Insurance Insurance University of Leeds

Emergency assistance contact information whilst travelling abroad

If you are currently abroad and need emergency assistance, please see the contact information sheet for details.


Cancellation or curtailment of trips due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The information below is to help colleagues understand the insurance position for claims arising from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The University is not allowing students and staff to travel to any international destination on University business in the immediate period until 30 June 2020 (at the earliest).

The University’s travel insurance will only apply where your plans have been disrupted by changed Government (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) advice or by the actions of a third-party organiser. (Note: travel insurance cover only applies to international trips and not to travel within the UK.)

1. The University’s insurance (covering travel and accommodation) will apply if you need to cancel an overseas trip in the following circumstances:

  • Where since booking your trip the Government has updated its guidance to advise against travelling to your chosen destination.
  • Where a trip on which you are already embarked is cut short or otherwise disrupted (as a result of the changed advice or third party organiser’s decision).  
  • Where the sole purpose of your trip – e.g. a conference or a placement at an international institution – has been cancelled or curtailed by the third party organiser. 

2. Before submitting a claim, you should attempt to recoup any costs from the travel agent*, airline or accommodation provider, or event organiser.  You will need to include evidence of your attempt to recoup the costs as part of your claim.

3. The insurers will usually only cover trips that are cancelled within four weeks of the date of travel. They are reluctant to consider longer-term bookings given that the world situation is changing rapidly.

The University’s travel insurance will NOT apply if your trip has been cancelled due to reasons other than those set out in (1) above. If FCO guidance does not specify any travel restrictions but the University requires you to cancel or curtail your trip, the insurers are unlikely to accept a claim as they would class this as a disinclination to travel.

4. In such circumstances you could still try to recover your costs from your travel, accommodation or other third-party provider. But if costs cannot be recovered, the University will need to absorb the expenditure. You can of course claim any personal expenditure through the ESS system in the normal manner.

* As of Tuesday, 17 March, the University will be cancelling en bloc all bookings for international outbound travel that have been made through Key Travel (until 30 June in the first instance).


STUDENTS ON STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMMES: These flowcharts will help you determine if you are able to claim any travel or accommodation costs connected to your return to the UK.




Travel Insurance

  • Please check the FCO for travel advice and complete a risk assessment from prior to travel, advice is available from your local Health & Safety contacts. Where travel is against FCO advice, you must seek advice and approval from your Faculty Health & Safety Manager.

  • Please notify the Insurance Office with at least one week prior notifiation if you plan to travel to:

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Niger, Nigeria (Delta Region and North of Abuja only), Libya and Venezuela.

Proof of insurance letter to support visa applications

  • For University staff and students requiring a Proof of Insurance letter to support your application for a visa, you can download a copy of the letter from our Sharepoint site (you will need to be logged on to the University network to access the site), complete the relevant sections and return it to us (with proof of identity) for signature. For further guidance on travel please click on the Travel tab at the top of this page.




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