th January 2021, and you need to cancel your trip before it starts then you will not be covered for the following reasons:

  • Quarantine: You will not be covered for cancelling a trip if you, a close relative or travelling companion need to quarantine or self-isolate in the UK or abroad, including as a result of Government or local authority action (such as Test and Trace/Protect) due to COVID-19 or another disease that's declared a pandemic. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or another disease that's declared a pandemic, and need to quarantine you will still be covered.
  • FCDO advice: You will not be covered for cancelling a trip if the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is advising against 'All Travel' or 'All but essential travel' to your intended destination due to COVID-19 or another disease that's declared a pandemic.
  • Natural disaster: You will not be covered for cancelling a trip if you are unable to use your pre-booked and pre-paid accommodation because the accommodation or immediate surrounding area is adversely affected by COVID-19 or another disease that's declared a pandemic (this is covered under 'natural disaster' in the terms).

3. During your trip

Am I covered for medical expenses if I travel to a country that is on the Government Amber or Red list and I'm diagnosed with COVID-19 while on holiday?

Yes, if you or any insured person travelling with you are diagnosed with COVID-19 or a pandemic disease, you'll be covered for medical and reasonable additional travel expenses. This only applies if you're not travelling against medical advice or visiting an area where the FCDO has advised against 'all travel'.

If the FCDO advice changes while you're on your trip, you'll still be covered if you need to make a claim for medical expenses.

If I am refused boarding due to a failed health check at a UK airport, am I covered?

Yes, you will be covered for cutting short a trip if you are denied boarding due to a COVID-19 or other pandemic test in the airport.

Am I covered to cut short my trip if the country I have travelled to is moved to the Red or Amber list, or FCDO advice changes, whilst I am there?

No, you will not be covered to cut short a trip due to the country that you are in being placed on the red or amber travel list, unless the FCDO also advise against all travel to your destination. We recommend you speak to your travel provider to see what options are available to you.

Am I covered if the country I'm due to travel to refuses entry because I do not have the required documents to enter, such as a visa or required form of vaccine passport?

You won't be covered if you're refused entry to your travel destination because you don't have the correct travel documentation including evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.

You should speak to your trip provider to see if they can provide a refund or offer you an alternative. Before booking a trip and travelling you should read the advice provided by the FCDO on what the entry requirements are for your destination, as well as understanding what the Traffic Light System means for your return to the United Kingdom.

Am I covered for additional expenses if I have to quarantine when I arrive at my destination?

Providing the requirement to quarantine is unforeseen and was not in place when you booked your trip, opened your account or departed on your trip you will be covered for reasonable additional accommodation and transport costs.

Am I covered for additional travel and accommodation expenses abroad because the result of my routine COVID-19 test is positive and I am not permitted to board my booked transport home?

Yes, if you test positive whilst on a trip, you will be covered for emergency medical expenses, including additional transport and accommodation until you can return home.

4. General Policy FAQs

I am 70 years or older – am I still covered by my travel insurance?

In order for cover to continue once you or any other insured person reach the age of 70 you are required to purchase an Age Extension (presently £75 per person per year) and to be medically screened. If you previously held an Age Extension, but have allowed this to lapse or you asked for this to be cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic when travel for non-essential purposes was not permitted, then you will need to purchase another Age Extension in order to reinstate your travel insurance cover. You can do this by contacting the insurer via Membership Services at rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window), or by telephone on 0345 246 1312.

If you hold a Black account, then you can do this on the Royal Bank of Scotland Premier Black mobile App. App available to Black account customers registered with Membership Services. 'Black account' refers to Black and Premier Reward Black accounts. Available on iOS 11 and Android 6.0 (and above).

I have a medical condition – am I covered by my travel insurance?

Your travel insurance does not automatically cover any pre-existing medical conditions. When you become an insured person or book your trip (whichever is later), you should contact the insurer via Membership Services at rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window), or by telephone on 0345 246 1312 to determine if cover can be provided for the medical condition. These need to be declared for any insured person.

If you hold a Black account, then you can do this on the Royal Bank of Scotland Premier Black mobile App. App available to Black account customers registered with Membership Services. 'Black account' refers to Black and Premier Reward Black accounts. Available on iOS 11 and Android 6.0 (and above).

How do you define a pre-existing condition?

