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Nationwide FlexPlus is our long-standing top-pick packaged bank account, offering travel and mobile phone insurance as well as breakdown cover.
Coronavirus has led to a huge shake-up of the travel insurance market, and generally only travel insurance taken out pre-pandemic for holidays which were also booked pre-pandemic will cover you for cancellation if the Foreign Office warns against travel to a destination – and even then it’s important to check, as not all do. Yet the FlexPlus account is an exception – it currently provides cancellation cover for new bookings, so long as the Foreign Office warning wasn’t in place when you booked the holiday or took out the insurance, whichever is later.
For full help on getting the right cover and finding the best deals, see our Cheap Travel Insurance guide.
What are the changes to Nationwide’s FlexPlus travel insurance?
Under the changes announced by Nationwide, if you either book a trip or open a new FlexPlus account – whichever is later – on or after 1 January 2021, you will no longer be covered in the following scenarios:
- If the Foreign Office brings in new advice against all travel, or all but essential travel, to your destination. (Currently you’re covered if the Foreign Office issues a warning against travel up to 28 days before your departure, so long as you weren’t aware of the advice when you booked your trip.)
- If you or a travelling companion can’t travel because you’ve been told to self-isolate, but you don’t actually have coronavirus.
- If your pre-booked accommodation goes into local lockdown.
However you will still be covered for the following situations:
- Cancelling a trip if you or any insured person, a close relative or travelling companion are diagnosed with coronavirus.
- Emergency medical expenses abroad if you or any insured person are diagnosed with coronavirus while on your trip.
- Cutting your trip short due to a change in Foreign Office advice, as long as you weren’t aware of this advice when you travelled.
- Cutting your trip short if you’re unable to stay in pre-booked accommodation due to coronavirus, as long as you weren’t aware of this when you travelled.
If you have a Nationwide FlexPlus account and book a trip prior to 1 January 2021, then your holiday will be protected by your current level of cover – ie, you’ll be able to cancel if a new Foreign Office warning comes in. Full terms and conditions and changes to the policy can be found on the Nationwide website.
When it comes to coronavirus cancellation, different insurers offer different levels of cover. We’ve found a number of policies which cover medical costs if you catch coronavirus while on a trip, plus a few that also cover you if you need to cancel because you or a family member gets coronavirus before travelling and can’t go. For full details, see our Cheap Travel Insurance guide.
However where the Nationwide FlexPlus policy stood out was its cover for cancellation due to coronavirus travel restrictions – for example, if the Foreign Office warns against travel. Unfortunately we’ve not currently aware of any other policies which offer this kind of cover on new trips. So as things stand, you may not able to get this kind of protection from January – though the travel insurance market is fast-evolving at the moment and that could change.
If you’re booking any kind of trip at the moment it’s important to understand that planning travel right now is a financially risky business, and it’s worth weighing up exactly what protection you have and if you could afford to lose what you’re spending if the worst happened. Regardless of what insurance you have, it’s particularly worth looking for flexible bookings, where you’re able to cancel free of charge – or for a minimal cost – if the situation changes and you’re unable to travel.