Tuesday 17 November 2020 3:24 pm

Anti-vaxxers may lose travel insurance over Covid vaccine refusal

Anti-vaxxers may risk invalidating their travel insurance if they are medically able but decline to have the coronavirus vaccine, an insurance expert has warned.

Medical underwriting specialist and travel insurance expert Tricia Tietema told City A.M she would expect that those who are medically able to have the coronavirus vaccine, should one become available, but choose not to have it could breach the terms and conditions of their insurance policy. 

“It is the case that most of the larger insurers would already have declined claims for tropical diseases such as malaria or yellow fever if the traveller has not taken advantage of the vaccines available – and this exclusion can be found in policy wordings,” said Tietema.

“However, we would be aware that exceptions have to be made for those who cannot have these, so infants, pregnant people and some who are immunocompromised cannot have the live vaccine, for example,” she noted.


Last week Pfizer announced that its experimental Covid vaccine proved 90 per cent effective in phase three clinical trials. The UK government has ordered 40m doses of the vaccine. And only yesterday the UK secured 5m doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, which proved 95 per cent effective in late-stage clinical trials.

So far, the UK has secured 355m doses of potential vaccines produced by seven different companies

“Looking longer term to when more Covid-19 vaccines emerge then I would expect anyone medically able to have it but who neglected to do so might well breach the terms and conditions of their policy,” Tietema said.

“Insurers cannot dictate to individuals where they travel they can only make plain which risks are insured and leave them to make informed decisions,” she added.

Read more: Which Covid vaccines has the UK government ordered?

Tietema said it was worth noting that such a change to Covid-19 cover offered would almost certainly be considered by the Financial Conduct Authority to be “onerous”, and so purchases would have to be made aware of it at the point of sale.  

Read more: Coronavirus: Grant Shapps rules out Brexit disruption to vaccine delivery