Are travel insurance premiums higher for ‘Red’ & ‘Amber’ countries?

Due to current COVID-19 travel restrictions set by the UK government, all potential holiday destinations are given a colour rating – ‘Red’, ‘Amber’, or ‘Green’, to determine travel safety.

The ‘colour’ of an individual country will affect multiple aspects of travel, with quarantine times, testing requirements, and flight prices all changing depending on the classification. However, does a change in a country’s ‘colour’ status affect travel insurance premiums?

Salman Haqqi – personal finance expert at money.co.uk said: “There’s an assumption that going to an amber or red list country will cost you more in travel insurance, possibly because people view travel to these destinations as ‘unsafe’ or ‘at risk’.

“This isn’t necessarily the case. Country ‘colour’ has no actual impact from an insurance standpoint because the classification only affects what happens when you return to the UK, such as quarantine periods or testing rules.

“The colour classification system is designed to limit travel to countries with new and dangerous COVID-19 variants, or countries with a less sophisticated version of the track and trace programme we have in the UK.

“What makes travel even more challenging to plan is that the entry and exit requirements of each country don’t correlate with the current colour coded government guidelines. One green or amber list country could have completely different quarantine requirements to a neighbouring country in the same classification.

“If you want to check the entry requirements of any given country before you travel, the best place to look is the FCDO website (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office), as they’ll have the most up to date information.

“Going back to travel insurance, the story is the same. The premium for travel to a green list country won’t be any cheaper than travel to an amber list country by virtue of it being ‘green’.

“The colour grading system just isn’t factored into the equation by travel insurance providers, meaning it’s entirely possible to pay a higher premium for green list travel than amber or red. Instead, insurers look at the FCDO guidelines to identify anything that has the potential to affect travel, and therefore the cost of your insurance.

“Above all, remember the current government guidance is that you shouldn’t travel to amber or red list countries unless absolutely essential. If you do have to travel, make sure to compare travel insurance deals before you do to make sure you’re covered, both for regular medical and financial issues, as well as COVID cancellations: https://www.money.co.uk/travel-insurance.htm”

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