Update - 23 March 2020

The Australian Government has advised that all non-essential travel within Australia be avoided, particularly interstate travel due to increased state border restrictions and requirement to isolate for 14 days.

The University now requires:

  1. Any imminent domestic travel that involves a flight and / or travel interstate be cancelled or deferred until further notice.
  2. No new domestic travel bookings be made that involve a flight or travel interstate regardless of:
    1. type of traveller;
    2. the funding source; or
    3. if the travel was previously approved.

All previous travel restrictions announced still apply. Do not book any domestic or international travel until further notice.

Travel Insurance

Cover for cancellation is likely to be available for cancellation of imminent domestic UQ approved travel arrangements if those arrangements were booked and paid for prior to 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020.

All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case by case basis according to policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.

Update - 19 March 2020

The Australian Government has announced that at 9:00pm (AEDT) 20 March, non-Australian citizens and non-Australian residents will not be allowed to enter Australia. Detailed information regarding the Australian government’s travel ban is limited at this time.

UQ travellers who are not Australian citizens or Australian residents and have an imminent travel booking to Australia must cancel or defer until further notice. See 'Already Booked' FAQ for more information regarding travel and insurance.

Australian citizens and Australian residents will still be able to return from overseas but they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Until further notice:

  • international travel requests cannot be submitted or approved;

  • Serko online booking tool access has been disabled 

For previous updates please refer to Key Dates and Updates FAQ below.

Further information

Refer to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Smart Traveller website.

International SOS has developed a COVID-19 website which can be referred to for the latest information including FAQs.

FAQs

Can any new bookings be made for international travel outside Australia?

No.

The travel restrictions apply to all University travel, regardless of:

  • the type of traveller;
  • the funding source; or
  • if the travel was previously approved.

Can any new bookings be made for domestic travel within Australia?

No new domestic travel bookings can be made that involve a flight or travel interstate regardless of:

  • type of traveller;
  • the funding source; or
  • if the travel was previously approved.

Any other domestic travel that does not involve a flight or travel interstate, must be approved and must be critical to the University.

Domestic travel – what is considered ‘critical’ domestic travel?

Travellers and travel approvers must apply their professional judgement as to whether the travel activity is critical to the University or not. This must be agreed between the traveller and the travel approver prior to making a domestic travel booking. Travellers and travel approvers should consider the risk that the travel will not be able to proceed due to current and future domestic travel restrictions, and that travel insurance cover will not be available for costs of cancellation where due to COVID-19.   

What do I need to do if I am already travelling?

The University now recommends that all travellers currently overseas should make arrangements to either return to Australia or their home location, whichever is the safer as soon as possible. This applies to all approved UQ travellers including staff, students and guests.

Campus Travel are currently contacting travellers who booked through Campus Travel to make new travel arrangements. If your travel was booked with travel suppliers other than Campus Travel you must contact the supplier directly.

All UQ travellers must register their travel with International SOS and provide their correct contact details while travelling (email and mobile phone contact).

Due to the increased spread of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) all international travellers should review the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for country specific information prior to, and during, travel and comply with any additional entry/exit requirements. Travellers should also allow for travel disruptions/delays at airports worldwide due to additional screening measures.

What should I do if I feel unwell while on UQ approved travel?

If UQ travellers begin to feel unwell, they should immediately contact UQ’s 24/7 travel assistance provider, International SOS (ISOS).

Phone +61 2 9372 2468 (reverse charge available). If you do not have telephone access, email sydney@internationalsos.com.  Quote UQ membership number 12AYCA778031.

I am currently on UQ approved travel and DFAT has raised their travel advice to Level 4 (Do Not Travel) - am I covered by UQ travel insurance to return home early?

As at 18 March 2020 DFAT has increased its travel rating for all overseas destinations to Level 4 (Do Not Travel).

Regardless of UQ travel insurance coverage, DFAT increasing their travel advice rating to Level 4 (Do Not Travel) for your current location means that you should make travel arrangements to leave that location as soon as possible.

