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Vaccine passports and travel Insurance

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For almost a year, foreign travel has been practically forbidden, except for a few blissful months last summer when border restrictions were lifted. However, with the UK government recently announcing the Traffic Light System, there still seems to be some confusion surrounding how travel insurance will work when leisure trips abroad resume once again. The Traffic Light System has been in operation since May 17th and there is still much confusion around the countries on different lists – will they remain on their specific list or be moved daily?

Furthermore, many travellers are wondering whether or not they will be able to travel without a COVID vaccine passport. In the UK, over 34 million people have been given their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine with a further 15 million people now fully inoculated. However, this still leaves a significant percentage of the population that has not had either dose yet.

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been met with a backlash over the government’s plans for the introduction of travel passports, with claims that a two-tier society could be created. If travel is allowed for those people who still remain unvaccinated and consequently do not have a vaccine passport, will they also face higher travel insurance premium costs?



What is a vaccine passport?

Currently, when anyone in the UK receives their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they receive a vaccination card, confirming that have been vaccinated. At the same time, it is documented on the official medical records that they have received the vaccine. This shows that they have some level of protection against coronavirus.

The UK government is currently exploring other methods that could be used to show an individual’s vaccination status more easily. This may be through the usage of an official app, similar to the NHS Test and Trace system app, or by issuing a document that is like a regular passport.

Governments across the UK, including the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, are working together to try and find a permanent solution to the question of vaccine passports. The ultimate hope is that the utilisation of some form of a vaccine passport will help to reduce the need for social distancing measures and facilitate foreign travel.

Will COVID vaccine passports be necessary for foreign travel?

COVID certification is already one of the principal requirements for any foreign travel and will likely continue to be once the restrictions are lifted for leisure travel abroad. At the moment, proof of a negative test is needed for international travel and it is likely that from May 17th, proof of negative coronavirus status will continue to be necessary whether or not someone has had the vaccine.

For some people, however, the PCR tests are prohibitively expensive. The expense has been slammed by many critics who believe that the government should work to drive down the cost of the tests, making foreign travel more affordable.

From May 17th, you will almost certainly be able to travel as long as you have proof of a negative PCR test, but it is likely that the government will introduce some form of vaccine passports alongside this as the majority of the population is fully vaccinated.



Will travel insurance be more expensive without a vaccine passport?

According to the Telegraph, there is significant speculation that insurers will raise the cost of premiums for anyone who has not had the vaccine. However, this is only speculation and more than anything it would be a good incentive for people to ensure they have their vaccination.

There seem to be many questions that are still unanswered by the UK government. However, as international leisure travel begins to creep back in, it is likely that the government will start to provide more clarity and provide firm guidelines about who can travel where. Naturally, it is very difficult to predict what the cost of insurance will look like for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers as everyone’s circumstances are different… so why not get a quote today and see where you stand? Here at Fish, we’re proud to be working with travel experts Ancile Insurance to help you find the right cover for your trip. Ancile’s specially designed travel insurance policies have no age limit and can offer cover for a huge range of medical conditions. You can find out more about what Ancile’s travel insurance offers here.

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