When is travel considered ‘essential’?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised to holidaymakers to avoid making uncessary trips to parts of Egypt. But many travellers may be surprised to find out that a holiday does not fall into the catergory of “non-essential travel” not to the travel insurance industry at least.
5:15PM GMT 03 Feb 2011
The FCO does not have a clear definition for essential and non-essential travel, simply stating that it is down to the individual to determine in their own mind whether the journey is required. The FCO will not cite specific examples, such as if a trip to visit a seriously ill relative or someone going on a holiday is considered more essential than the other.
As the definition is in limbo and common sense would need to apply in this situation as to what is essential travel and what is not.
In all circumstances where there is an active travel advice for a country, it is crucial for holidaymakers to call the insurer and get something in writing which will specify what cover will be extended to you during you trip and any exclusions.
If the situation changes while you are away and you can demonstrate that you have followed all official advice and kept your insurer informed then it would be difficult to argue from the insurer that they are now changing their cover for you, unless they have any clause that specifically advises of these types of cover change. The key is to keep checking with your insurer and ask for responses/advice in writing where possible. Always make sure you keep a detailed record of all calls and make a note of the person you spoke with.
If you just want to cancel a holiday where there is no advice against travel, a tour operator will apply normal booking conditions. If you are still going to travel, then it is still wise to check that your insurance is still valid for all items before you go.