The outbreak of the Coronavirus in some regions of China is a rapidly developing situation which is changing daily and we would strongly advise anyone travelling to the country to look at the guidance issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) which is updated on a regular basis.

On 29 January 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against ‘all but essential travel’ to China.

Anyone planning to travel to China should follow government advice which can be found at

The Government currently advises against all but essential travel to mainland China. Anyone travelling to a country or region against government advice risks invalidating their travel insurance.

Further information can be found at

Concerned travellers who had booked their trip via travel agent or using a credit card should contact them to see if they can get a refund or have their trip re-arranged.

What does this mean from a travel insurance perspective?

From a travel insurance perspective, our trade association, the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) expect that consumers who had purchased travel insurance and travelled before the FCO issued its advice on 29 January will be covered while in China (including in Hubei province if they travelled there before the original advice issued on 23 January).

  • Travel insurance includes medical expenses and so treatment costs for a traveller who becomes unwell in China should be covered up to the limit in the policy.
  • Most travel insurers offer a 24-hour emergency medical advice hotline and travellers who feel they might have been affected by this event are encouraged to call their insurers for help.
  • For consumers who had purchased travel insurance before 29 January and had booked travel that included visiting or passing China, BIBA would expect that they will be covered for any unused travel and accommodation costs if they are forced to cancel their trip and any necessary extra travel costs if they have to cut their trip short.
  • For people travelling to China after 29 January, insurers are excluding cover since the FCO is advising against travel. This is a standard response.

What does travel insurance cover?

  • Travel insurance policies may cover some out-of-pocket losses, and also help you to leave the area if a warning to return back to the UK comes into effect while you are there, if you are unable to get assistance from any other source.
  • If you make alternative travel plans, then you may be able to transfer your travel insurance to cover your new destination.

All travel policies are different and we would advise policyholders to read their travel insurance documentation carefully to see exactly what they are covered for. If your travel insurance is arranged through GPS Insurance Brokers and you have any questions about international travel please contact us on 020 3907 7866.