HERE'S what travellers with holidays booked to Spain can do about cancelling and getting a refund of their upcoming visit due to the spread of coronavirus.
It comes as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice to advise against travel to parts of mainland Spain.
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The FCO is now advising against all but essential travel to the capital Madrid, La Rioja and the municipalities of La Bastida, Vitoria and Miranda de Ebro.
The Spanish islands, including the Canaries, are unaffected by the announcement.
It comes after the country saw an almost 50 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.
At the time of writing, Spain has confirmed just over 4,200 coronavirus cases and 120 deaths.
The total in Madrid and surrounding regions is now at 2,000.
Thinking about cancelling your holiday to Spain? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about getting a refund.
What should you look for in a good travel insurance policy?
TRAVEL insurance policies can vary a great deal, but here are some 'must have' features you should look out for from the Money Advice Service.
- Medical expenses – A good policy will give cover of £1million or more for travel in Europe and £2million or more for the USA
- Repatriation service – The costs of getitng you back to the UK for medical reasons should be covered automatically by your policy
- Cancellation and curtailment – A good policy will cover you for £2,000 or more if you have to cancel or shorten your holiday
- Missed departure – Covers additional accommodation costs and travel expenses up to £500 or more if you miss your flight due to circumstances out of your control
- Delay – You'll usually be covered for £250 or more if your travel plans are delayed due to circumstances out of your control
- Baggage cover – Covers you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen. Look for policies that have cover of £1,500 or more.
Will I be covered by travel insurance if I cancel my Spain trip?
As the FCO has only advised against travel to certain parts of Spain, it all depends on which part you’re due to travel to.
If your holiday destination is included in the affected list, then your insurance provider should pay out providing you bought your policy before the FCO advice was updated.
You should speak to your insurance provider in the first instance to check how far ahead it's covering for flights.
If your holiday is not for several months’ time, you may need to wait until nearer your departure date in case the FCO advice has changed.
For travellers with a holiday planned to an area that isn’t included in the FCO list, you’re less likely to get a refund.
Your only possible get out clause is if you have a pre-existing medical condition that you declared when you took out your insurance.
However, you may need a doctor’s note to back this up if you’re trying to cancel your trip.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says this will be on a case-by-case basis and will depend on both your policy and your medical condition.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re travelling with someone with a separate insurance policy, they won’t automatically be able to cancel and get a refund just because you have.
Hotels are slightly more complicated as they usually set their own cancellation policies.
Travellers are being recommended to get in contact with their accommodation, or the company they booked it through, to discuss their booking.
You may also be due a refund for any of the usual reasons typically covered by insurance, such as an unexpected illness or accident or a death in the family before travelling.
What if I don’t have travel insurance?
If you’re not covered by travel insurance, and you’re due to visit an area in Spain on the FCO list, you should be able to get a refund from the airline or company you booked your trip with.
For other areas in Spain which aren't included on the FCO no-go list, you're less likely to get a refund.
Again, this would usually be determined on a case-by-case basis and would depend on if you have a pre-existing medical condition or another reason not to travel.
Will my credit or debit card pay out if I cancel my trip?
If your airline is still flying to your destination, then your credit or debit card provider is unlikely to refund your money.
This is because under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act, your card provider is jointly liable if you don't get the goods or service you paid for – so it wouldn't cover flights that are still going ahead.
At present, flights are still operating from major airports, making it harder for Brits to be able to claim money back other than from their insurance provider.
With Section 75 you're usually covered if the total amount comes to between £100 and £30,000 and you paid on credit card.
If you paid less than £100 on credit card or you paid on debit card you may be covered by similar Chargeback rules.
But you usually wouldn't be protected if you paid through an agent or a third party, as your card provider could argue it doesn't have a "direct relationship" with the supplier.
When it comes to hotels, you would need to check your accommodation's cancellation policy to see where you stand.
See our credit card coronavirus protection guide for more information.
Confused about whether travel insurance covers you when it comes to coronavirus? We've explained your rights as a traveller and if you can cancel your trip.
Martin Lewis has urged holidaymakers to check travel insurance and hotel policies to see if you cancel due to the virus outbreak.
We’ve also rounded up the travel insurers who will cover you if coronavirus causes flight cancellations.
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