Any medical condition for which, at the date you became an insured person or the date when you booked your trip, whichever is later, you:

  • had received advice, medication or treatment from a doctor during the last 12 months;
  • were under investigation or awaiting diagnosis;
  • were on a waiting list for treatment as an in-patient or were aware of the need for treatment as an in-patient; or
  • have received a terminal prognosis

Can I change my mind about cover for my medical conditions?

If you have contacted us to tell us about your pre-existing medical conditions and we have confirmed to you in writing that these are covered, this cover will be in place for 12 months. If you decide you no longer want cover for your pre-existing medical conditions, cover can be removed at renewal.

You must remember that if you choose not to have cover for your pre-existing medical conditions or we confirm we are unable to extend cover for them, any claim relating to the condition(s) will not be covered. When you book a new trip, you need to make sure that cover is still adequate, if you've been diagnosed with new conditions or your health has changed, it is imperative to let us know, otherwise your cover will be affected.

Why has your offer changed to provide cover for my medical history?

If we have changed how we define a medical condition, then we will write to you and let you know. However, if we change our premiums, the questions we ask about specific medical conditions or what we’re willing to cover, then we will only do this at renewal of your medical screening – we won’t change these part way through the upgrade year.

As with all types of insurance, our claims performance drives our decision to change the premiums or the way we provide cover, you might find one year we decline to cover your conditions, but the next year we might offer cover for an additional premium or vice versa, which is why it’s very important to keep us updated on your medical history – this way you can make sure that the cover meets your needs.

Is my travel insurance valid if I travel to a Red or Amber listed country?

Yes, you are insured to travel to a country listed as Amber or Red on the Government Traffic Light System,subject to terms and conditions (including any endorsements), as long as the FCDO haven't advised against 'all travel’ to your destination. It is important that you keep up to date with the FCDO advice for your intended destination, as this is subject to frequent change, you can find out more by visiting https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice (opens in a new window).

You should make sure you are clear on the entry requirements of the country you intend to visit.

Am I covered for quarantine expenses in the UK if my destination moved to the red list when I am on my trip?

No, if your destination moves to a different list on the Traffic Light System when you are on a trip the cost of additional testing and quarantine to return to the UK is not covered by your travel insurance.

Can I get a refund if I haven’t been able to use my travel insurance upgrade due to the pandemic?

Your travel insurance policy usually only allows upgrade refunds if you cancel within the first 14 days of purchase.

However if you have been unable to use your cover as you intended due to COVID-19 then please contact the insurer to discuss this.

I've only paid a deposit for my trip – should I pay the balance?

Only you can decide whether to pay for the rest of your trip or not. Your travel insurance will only provide cover for cancellation if there is a valid reason to cancel.

Remember if you opened your account or booked a trip on or after 5th January 2021 there is no cover for cancelling a trip due to quarantine, FCDO advice or natural disaster, as a result of COVID-19 or another pandemic.

You should speak to your travel provider to see what options are available to you.

Should I take a travel voucher instead of a refund?

If your travel provider has cancelled your trip, in most cases they are legally required to offer you a refund. However,, many providers are offering travel vouchers or a credit note instead. It’s your decision whether to take this or not. Ask yourself if you’re likely to travel with the company again and check whether they are offering a Refund Credit Note that is legally protected by ATOL certification.

Keep in mind, if you’re offered a travel voucher or credit note but choose not to take it, your travel insurance will not provide cover for a cash equivalent, where the credit note or voucher is considered a refund of your booking.

A voucher or credit note that I previously accepted has now expired, am I able to claim for this loss through my travel insurance?

You should speak to the company that issued the voucher in the first instance to see if you are entitled to an extension or if you can get a cash refund. If this is denied and the travel provider is not legally obliged to provide you with a refund or an extension of the voucher, you may be able to claim through your travel insurance and you should contact the claims team to discuss your individual circumstances.

I am going on a cruise around the UK, what is the medical and repatriation limit?

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic UK cruise providers require travel insurance to provide higher than normal cover for medical and repatriation costs. In response to this change the insurer is automatically extending the limit for UK cruises for travel departing in 2021 to £10,000,000. If you require confirmation of this increased limit please contact the insurer or you can download a copy by visiting rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window), logging in and selecting Travel Insurance. You must ensure you meet all the conditions of carriage for your cruise provider.

Where can I find my policy number?

Your unique policy number can be found on any documentation we have issued to you in relation to upgrades or policy extensions, such as medical screening, trip or age extensions. Your policy number is also shown on the Confirmation of Cover letter which can be found by logging in at rbs.co.uk/benefits (opens in a new window) and selecting the Use Benefit option for travel insurance.