DFAT increasing its travel advice rating to Level 4 (Do Not Travel) for your current location does not necessarily mean that the cost of early return to Australia will be covered by UQ travel insurance. Early return must be necessary for other reasons in order for expenses to be covered by UQ travel insurance (e.g. purpose for travel no longer exists – refer other FAQ responses).

How do I change my travel arrangements?

  1. If travel was booked via Campus Travel, contact Campus Travel.
  2. If travel was booked with travel suppliers other than Campus Travel (airlines, accommodation providers etc.) contact the supplier directly

What happens if I am required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 during UQ approved travel – will those expenses be covered by UQ travel insurance?

All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case by case basis according to policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions. However if your UQ approved travel was booked before 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020 and you incur necessary additional travel or accommodation expenses due to unforeseen circumstances outside of your control (e.g. accommodation and/or meals) then those costs are likely to be covered by UQ travel insurance.

What happens if I incur medical expenses due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) while on UQ approved travel– will those expenses be covered by UQ travel insurance?

All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case by case basis according to policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions. However if your sickness occurs during your authorised travel and is not a pre-existing condition (i.e. symptoms did not manifest before undertaking your journey) then cover is likely to be available if you booked your travel before 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020.

What if I make a change to my travel arrangements?

If you make a new travel arrangement (e.g. change your return flight date and/or route) after 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020, you may not have UQ travel insurance cover for any claim related to that new travel arrangement which was caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus). For example, travel disruption expenses (such as additional travel or accommodation expenses) due to COVID-19 or medical expenses for assessment of or treatment for COVID-19 incurred on dates and locations that were not a part of your original booking.  However you will still have cover for claims with different causes, such as illness or lost baggage unrelated to COVID-19 (subject to full policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations).

Cover is also likely to still be available for claims relating to COVID-19 where a change to your original travel arrangements (booked before 4pm AEDT on 2 March) is necessary for reasons outside your control (this does not include changes to comply with UQ travel advice).

Am I covered by UQ travel insurance to return home early due to the DFAT advice issued on 18 March 2020 that travellers who wish to return home do so as soon as possible?

No. This is a recommendation relating to the timing of return travel, not a directive to return home. This advice does not mean that the cost of early return to Australia will be covered by UQ travel insurance. Early return must be necessary for other reasons in order for expenses to be covered by UQ travel insurance.

How do I change my travel arrangements?

  1. If travel was booked via Campus Travel, contact Campus Travel.
  2. If travel was booked with travel suppliers other than Campus Travel (airlines, accommodation providers etc.) contact the supplier directly.

For travel booked prior to 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020

Can I still undertake my UQ approved travel?

Imminent University international and domestic travel departures which involve a flight or interstate travel must be cancelled or deferred. This restriction applies to all University travel, regardless of when the travel was booked or the fund source.

Other domestic University travel (i.e. domestic travel not involving a flight or interstate travel) can be undertaken only if approved and critical to the University. 

I already booked my international flights, can I book other travel arrangements e.g. accommodation?

No.

Imminent University travel departures to any country outside Australia (including New Zealand) must be cancelled or deferred.

UQ has booked travel for a guest to travel to Australia – can they still undertake their international travel?

UQ travellers who are not Australian citizens or Australian residents and have an imminent travel booking to Australia must cancel or defer until further notice.

On 19 March the Australian Government announced that at 9:00pm (AEDT) 20 March, non-Australian citizens and non-Australian residents will not be allowed to enter Australia. Australian citizens and Australian residents will still be able to return from overseas but they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

What happens if I decide to cancel a future UQ approved domestic travel booking within Australia, due to concern about risks associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus) – will my costs of cancellation be covered by UQ Travel Insurance?

If you are concerned about undertaking a domestic travel booking within Australia (i.e. approved, not interstate, and no flight) you should first discuss your concerns with your supervisor. The traveller and travel approver must agree whether the domestic travel is critical to the University’s operations, and whether travel should be undertaken at this time.

