Updated 2 October: I am still getting enquiries from people who insist on travelling against official advice by the UK Government, some who are fully aware, it is clear from what they say, that there is no guarantee of cover for anything let alone covid from any insurance company, regardless of what they promise, when travelling against official advice. Some planning to come for some months are also aware that from 1 January their EHIC cover will be problematic to say the least.
All the enquiries effectively ask the same thing: will the Canarian Government’s underwritten AXA covid insurance policy cover them if they become infected when in Tenerife. There are slight variations in the enquiries. Some are concerned about rearranged flight expenses, others about increased utility bills if they’re forced to stay here, yet others about food costs …
I repeat. The official advice from the UK Government is not to come to Spain at all, and the AXA policy, from what I have been able to ascertain, will cover visitors who test positive when here – official health service tests not private ones – and can show that they did not have covid when they arrived, and who are quarantined by Spain because of their infection. Their expenses will be covered for additional accommodation fees, medicines, any fees relating to hospitalization in a health system hospital – probably Candelaria, repatriation in extremis. Legal receipts will be required, obviously, and for accommodation these will need to contain full identifying details on them including IGIC (Canarian VAT) which all commercial lets must charge.
I cannot believe people find this reassuring and yet here we are. What will not be covered are rearranged flights, phone, laundry, extra expenses in the patient’s own property where there are no invoices to present to show any extra cost incurred, ditto those staying in illegal lets where the owner or agent will not or cannot provide legal invoices. And all this because they fear the consequences of catching covid in a situation where their very interest in the policy before leaving the UK shows that they know that an entirely avoidable risk was being taken.
I will now just link to this update to answer any further emails.
Updated 12 September: I still have no answer from Sanidad about this policy, and THIS remains the only information from the Canarian Government. I have no more information and this is now one of the top handful of queries in my mailbag. In my opinion, now, the whole thing is little more than window dressing to try to reassure visitors that the Canaries will have them covered if they test positive here, but at least we have direct confirmation from AXA that the policy exists – see the 12 August update below. Visitors will need to contact AXA themselves for any information beyond this, and make a personal decision on that basis because I cannot provide any further information or reassurance.
I would just add, though, that many correspondents say they want the policy in order to come and be safe. My personal view is that an insurance policy never makes you “safe”. All it does is give you cover when you suffer the consequences of undertaking a risk, and if a risk exists then it and any “safety” is something travellers need to assess for themselves based on the level of risk they are personally prepared to tolerate, and the level of safety they want. “Cover”, not “safety” is what an insurance policy provides!
Updated 12 August: I am still waiting for a reply from Sanidad about this policy, especially with regard to the rumour that only those in officially approved accommodation will be covered, but I have had a reply from AXA Spain. They say that as far as they are concerned the situation is as follows … you will note that despite a specific question about accommodation status they do not say it must be officially recognized. If I hear any more of course I’ll post it (and yes I’ve seen a poster supposedly from Turismo Canarias saying that accommodation must be a hotel or officially approved place, but it has spelling errors and no link to an official source, and that combination makes me question its authenticity).
La información de la que disponemos es que para todos los turistas, tanto españoles como extranjeros, tendrán garantizada la cobertura de asistencia en viaje por la Covid-19, con gastos médicos, repatriación sanitaria y prolongación de estancia por cuarentena. En caso de que una persona puede verse afectada, el propio Centro de Salud está en contacto con la Consejería de Sanidad Canaria, y activará la póliza de inmediato.
(The information we have is that all tourists, whether Spanish or foreign, will have guaranteed cover in a case of Covid19 for medical expenses, repatriation for health reasons, and any extension of their stay for quarantine reasons. Anyone who is affected should contact the local surgery which will then contact Sanidad (Canarias), and this will activate the policy immediately.)
Updated 8 August: Further clarification is obviously needed. The policy, about which I have no more details yet than I posted below, does not cover anything other than any covid expenses. Those wishing openly to flout UK Government advice and knowing full well that their travel insurance will be null and void if they go to a no-fly country despite being advised not to now seemingly think that this is an alternative that will cover them instead if they’re burgled, if they break a leg, if they have stuff stolen. It will not.
To be clear: if you come relying on this policy you will be trusting a policy about which no firm details are yet available and expecting, too, that you will catch covid19 because it is the ONLY conceivable reason you would consider you needed the cover provided by this policy. And if you think you’ll have covid19, please just stay at home, for your sake, and ours!! People, some sanity please.
Original post 6 August: You may have read much on social media about a new insurance policy underwritten by the Canarian Government in collaboration with AXA that will cover tourists if they become infected. Now I’m not trying to be negative but the queries already show I need to stress that this is not what many seem to be taking it for.
The policy, which requires travellers to do nothing, is for any expenses incurred HERE IN THE CANARIES if they have to quarantine because they develop or test positive for covid19 on holiday having come here without knowing they had it. The policy covers repatriation should they need to be returned home in extremely poor health, any specific covid-related medical expenses incurred, and the costs of having to remain here in quarantine because they’re infected.
To be specific – and deal with queries I’ve already had over the past 24 hours (and why I didn’t post this to begin with!) … : this policy does not cover:
- UK-based quarantine expenses
- salary lost through being required by the UK Government to quarantine for a fortnight after returning from Spain
- costs of isolating transport home from any UK airport (so no, it won’t cover a taxi from a UK airport to someone’s house)
- anything unrelated to covid19, so won’t replace normal travel insurance nor cover cases of broken limbs, accidents, etc …
I repeat I am not trying to be negative but there is a level of reality that we really need to keep a handle on or we may as well all live in fantasy land. This is a Canarian Government initiative to persuade tourists that the islands are safe. Nothing more. The Government will hope that no-one needs to take advantage of this policy because it will mean that they are in these islands with covid19, but if anyone is in this situation, they won’t have to worry about feeding themselves or having a roof over their head when they comply with SPANISH regulations! Any costs incurred in the UK by BRITISH regulations should be addressed to the UK Government.