The effect of the coronavirus outbreak has reached travel insurance providers who are cutting back on what they are prepared to offer.
Insurance giant LV has confirmed it is temporarily suspending the sales of travel insurance. The company said that it has seen a rush on the purchase of travel insurance in the last couple of weeks by people keen to protect themselves. However, LV= have chosen this move is instead of imposing price hikes.
An LV spokesperson said they are a small travel insurance provider but a major home cover provider. They say that the move is designed to protect its wider client base:
In light of the significant impact that coronavirus is having globally, LV has taken the difficult decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers.
“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the number of policies sold double. Whilst LV is a major motor and home insurer, we are a small travel insurance provider and it’s important for the long-term benefit of all our customers that our exposure to this market remains at a sustainable level for the overall business.
“We considered a number of different options, such as excluding cover or significantly increasing prices for new customers but we strongly believe this temporary measure of pausing the sale of new policies and focusing on our existing customers is the right decision.
“There is no change for existing customers who already have a policy with us. They can contact us in the normal way if they need to make a claim, and we are also still offering renewals to our existing customers so they can continue to be insured with us.~
“LV remains committed to the travel insurance market and this is only a temporary move given the exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and review the decision on an ongoing basis.”
Alarmingly, other insurance providers have begun to restrict their range of travel policies. For example, the AA is no longer quoting for single-trip policies covering Italy, France or Spain.
Insurer Aviva has also cut back travel cover. Aviva says that people will still be able to buy its travel insurance – but they will not be able to add cover for travel disruption.
Aviva said in its statement:
“Insurance is designed to provide cover for unforeseen and unexpected events and is priced on this basis. The outbreak of the coronavirus means there is an increased likelihood of disruption to people’s travel plans.”
Sportscover Direct, who supply travel insurance has announced a “coronavirus exclusion” from this week, which will apply to newly-sold policies.