If you could have undertaken your travel, but have instead chosen to cancel, this is likely to be considered a disinclination to travel and your costs of cancellation are unlikely to be covered by UQ Travel Insurance.

What if I made a UQ approved domestic travel booking after 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020?

If you made a travel arrangement (e.g. flight, accommodation, or vehicle rental) after 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020, you will not have UQ travel insurance cover for any claim related to that travel arrangement which was caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus), including for medical or travel disruption expenses (such as additional travel or accommodation expenses) due to COVID-19.  You will still have cover for claims with different causes, such as unrelated illness or lost baggage (subject to full policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations).

For domestic travel within Australia, Australian citizens should be covered for medical costs via Medicare.

When should I change my UQ travel arrangements?

Imminent University international and domestic travel departures which involve a flight or interstate travel must be cancelled or deferred

For future departures, it will depend on when you are due to travel. UQ recommends travellers explore their options now for changing or cancelling. Travellers should be aware of cost implications and time restrictions (e.g. cancellation window).

The timing of when you change your travel arrangements may affect insurance cover for the costs associated with those changes. See FAQ “Insurance – other: Travel Insurance – costs of changes/cancellations for UQ travel”.

How do I change my travel arrangements?

  1. If travel was booked via Campus Travel, contact Campus Travel.
  2. If travel was booked with travel suppliers other than Campus Travel (airlines, accommodation providers etc.) contact the supplier directly.

Does UQ Travel Insurance have an exclusion for pandemics?

No. There is no pandemic (or epidemic) exclusion. Whether or not you have cover for a claim will depend on the particular circumstances of the claim. Please refer to the other FAQs for some examples of when cover is likely and unlikely to be available.   

My UQ approved travel includes a personal (private) travel component, am I covered by UQ travel insurance for the personal travel?

You may not be covered for your personal travel. UQ's travel insurance policy only provides cover for incidental personal/private travel, and not for private portions of dual purpose travel. Please refer to the Travel Insurance for Staff and Travel Insurance for Students brochures. Please contact Insurance Services if you have any further questions about UQ travel insurance cover.

Please contact your private travel insurer if you have any questions about cover under a private travel insurance policy. 

Where you incur out-of-pocket expenses for private portions of dual purpose travel, please lodge a claim through your private travel insurance policy. 

Please see FAQ below for how to lodge a claim for out-of-pocket expenses that are directly related to your UQ approved business travel or for incidental private travel.

What happens if my reason for undertaking UQ approved travel is cancelled due to COVID-19 - will the costs of cancellation be covered by UQ Travel Insurance?

All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case by case basis according to policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions. However if the purpose for travel no longer exists (e.g. a conference/meeting or exchange program is cancelled) and this is out of your control, then cover is likely to be available for the reasonable and necessary costs of cancellation.

Cover for cancellation may also depend on the date of travel and the date on which you booked and change your travel arrangements. Refer to other FAQ responses. 

If you are a student currently on exchange, and your exchange program is still being offered online, then it is unlikely that cover will be available for the costs of returning to Australia early.

Cover for cancellation will only be available where cancellation was necessary for reasons other than the UQ-imposed travel restriction.

Travel Insurance – costs of changes/cancellations for UQ travel

Travellers must keep full records of all costs relating to changes or cancellations to destinations affected by COVID-19.

Where changes or cancellations are directed by UQ, imminent travel departures should be cancelled or deferred now.

An insurance claim may be able to be made via UQ Insurance Services.  All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case by case basis according to policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.

If you are unable to travel for reasons outside of your control (e.g. a DFAT Level 4 Do Not Travel), and it was not foreseeable at the time of booking that it may be necessary to cancel your travel, then UQ Travel Insurance cover is likely to be available for the costs of cancellation. However UQ Travel Insurance cover is unlikely to be available where the only reason for cancellation was a UQ-imposed travel restriction.

Please refer to the  FAQ below for more details on how to make a travel insurance claim. Where possible, costs should be recovered from the travel supplier, including airline, travel agent, accommodation or other transport provider before making an insurance claim.

