Image: Lewis Clarke Image: Lewis Clarke

The insurer LV= has suspended the sale of travel insurance in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Uncertainty over travel plans has prompted a doubling of the number of policies purchased in recent weeks, the insurer said.

And rather than increase its prices, LV= has decided to stop selling travel insurance for the time being. It did confirm that customers with existing travel insurance policies will still be covered.

In a statement, LV= said: "In light of the impact that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having globally, we've made the difficult decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers.

"We considered a number of different options, such as excluding cover or significantly increasing prices for new customers. We strongly believe this temporary measure of pausing the sale of new policies and focusing on our existing customers is the right decision."

Gareth Shaw, head of money at consumer group, Which?, said: "It's very alarming that LV have withdrawn the sale of travel insurance and that other providers have also started restricting the policies they offer customers.

"Anyone planning a holiday should get insurance as soon as they book. If you haven't already booked insurance and are travelling soon we urge you to get cover immediately from a reputable insurer.

"The government, insurers and the travel industry must immediately tackle the huge challenge provided by coronavirus, as the industry depends on people having the confidence that they can travel with the knowledge they will be covered".