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Exactly how to get your money back if your holiday has been cancelled because of COVID-19.

As the outbreak of coronavirus, now officially known as COVID-19, continues to heighten around the world, refraining from non-essential interstate and international travel has never been more important.

At the time of reporting, there have been over 294,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. In Australia alone, as of March 22, there have been 1,098 confirmed cases of the virus.

Because of the growing numbers, several nations have implemented strict travel bans to prevent the spread of the virus.

In Australia, current travel restrictions mean that non-residents are currently banned from entering the country. Residents and citizens who do re-enter the country will also be expected to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

With the outbreak expected to continue across the coming months, it’s inevitable the travel plans of thousands of Australians will be disrupted. In fact, according to Smart Traveller, all Australians are advised against travelling overseas at this time.

If you’ve got travel plans in the next few months, here’s what you need to know about getting your money back.

Should I contact my travel insurer?

If you need to cancel your international travel, it’s worth contacting your travel insurer.

Whether or not you will be covered for cancellations because of COVID-19 depends on when you purchased your travel insurance. This is because most insurers generally deem coronavirus, which is now considered a pandemic, as a ‘known event’.

Mamamia’s Claire Murphy breaks down your most asked questions about COVID-19. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Regardless of when you purchased your travel insurance, it’s still important to check whether you’re covered for cancellations under your insurer. By doing so, you might be covered for flight cancellations, event cancellations or disruptions to accommodation.

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Likewise, some credit card issuers provide free travel insurance. To find out if you are automatically covered, contact your credit card issuer.

What about my flights?

As travel bans increase worldwide, many airlines are reducing their number of flights, meaning many flights are being cancelled entirely. If a flight is cancelled because of the COVID-19 situation, airlines are expected to either issue a refund or a credit voucher for the value of your flight.

For example, Qantas recently informed customers with existing bookings they can cancel their domestic or international flights in exchange for a 12-month travel credit voucher, meaning they can postpone their travel plans to a later date.

If your flight has not yet been cancelled, you can enquire about your options for a refund or credit voucher with the airline directly, or if you booked through a travel agency, you can contact them.

It’s important to note that due to a high level of enquiries about upcoming travel plans, many companies, like Flight Centre, are only dealing with enquiries for flights in the next 48-72 hours.

How do I cancel my accommodation?

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact interstate and overseas travel, hotels, resorts and other accommodation are offering options for travellers including refunds, postponements and credit vouchers.

In order to find out if you’re eligible for a refund, credit voucher, or a rescheduling to a later date, contact your accommodation directly or contact the provider you booked with.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, answers your questions about COVID-19. Post continues below.

As for Airbnb accommodation, customers who have a check-in date between March 14 and April 14, will be able to cancel their stay in exchange for a full refund.

For reservations made after March 14, guests will not be covered for a full refund unless the guest or host is tested positive for coronavirus. In other cases, such as transportation disruptions and travel restrictions, the host’s usual cancellation policy will apply.

What if an event or concert is cancelled?

If you were travelling interstate or overseas for a concert, sporting event or show, it’s likely that event has since been cancelled because of social distancing regulations and shutdowns.

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From the postponement of Coachella, to the cancellation of Broadway shows, to the temporary closure of Disneyland, the entertainment industry has been put to a standstill worldwide.

Thankfully, with cancellations comes ticket refunds.

If you pre-booked an event in the next few months, keep an eye on your emails for information from the ticket outlets about receiving a refund, or retaining your tickets for a future rescheduled event date.

What if my holiday is six months away?

If your interstate or overseas travel is scheduled for later on in the year, experts recommend waiting to cancel or postpone your trip. This is because more flights may be cancelled in the coming weeks and months, meaning customers will be automatically eligible for a refund or credit.

“A lot of people are confused about what to do with trips in May, June, etc,” Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate said.

“I recommend waiting for now. We can hope things will improve quickly, and maybe you’ll be able to travel as planned after all. But if not, then the fee waivers will likely be extended, or maybe the flight itself will be cancelled.”

Feature Image: Getty.

For more on COVID-19:

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days. 

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. 

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

The current situation around COVID-19 might be making you feel scared or uncertain. It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s also important to learn how to manage feelings of anxiety during this time. To download the free PDF: Anxiety & Coronavirus – How to Manage Feelings of Anxiety click here.


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