Coronavirus: Can I still go on my summer holiday if quarantine is imposed? Can I cancel?

A couple take a selfie while on holiday in Austria.
A couple take a selfie while on holiday in Austria. Credit: AP

The UK Government’s decision to remove Spain from its list of safe countries has raised concerns among holidaymakers looking to jet abroad this year.

The FCO advises against all but essential travel to Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands - all popular tourist destinations among Britons.

Britons arriving back from Spain must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their arrival. Failure to do so could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

The move has raised the possibility about whether other popular tourists destinations with rising infection rates, such as Croatia and France, could also be placed on the quarantine list.

Travel expert Simon Calder explains your consumers rights when it comes to holidays abroad

Am I covered by my travel insurance if I leave the UK when a quarantine upon return policy is imposed?

If when you leave the UK the country you travel to is on the safe list, you will still be covered by your insurance.

However, if you leave the UK to travel to a country not on the safe list, your travel insurance will not be valid.

If you’re looking to return home early from a country where quarantine restrictions have been placed upon arrival back in the UK, your travel insurance will likely not have to pay out to cover your new flights.

The Government is constantly updating and reviewing its policy on travel corridors so these could change on short notice, as happened with Spain.

Can I cancel my holidays over fears I could be forced to quarantine?

Consumer rights group Which? advises against cancelling your holidays as you will not be eligible for refunds.

Instead, they suggest waiting until your flights and holiday are cancelled as you will then be eligible for a refund.

Holidaymakers are having less and less to smile about. Credit: AP

If you cancel, you will lose all the money you have paid, and possibly a cancellation fee on top of that.

However, the imposed quarantine does not necessarily mean your airline or travel company will cancel your flight or holiday. If the holiday does go ahead, you will not be eligible for a refund. Check to see if you can ask for a date change.

What about my flights?

If your flights are cancelled, you are entitled to a refund if they were booked on an EU airline or any airline from an EU airport.

You have 12 months to claim your refund and you will also be offered the option of a voucher.

If you are due to fly and the airline has not cancelled your flight, you probably will not be able to cancel them without incurring a fee, Which? says. Check with the airline you are flying with for terms and conditions.

Amending your travel dates or accepting credit vouchers is only worth doing if you’ve already decided you don’t want to take the trip this year, regardless of whether the FCO advice is lifted and if you’re sure you will want to book flights with that airline at some point in the next 12 months.

What about my accommodation?

If the hotel you’re due to stay in is closed owing to government advice, you should be able to get your money back providing the hotel stays in business, says Which?

If the hotel is abroad and open and you do not show up, you’ll likely have to pay for the room, even if the UK government advises you that you shouldn’t be in the country and even if you had no way of getting there because your flight was cancelled.

If your holiday is a package holiday, it is best to speak to your travel provider as you will have more cover.

Hundreds and thousands of Brits are holidaying in Spain currently. Credit: PA Images

What happens if quarantine measures are imposed on the foreign country I am arriving at?

Once in a foreign country, you will need to listen to the laws of the land. Failure to do so could see you punished.

Will I be covered for loss of earnings from my quarantine period?

Unfortunately not. The UK Government is relying on the goodwill of employers at this moment. Those who are able to work from home may be asked by employers to do so, but for those unable to, it is down to employers. Those who are freelance may be entitled to claim Universal Credit for that 14-day period.

What happens if I'm told to leave the foreign country I'm in due to a Covid-19 outbreak? And will I be covered by my travel insurance if I need to pay for a coronavirus test?

Both of these questions depend on the terms of travel insurance policy you have bought, according to Which?, as well as other variants as to whether you booked your policy pre- or post-coronavirus.

Other factors which come into play are whether you have bought a flight only or package holiday, so it is best to check with your insurer and flight provider.

Which? has provided some guidance on which travel insurers offer the most protection.

Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: "International travel is resuming from the UK, but the risk of quarantine measures and local lockdowns disrupting holidays remains high.

"Those looking to book a holiday should carefully read the terms and conditions of the operator so they know exactly what flexibility is on offer, and only use those companies that you can trust with your money, should anything go wrong. Many major operators have still not refunded passengers for holidays and flights cancelled months ago.

"Additionally, while we're starting to see some insurers offering limited cover for coronavirus-related claims, there are still a host of risks that insurers will not pay out for should coronavirus disrupt your holiday – so be sure to read the small print on your policy.

"While the travel industry begins to adjust to operating during the pandemic, the government must step in to ensure that holidaymakers are able to travel with confidence, meaning their refund rights will be upheld and that appropriate and affordable travel insurance will be easily available to them."