Travel insurance ‘will not cover’ cancelled Sri Lanka holidays

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Policies would pay out only if Foreign Office warned against travel, though airlines and tour operators ‘will consider’ requests to postpone

Holidaymakers who want to postpone travel to Sri Lanka in the wake of the bomb attacks that killed 290 people will not be covered by their travel insurance. The UK Foreign Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka on Monday to include details of the nationwide curfew and pending state of emergency. However, the Guardian understands it is unlikely the FCO would issue a warning advising against all travel to Sri Lanka: such warnings area rare and usually region-specific.

Reflecting the increased threat, the FCO’s current advice states: “Security has been stepped up across the island and there are ongoing security operations. These may continue for a number of days and the situation remains dynamic. Please follow the advice of local security authorities, hotel security staff and your tour company. The airport is operating, but with increased security checks and long queues for taxi pick-ups.”

Travel policies will not cover cancellations unless the FCO specifically advises against travel to the destination. “Travel insurance does not cover ‘disinclination to travel’,” said a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI). “People’s best recourse is to go to the holiday company they have booked through to discuss whether they can change their plans.”

Natalie, a British traveller on her way to Sri Lanka, said: “The situation seems to be changing by the hour and we’d hoped the FCO would be able to update its advice more than once a day, but it’s obviously a terrible time for their staff, too.

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