Please email UQ Insurance Services before changing non-imminent travel arrangements, or if you have questions about travel insurance including making a claim.

The UQ travel insurance policy will not respond to claims relating to or resulting from COVID-19 (coronavirus) for the following travel as this is no longer an unforeseen event/circumstance:

  • Travel to / from Hubei province booked after 5pm (AEST), 22 January 2020
  • Travel to / from mainland China booked after 9am (AEST), 2 February 2020
  • Travel to / from locations outside mainland China booked at or after 4pm (AEDT), 2 March 2020.

For travel booked prior to these dates, cover for cancellation will depend on the date of travel, the date on which you change your travel arrangements, and the situation in your travel destination at the time of making that change.

Following introduction of a worldwide DFAT advice rating of Level 4 (Do Not Travel) on 18 March 2020, cover for cancellation is likely to be available for cancellation of UQ approved international travel arrangements to locations where all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Travel arrangements are to a location outside mainland China; and
  2. Travel arrangements were booked and paid for before 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020; and
  3. Travel departure is imminent; and
  4. Travel arrangements are for a location which had a DFAT Level 4 travel advice rating at the time of cancellation (which includes any overseas location, following update of the DFAT advice rating for all overseas destinations to Level 4 on 18 March 2020).

Chubb have advised that travellers with travel arrangements that are more than four (4) weeks away may wish to delay cancelling their travel until their travel date is less than four (4) weeks away in case the position on travel improves. Cover is therefore unlikely to be available for cancellations of travel arrangements that are more than 4 weeks away, unless cancellation is necessary for other reasons (eg where the purpose for travel no longer exists because it has been cancelled by a third party).

I have incurred out-of-pocket expenses as a result of cancelling my travel booking.  How do I make an Insurance Claim?

Once you have recovered all possible expenses from an airline, travel agent, accommodation provider or other source, you can submit a travel insurance claim for any remaining out of pocket expenses.

Please refer to the other FAQs regarding the circumstances in which a claim is likely to be accepted by UQ’s travel insurer.  Cover for cancellation will only be available where cancellation was necessary for reasons other than a UQ-imposed travel restriction.

All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with the policy terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations. 

To submit a travel insurance claim for out-of-pocket expenses due to postponement or cancellation of your travel, please complete and sign a copy of the Travel Insurance Claim form, and email it to insuranceclaims@uq.edu.au with the following supporting documentation:

  1. A copy of your UQ travel approval which includes your date/s, destination/s and purpose for travel;
    1. for international staff travel approved through UniFi, include the travel approval number in Section 1 of the claim form;
    2. for UQ approved student exchanges, provide your UQ Global Experiences Confirmation Letter;
    3. for all other travel, provide the relevant written UQ travel approval given before you booked your travel;
  2. A copy of the original itinerary, including flights, transfers and accommodation;
  3. A copy of the invoices/receipts for the out-of-pocket expenses being claimed;
  4. Correspondence from the airline/accommodation provider/travel agent confirming the claimed expenses are fully non-refundable, or confirmation of amounts that are refunded/held in credit;
  5. Evidence of the activity that was due to be undertaken (e.g. invitation letter from conference organiser/placement agreement/invitation letter from Host University);
  6. Correspondence from the conference/event/exchange organiser confirming the cancellation/postponement.
  7. Any additional supporting documentation, including staff travel diary and dual purpose calculator where applicable.

An Insurance Services representative will be in contact with you as soon as possible to request any further information or documentation required, or to advise that your claim has been lodged with the Insurer.  Please note, as we are experiencing a significantly higher than usual volume of claims and enquiries, we ask that you await a response from our team.

