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Coronavirus: Who pays for a cancelled trip to China?

The anticipation of a planned holiday trip or a lengthy stay – such as studying in the Far East – is being dampened at the moment by reports of the new coronavirus. Read about what you can do if a flight is cancelled and if cancellations are insured.

20 february 2020, text: Sandra Biraghi, photo: Helvetia

A woman at the airport standing in front of the departure board.
The Federal Office of Public Health advises against travelling to the Chinese province of Hubei. Many flights to China have been cancelled.

The following points are important for a no-cost cancellation:

Your destination

Insurance companies usually follow the travel recommendation of the Federal Office of Public Health (FPOH). The current epidemic warning concerns the Chinese province Hubei. Owing to the coronavirus, safety recommendations apply to all other regions in China too, and travel is severely restricted. As the safety of customers is very important, Helvetia and European Travel Insurance (ERV) – the Helvetia group's specialist for travel and leisure insurance – will cover the costs of cancelled flights and hotel reservations throughout China (excluding transit flights). There are currently no official warnings in place for other countries in Asia. Helvetia and ERV are monitoring the current situation very closely.

Your travel or transport company

A number of airlines are currently not flying to mainland China. If you are therefore unable to travel, please contact your service provider regarding reimbursement, i.e. the airline or your travel agency. If cruise ships alter their route to areas not affected by the warnings and if this does not impact on the travel time, the costs will not be reimbursed.

Your travel time

Travel insurers are currently covering the costs of cancelled bookings up to the end of March if these have not already been reimbursed by travel companies. It is not possible to provide any binding information for trips booked to China for a later date, e.g. to study, that were scheduled for the summer. Patience is called for in such cases: The situation is being constantly re-assessed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the FOPH. The insurance companies take their lead from them.

Your Assistance insurance

If you have taken out Helvetia travel insurance with at least the cancellation cost component, you are adequately covered for such cases.

If you are planning a business trip to China, the insurance cover taken out by your company as the business customer is decisive.


The coronavirus

At the end of January the WHO declared the situation to be an international emergency. The coronavirus, which probably originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan (Hubei province), is spreading quickly. The virus is transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets, similar to seasonal flu. The symptoms are also similar, typically followed by a dry cough.

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