Do I need to tell you if I'm going on holiday to be covered under the annual Travel Insurance policy?

No, your Travel Insurance allows you to take multiple trips over the course of a year, without having to tell us each time you go. You are covered for all your trips as long as no single trip lasts for more than 22 days on Silver account cover, 31 days on Platinum and 90 days on Black and it includes Winter Sports trips too. Any trips in the UK needs to be for a minimum of 3 consecutive days.

Where can I travel to?

Silver account covers travel to Europe, as defined in the policy terms, and Platinum/Black account covers worldwide travel, however none of our policies will cover you to travel to areas where the FCDO have advised against 'all travel'.

What if my travel is delayed or cancelled?

If you have booked through a travel agent or tour operator, or an EU airline, they will usually provide you with a refund or alternative transport. However, there is also cover on our travel insurance policies. If you have checked in and your departure is delayed by more than 4 hours, you can claim (per person) up to £250 for additional accommodation, travel or refreshment costs.

If the delay goes beyond 6 hours (trip 4 nights or less) or 12 hours (trip 5 nights or more), you can abandon your trip and claim the cost back up to £5,000 per person for Silver and Platinum accounts or £10,000 per person on Black Account. You can continue your journey by other means (e.g. if you were due to fly to Paris, are delayed, but can get the Eurostar) as long as that costs no more than abandoning would do.

What is APD and why is it deducted from my claim?

Air Passenger Duty is a tax, payable when you take the flight. If you have not taken the flight, you should contact your airline to refund this to you.

What happens if I close or change my account?

From the time and date you close your account or change (downgrade) to an account that doesn't have Travel Insurance included, then all cover ceases under the policy – this applies even if you are part way through a trip or have an upgrade you have paid for.

Will I still be covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) following the Brexit Agreement?

The transition period between the UK and the EU ended on 31st December 2020. The new deal means that existing EHICs will remain valid until their expiry in the large majority of European countries. For up to date information please visit www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021 (opens in a new window) where you will find the latest details.

For customers who don't currently have an EHIC or need to renew their EHIC, this can be done by applying for the new 'Global Health Insurance Card'. You can do this at Applying for healthcare cover abroad (GHIC and EHIC) (opens in a new window).

Like the EHIC, the GHIC is free to everyone who is eligible. You will need one card per person.

Am I covered if I have travel delays due to Brexit?

Yes, Travel Delay and Trip Abandonment cover will apply in line with the current terms and conditions.

Your policy won't provide cover if you booked trips or opened an account/purchased travel insurance after any travel delays were known about.

You are not covered if you miss your departure due to not leaving sufficient time to travel to your departure point. For example, if your planned route would usually take 2 hours and it is publicised in the media, or you are advised by your travel provider that the same journey is taking 4 hours, you need to allow the extra time to travel.

It's important you make yourself aware of any potential delays to your planned route in the days before your trip.

Our Guidance

As there is the potential for travel delays, please plan accordingly. We advise customers to:

Will I have to renew my passport to travel to Europe after 1st January 2021?

You can check whether you need to renew your passport at passport checker (opens in a new window). If your passport was issued prior to 1st June 2011 or has less than 6 months remaining on it, then it will need to be renewed to travel to the EU after 1st January 2021.

Claims

Travel Cancellation and Legal Expenses information

If you have had to cancel your trip before it was due to start for one of the cancellation reasons covered by the policy, then you may wish to submit a claim.

Please remember that your policy will not cover any expenses that you can recover from elsewhere.

If your travel provider has been unable to provide the service you booked, you should first speak to your travel provider to seek a refund from them.

If you paid by credit card and the value of your booking is more than £100, you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact your card issuer for further information. Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice, as you may be able to make a claim under their chargeback rules. This applies if the service you have paid for is not being provided e.g. the hotel you booked is closed.

If you are unable to obtain the refund from the travel provider or another party and wish to make a claim, please ensure you have kept records of communications with your provider or another party, along with any booking and cancellation invoices to help us manage your claim efficiently.

Remember that your policy includes Legal Cover for a breach of contract relating to your trip. Please check the policy wording for full details.

If you wish to make a claim, please consider using our online claims service within the membership benefits website (opens in a new window) website and click 'make a claim' under your Travel Insurance.

Please note that all claims made are subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.

Contact Us

Should you require any further assistance with your travel insurance, please contact us on 0345 246 1312

Lines are open 8pm-6pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank and public holidays).