The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a nationwide lockdown and strict travel restrictions across the globe.
On 5 April, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British nationals against all non-essential international travel for an indefinite period which means that we must check the FCO advice on a daily basis to confirm that restrictions are still in place.
This guidance is for group leaders and group members who have questions about the implications of the travel ban on their upcoming trip.
If your trip is due to travel imminently
If the FCO advises against all but essential travel to your destination and you are due to travel imminently, defined by ABTA as the next few days, then in the first instance we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date. If that proves impossible, your group is eligible for a refund for the cost of the trip.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest advice.
If your trip is not due to travel imminently
If you wish to cancel a trip which isn’t due to depart imminently, then normal cancellations charges apply. This is because the FCO guidance could be repealed by the time your trip is due to depart. So if your group is thinking about cancelling, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can talk you through the options and help you decide which is best for your group.
ABTA offers helpful advice for customers looking to cancel a trip due to coronavirus on their website: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Advice and information about educational trips
This guidance is for teachers and parents with affected school trips.
Government advice regarding educational trips
As well as the government and FCO advice against all non-essential travel, the government advises against any overseas or domestic trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings.
How we can help
If the FCO travel advice is in place and your school trip is due to depart imminently, which ABTA defines as the next few days, then in the first instance we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date. If that proves impossible your school is eligible for a refund..
If you wish to cancel a school trip which isn’t due to depart imminently, then normal cancellations charges apply. However you may be able to claim against your school’s insurance or risk protection arrangement and we can provide you with a Cancellation Statement to support your school’s claim. The information below gives more information about this.
Contacting your insurer
The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) has been working to help schools to claim for trips which they are not able to take due to government advice. They issued the following statement which has been signed off by the Department for Education:
For domestic visits and visits abroad, which have had to be cancelled as a result of government advice, the advice from the DfE is to contact your insurer. For those schools who have committed to educational visits which can now not go ahead, the government’s advice issued is sufficient and will allow schools to make an insurance claim against their policy. This includes more complex overseas expeditions, where the duration of school closure and the subsequent lack of organisational and preparation time with the students may mean that a future expedition has become unviable for a school to undertake safely even after the school re-opens.
Outdoor Advisors Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom joint statement 25 March 2020
Academies and state maintained schools in the RPA
The risk protection arrangement (RPA) is an alternative to insurance for academies and some state maintained schools in England. The RPA includes cover for school trip cancellation and the DfE has confirmed that the RPA will honour claims for trips cancelled due to coronavirus. For more information click on the government RPA website.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has also produced information on travel insurance and school insurance implications following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.