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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Charlie Weston Twitter Email

Your personal finance questions – Will travel insurance cover us if we get Covid before our winter break?

Skiing stock image. Photograph: Olga Gavrilova

Q My husband and I are hoping to book a winter break to the sun for early in the new year. If we get travel insurance, would we get our money back for the holiday if either of us gets Covid and has to cancel the holiday as a result?

This will depend on the exact travel insurance policy you buy, according to the chief executive of Peopl Insurance Paul Walsh. He said a number of travel insurers have Covid cover built into their policies, but not all of them do.

Even where Covid cover is available, it varies from one insurer to another. The Covid protection offered by Irish travel insurers is largely around cover for medical expenses should you be diagnosed with Covid abroad, and cover for losses that would arise in the event that you test positive for Covid shortly before you are due to go on holiday.

That cancellation cover will also usually apply if a holiday has to be cancelled because a travelling companion, or any person you had arranged to stay with during your trip, has been diagnosed with Covid.

Mr Walsh said you should make sure that the Covid cover in the policy covers you in the event that you or your husband fall sick with the virus and have to cancel your holiday as a result.

You are advised to buy your travel insurance at the same time you buy your holiday. Covid cover won’t apply if you buy the insurance less than a couple of weeks, or in some cases, less than a month, before the start of your trip, Mr Walsh said.

Q I am going on a skiing trip in January. As well as normal skiing and snowboarding, I was hoping to take part in heli-skiing and heli-boarding. If I buy winter sports insurance ahead of the trip, will this all be covered?

Snowboarding and skiing will be covered by a standard winter sports insurance policy, according to Jonathan Hehir, managing director of But more extreme winter sports such as heli-skiing and heli-boarding won’t be. He said you should either avoid these extreme activities on your trip or take out specialist insurance for them.

A standard winter sports insurance policy covers emergency medical and other expenses which arise if you are injured during a ski trip when partaking in activities covered by your policy (such as skiing and snowboarding).

It also typically covers you for financial loss incurred if an illness or injury prevents you from skiing, he said.

This would include the damage, loss or theft of your ski equipment and ski pass, and for certain costs that might arise as a result of piste closure or an avalanche or landslide.

There are monetary limits on the amount of cover available in such instances. These will be specified on your policy, Mr Hehir said.

Q I am a KBC customer. I haven’t moved my current account yet. I save into my PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account) by way of a monthly direct debit from my KBC current account. How can I make sure the pension savings aren’t interrupted by the departure of KBC?

A The first thing you should do is switch your KBC current account to a new provider, which will ensure you continue to have access to your current account in the future, according to Glenn Gaughran, head of business development with pensions trustee company ITC.

You should then ensure that the direct debit you have set up on your KBC current account for your pension savings is moved to your new account, he said. You have two options when switching account – to do so through the Central Bank switching code or to do so manually yourself.

Should you be managing the switch yourself, inform your PRSA provider of your new bank account details – including the IBAN and BIC – and ask it to ensure that the direct debit for your pension savings is set up for that new account, or what, if any, actions you have to take yourself to ensure this happens.

Your PRSA provider may have a form which you need to complete so that it has your new bank account details. Should you go through the Central Bank switching code when moving accounts, your old bank will notify any company that you have a direct debit with of your new bank details so they can update their records.

It is important however that you double check all your direct debits have been set up properly and will be paid on time. Contact your PRSA provider directly to make sure it has your new account details on file.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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