How to choose travel insurance that protects your investment and your health.
Business and pleasure travelers are more curious than ever about travel insurance as the threat of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread. The pandemic has travelers questioning whether they should travel at all and what they can do to protect themselves if they’re unable to go.
Most policies don’t cover fear-based cancellations
Most travel insurance policies cover medical emergencies (secondary to primary coverage), emergency medical evacuation, trip cancellation, trip interruption, delays and lost or stolen luggage. They do not cover cancellation for fear of pandemic. Trip cancellation is typically covered for reasons such as:
- An unexpected death, injury or illness that deems you or a traveling companion unfit to travel by order of a physician
- Hospitalization or death of a non-traveling family member
- Unforeseen natural disaster
- Jury duty or request to appear as a witness in court
Upgraded policies cover cancellation for any reason
If the spread of COVID-19 is a concern, you can purchase an upgraded travel policy that includes cancellation for any reason (CAR). Typically, you’ll need to purchase it within 10 to 21 days of the first payment made toward travel. And it costs about 40% more than standard travel insurance. It usually refunds 75% of the cost of the trip, often capped by a policy trip-cost limit.
Travel medical coverage also a concern
You also may be wondering how medical coverage would work during travel. Medical emergencies, illness, and accidents that occur during travel abroad may not be covered by domestic health insurance plans, so be sure to check with your carrier.
You can purchase a travel medical plan, which can cover unexpected illness and injury, including:
- Primary medical insurance with limits up to $2,000,000
- Emergency dental
- Accidental death and dismemberment
- Repatriation of remains
- Global health and safety services
- Global 24/7 medical assistance
- Emergency evacuation
Even these policies usually exclude care for known epidemics and pandemics if the CDC or WHO has issued a Travel Health Notice Level 3 for the destination country. China, Iran, Italy and South Korea had Level 3 Travel Health Notices as of March 10, according to the CDC.
Coverage and exclusions vary from policy to policy, so it pays to read the plan document before you buy. If you have questions, reach out to your insurance advisor for recommendations.
More resources available on COVID-19
By Tara Lavelle, PRM Business Development Manager