We’re glad you asked, and the answer is relatively simple, yes and no. It depends on what type of damage you’re looking for coverage on, and what travel insurance policy you have in place to cover that risk. Below, we’ll share some general thoughts and guidelines on the topic, but the best place to (also) ask your question about Coronavirus (Covid19) coverage is your own insurance provider. Ask before you buy the policy, but especially before you leave for your trip. The tips below will help you come better prepared with the right questions in terms of your coverage.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Coverage
Does travel insurance cover Covid19? Travel insurance can provide you and your loved ones with financial coverage should you or a family member contract coronavirus before or during your trip. Depending on your policy, which may cover one or more risks, you could be eligible for benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and medical evacuation. Of course it’s better to prevent getting sick to begin with, and maybe that means travelling isn’t (yet) the right thing to do for you. In addition to government guidelines, the decision to travel (or not) depends on your personal comfort level. For me, until my 4 required steps to travel again are met, I’m staying safely at home.
Below you’ll find general guidelines to help you understand the context of travel insurance in light of the covid19 pandemic. This list was created with input from Travelex. Always check with your own insurance provider to ensure the information below is still accurate.
What may be included
- Trip Cancellation covers if you or a traveling companion test positive for coronavirus (as certified by a physician) and must quarantine as a result.
- Trip Interruption provides coverage for the unused portion of your prepaid and non-refundable expenses, as well as any additional transportation expenses you may incur to return home or re-join your trip.
- Trip delay provides coverage for any additional expenses you may have due to a quarantine order by a doctor. Costs could be additional and unexpected hotel stays and meals while on a trip and you are delayed by the unexpected quarantine.
- Emergency medical and evacuation provides coverage for medical expenses you may have while treating the coronavirus and emergency evacuation becomes medically necessary.
- Travel Assistance can help you extend your hotel stay, find alternate accommodations, make changes to your travel bookings and much more, if you test positive for coronavirus while traveling. If you are experiencing symptoms and would like to be seen by a physician, the Travel Assistance provider can also help you find a local clinic, physician, or medical facility.
What’s typically not included
- Fear of Travel is not covered. If you decide you’d rather not go because of “fear”, no coverage will be provided. Ensure you’re willing and able to travel before booking the trip, and realize that this may change between the day you book your trip and the date you’re traveling, both to your destination and back home again. Some insurance providers have additional policies that relax the cancellation requirements, and may allow you to “cancel for any reason”, however these are rare.
- Cancellation by the travel provider, for example the airline cancelling your flight. Airlines have significantly reduced their schedules, and not all flight that are currently bookable will be flown as advertised. You may find yourself being rebooked or rerouted to a different time, different day, or different route entirely. This could mean a (much) longer travel time, additional stopovers, and likely a combination of both.
- Government travel warning and advisories preventing you from reaching your destination are usually not covered. With constantly changing regulations and advisories being subject to change with no or very little notice, this risk could be significant.
- Covid testing unless ordered by a doctor. This means if you are required to show a negative COVID test prior to leaving your destination, when returning home, or both, the cost of the test(s) is not covered.
Ready for takeoff?
Premium credit card benefits sometimes include travel assistance, and this has been a life saver several times for me when I was stuck abroad in between cancelled and delayed flights.
Keep in mind that if you test positive for coronavirus while traveling, whether on arrival or later during your stay, you will first and foremost want to follow the doctor’s orders, and secondly contact your insurance company for potential additional help and guidance.
If you must cancel your trip for any reason, always try to contact the travel provider and politely ask for a refund or voucher. It doesn’t hurt to ask, but keep in mind if you book travel at the lowest possible fare those fares are often non-refundable, in which case even getting a voucher that you can use for future travel is a really good option. Make sure you read my post on getting the best value out of your travel vouchers.
This article was written based on information provided by Travelex. Always check with your own insurance providers before you buy the policy and before you travel to ensure you have the coverage you need. These are general guidelines to help you understand the context of travel insurance in light of the covid19 pandemic.