Nationwide building society has announced a significant downgrade to the travel insurance it provides to Flex account customers that means trips booked from 1 January 2021 will not be covered if the account holder is forced to make one of a number of Covid-related cancellations.
The popular insurance, which is supplied for worldwide travel as part of the £13-a-month FlexPlus current account and European trips on standard Flex accounts, currently offers cancellation cover if lockdown or other rules change after a holiday has been booked.
However, for trips booked from 1 January, it will no longer pay out if the Foreign Office changes its advice post-booking and warns against all but essential travel.
Equally, if the insured or a travelling companion are forced to abandon the trip because they have been told to self-isolate – even though they do not actually have coronavirus – they will again be unable to reclaim their losses. It is the same story if your pre-booked accommodation goes into local lockdown.
The building society says it will still pay cancellation claims if the policyholder, a travelling companion or a close relative are diagnosed with the coronavirus after they booked the trip. It will also pay emergency medical expenses abroad if they are diagnosed with Covid-19 while abroad.
Cutting a trip short because of a change in Foreign Office advice, as long as you were not aware of this advice when you travelled, will also be covered.
Until this week’s announcement, Nationwide’s FlexPlus policy was one of the few offering cancellation cover to those caught up in a change of advice by the Foreign Office.
A few specialist insurers still offer this cover at a price.
Currently, UK travellers can only travel to a handful of destinations without having to quarantine, while the government is still advising against holidaying in many popular destinations.