Thousands of holiday makers could face unexpected costs after learning that some travel insurance policies may not cover their cancellation costs if forced to self-isolate due to close Covid contact.

Holidaymakers are being urged to check the small print in their polices after a report by analysts Defaqto found that fewer than six in ten travel insurance policies covered cancellation costs if told to self-isolate compared to nine in ten covering the cost if a holidaymaker tested positive for Covid.

In the week up to 14th July, 600,000 people had been ‘pinged’ by the NHS app and told to isolate.  This has caused concern among holidaymakers desperate for a summer getaway, that their plans may be affected by contracting Covid or coming into close contact with someone who has the virus.  This has led to some people deleting the NHS app.

A spokesperson from Defaqto said some insurers might be sympathetic to those required to self-isolate and advised travellers to contact their insurance company as soon as their plans changed to find out their entitlement.

Those who receive notification from NHS Test and Trace are legally required to self-isolate, whereas a ping from the NHS app is advisory, but strongly recommends isolation.

The practical effects of self-isolation requests have impacted work and home lives and led to considerable political debate, particularly around the effect on essential services.  This has led to the government releasing a list of sectors where fully vaccinated workers may be exempt from isolation if they have had a close contact with a positive coronavirus case.

Despite the government hinting at a relaxation of self-isolation guidelines on 16th August, holiday makers are strongly advised to check their insurance policies carefully so that they fully understand the cover they have in place and what their rights are should they need to change or cancel.

  • Click here for more information on travel insurance from the Association of British Insurers.