The University has suspended all UQ approved travel for official University business purposes to:

  • Hubei Province - China (suspended 24 January 2020)
  • Mainland China (suspended 29 Jan 2020)
  • Iran (suspended in Dec 2018 unrelated to COVID-19)
  • Lombardy and Veneto regions - Italy (suspended 3 March 2020)
  • Daegu and Cheongdo - South Korea (suspended 3 March 2020)
  • South Korea overall (suspended 5 March 2020)
  • Italy overall (suspended 10 March 2020)
  • Mongolia overall (suspended 12 March 2020)
  • Igualada, Santa Margarida de Montbui, Odena and Vilanova del Cami in the region of Catalonia - Spain (suspended 13 March 2020)
  • All countries outside of Australia (suspended 16 March 2020)
  • Domestic travel within Australia involving a flight or interstate travel (suspended 23 March 2020)

Even if University travel was booked prior to 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020, imminent University travel to the above countries/regions must be cancelled or deferred until further notice.

Update - 18 March 2020

The Australian Government now advise all travellers not to travel overseas at this time.

The University now recommends that all travellers currently overseas should make arrangements to either return to Australia or their home location, whichever is the safer as soon as possible. This applies to all approved UQ travellers including staff, students and guests.

This decision is based (but not limited) to the following risks:

  • Airlines globally significantly reducing capacity and cancelling services until further notice
  • Lack of or limited medical care due to COVID-19
  • Risk of not complying with country visa requirements (overstay etc.)
  • Ongoing financial costs related to long term overseas stay

Under these circumstances, the Australian government and the University’s ability to assist travellers overseas is now severely limited.

Restrictions and measures announced 5 and 16 March still apply. Do not book any international travel until further notice.

Travel Insurance

Because the Australian government’s travel advice rating has been raised to do not travel worldwide, cover for cancellation is likely to be available for cancellation of imminent international travel arrangements if it meets certain criteria (refer to the UQ Travel website COVID-19 FAQS).

All claims will be assessed by UQ’s Travel Insurer on a case by case basis according to policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions.

Update – 16 March 2020

The Australian Government now advise all travellers to reconsider their need for overseas travel at this time. Travellers may be quarantined, denied entry to some countries or airlines may cancel your flights at short notice, which means you may be stranded. Under these circumstances, the University’s ability to meet its duty of care obligations is severely limited.

The University has implemented the following measures, effective immediately:

  1. Imminent University travel departures to any country outside Australia (including New Zealand) must be cancelled or deferred. This restriction applies to all University travel, regardless of when the travel was booked or the fund source.
  2. All travellers (including Australian citizens) travelling or returning to Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Staff impacted should advise their supervisor.

Measures announced 5 March 2020 are still in place:

  1. Do not book any international travel until further notice, even if the University travel has been approved prior to this announcement. This restriction applies to all University travel, regardless of fund source.
  2. Restrict domestic University air travel to critical travel only.

Update - 13 March 2020

The Prime Minister has announced the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) now advise all Australians to reconsider their need to travel overseas at this time. Regardless of your destination, age or health if your overseas travel is not essential, consider carefully whether now is the right time.

As advised by the Vice-Chancellor to all staff on Friday 6 March, UQ travellers and travel approvers must re-assess whether international travel already booked prior to 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020 should be undertaken.

Update - 5 March 2020

Restrictions on all University air travel until further notice

Yesterday (4 March 2020) the University’s travel insurer informed UQ that COVID-19 is considered a foreseen circumstance for any new travel arrangements made after 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020. This means that the UQ travel insurance policy will not respond to claims relating to or resulting from COVID-19 for any domestic or international travel booked after 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020.

To enable us to continue to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our people, and due to the advice from the insurer, effective immediately the University has implemented the following measures:

  1. Do not book any international travel until further notice, even if the University travel has been approved prior to this announcement. This restriction applies to all University travel, regardless of fund source.
  2. Travellers and travel approvers must re-assess whether international travel already booked prior to 4pm (AEDT) on 2 March 2020 should be undertaken, particularly to countries where the Australian Government has raised their travel advice in relation to COVID-19.
  3. Restrict domestic University air travel to critical travel only.

Until further notice, international travel requests for UQ travel can not be submitted or approved.