You have booked a vacation or business trip, but it does not feel safe to go because of the corona virus. Can you postpone or cancel your trip? Is that free? And if not, what does your insurance cover? Five questions and answers.
1. My trip has been canceled due to the corona virus, do I get my money back?
If you have booked a trip to a region for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is giving a negative travel advice, your vacation is likely to be canceled. For example, more and more travel organizations are canceling their journeys to China.
Travel industry organization ANVR advised all member travel organizations in January to cancel China travel. Most tour operators allow travelers to rebook their holidays for free to another destination or later. Those who do not accept the alternative will get their money back.
Some airlines have special arrangements for the virus. For example, travelers with a KLM ticket to China can cancel for free. This measure applies to KLM at least until 31 May. Have you booked a ticket with China Southern? Then you can free of charge up to and including departure date 31 March. British Airways is also avoiding China until April.
If you had booked a trip to Northern Italy through travel agency Oad, you can move that holiday free of charge to a later date or another destination. At the time of writing, this concerns all journeys scheduled up to and including 15 May.
2. I want to cancel my trip myself, do I get my money back?
The law states that you can cancel the trip for free, if there is an unsafe situation where you are going. You must then be able to prove that the destination is no longer safe, for example with a negative travel advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Calamity Fund.
Have you booked a vacation or business trip to a region that has received negative travel advice? Then contact your travel company to get money back. Is there no unsafe situation according to the travel organization? Then you will not get any money back.
Don’t want to go to Italy anymore because of the virus outbreak? At present, airlines are not scrapping flights, because a travel ban has not yet been introduced. Foreign Affairs only sharpened its travel advice to cities and towns in the provinces of Lombardy and Veneto. “People can always decide not to fly, but they pay for it themselves,” says a spokesperson for airline company Transavia.
Even if you have booked a hotel, you will not get a refund in principle. But many chains with locations in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are accommodating. At Marriott, Accor and Hilton, for example, you can cancel your reservation free of charge up to and including March.
On this website You can see which cancellation conditions the various hotel chains have. Customers who have booked a hotel through Expedia Hong Kong can also cancel or rebook for free.
3. Do I need cancellation insurance to get a refund?
Most insurers do not see a virus as a valid reason to cancel a trip or cancel it earlier.
Oscar van Elferen, spokesman for the Dutch Association of Insurers, explains: “A cancellation insurance is really only about the situation at home. For example, if you fall ill or if someone close to you dies, such a travel insurance will pay out. What happens in the country destination is not relevant for such insurance. “
Even a negative travel advice is not a reason for cancellation. That is why you usually cannot claim cancellation or travel insurance unless you have taken out a certain additional cover. For example, it may be part of the Terrorism and Natural Disasters coverage.
Van Elferen: “The coverage of a travel insurance differs per insurer. So always call your insurer to know exactly how things work.”
A tour of RTL Z shows that you are currently writing to these travel insurers no get a refund if you cancel because of the virus:
- ABN Amro
- ANWB (unless you have taken out Terrorism and Natural Disasters coverage before January 30)
And these insurers turn (under conditions) well money from:
- Aegon: only if you have all-risk insurance
- Central Management: the insurance must have been taken out before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the negative advice.
- Europeesche: 75 percent of the costs, only if you have all-risk insurance
- Interpolis: yes, based on the negative travel advice. The insurance must have been taken out before Foreign Affairs announced the negative advice.
4. I want to return home earlier because of the corona virus. Can I adjust my trip for free?
This also depends on the travel advice. Is there no negative travel advice? And did you not have a flexible ticket or hotel reservation that you can cancel for free? Then you will not get a refund. Also not from your travel insurance.
Will the travel advice change? If you have booked through a travel company, this company must offer help and assistance. What is included in such a package tour (flight and accommodation) is arranged by the tour operator.
If you have booked individual tickets and hotels yourself, the costs for cancellation are for yourself and / or for your travel insurance (see question 3). This also applies to the costs you incur if you have to stay longer due to a flight delay.
If you catch the virus yourself, you can claim costs for care and early return with your insurance. Oscar van Elferen (Association of Insurers): “That applies to all medical reasons, even if you break your leg.”
5. What about my business trip?
The American counterpart of RIVM, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tips companies to pay close attention to the travel advice of the government before departure. If negative advice applies, do not send your employees on the road.
Often the same applies to cancellation of such a business trip as to a vacation. If the travel company cancels the trip because of a negative travel advice, you will get your money back or you can rebook. If not, the costs are for you, your employer or your insurance.
There are special business travel insurance policies. With this you as an entrepreneur insure your own business trips and those of employees abroad. Such insurance policies have all kinds of special cover for entrepreneurs, but here too a virus is usually not a valid reason to cancel a trip or cancel it earlier.