Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 and Travel Insurance FAQ
Q: What if I’m afraid to travel due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak?
A: Unless you have purchased a travel insurance policy that expressly allows you to cancel a planned trip for virtually any reason a fear of traveling is not typically sufficient to warrant coverage. Read the details of your policy closely and call your provider if you have any questions.
Q: If the CDC or State Department issue a travel warning to a country I’m planning to visit, will travel insurance cover me if I decide to cancel my trip?
A: Although a formal travel warning for coronavirus may limit the amount of medical coverage an insurance policy will cover, it may very well be insufficient for travel expense reimbursement should you choose to cancel. Once again a Cancel for Any Reason policy may provide such coverage but, as always, do your due diligence before purchasing.
Q: Health officials continue to urge citizens to reduce their interpersonal interactions - the so called Social Distancing. Would travel insurance cover my expenses if I cancelled due to being quarantined?
A: Travel Insurance policies have well defined benefits and equally well defined exclusions, or things not covered. A quarantine related reimbursement would usually be specifically called out in your policy. If you have already purchased a travel insurance policy, you can call your provider to be certain. If you haven’t purchased your policy research a Cancel for Any Reason policy and confirm that they have a quarantine related benefit.
Q: If I contract coronavirus while traveling will my travel insurance cover my medical treatment?
A: As noted, some travel insurance policies have exclusions for epidemic and pandemic related medical issues, particularly if the destination in question has been designated a Level 2 or 3 risk assessment by the State Department or the CDC. However, the timing of your travel and timeframe that you present symptoms come into play also. If you traveled before the risk level was raised in your destination country, you may be able to get some coverage should you become infected.
Q: If coronavirus screenings at the airport causes boarding delays that cause me to miss my flight, will travel insurance cover the cost?
A: Unfortunately, most travel policies would a virus screening delay as a security precaution. And security precautions are not typically categorized as a valid reason, or trigger, for insurance reimbursement. Check your policy for exact details but, if you are traveling, make sure you leave yourself plenty of lead time to get to your boarding gate.
Q: If the country I plan to travel to in the near future is not yet impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can I buy travel insurance now and be covered at that later date if there is a breakout while I’m there?
A: Insurance companies constantly assess risks that impact their policies and, at this time the COVID-19 pandemic is a well known risk. It would be highly unlikely that a standard travel insurance policy would cover such an event. A Cancel for Any Reason policy might provide certain coverage in such a situation.
Q: If I get sick with coronavirus while on a cruise, will my travel insurance policy cover the cost of my evacuation?
A: An evacuation at sea is typically the job of the Coast Guard or other government entity. Modern cruise ships have medical facilities onboard and are usually not too far from a port of call. Evacuation insurance normally covers evacuation from one land health facility to another where adequate care can be provided.
Q: Will travel insurance cover me if my planned cruise is cancelled due to coronavirus?
A: Travel insurance would typically cover you should your cruise line cancel your cruise. Read the details of your policy or call your insurance provider to confirm.
Q: If I am denied entry onto my cruise ship because of concerns about coronavirus will my travel insurance cover me?
A: This one is a bit complicated. If you are denied boarding because you are presenting symptoms (fever, cough, etc.) your policy may well cover your losses, possibly even your additional transportation expenses to return home in addition to your cruise fare. Make sure to obtain a doctor’s report indicating the reason for your boarding denial - it will help with your claims process.
If a cruise ship denied you boarding because you had just come from a COVID-19 hotspot there is a good chance your policy may not cover you. Check the details of your policy and also check if the cruise line would extend you a future credit.
Q: If I need to be quarantined due to coronavirus, would travel insurance cover me if it causes me to miss my trip?
A: The answer to this question is very dependent upon timing. If you have purchased your trip insurance in January or earlier, you may be covered for a quarantine related cancellation. However, after the coronavirus spread widely, it is unlikely that a standard travel insurance policy would cover a quarantine related cancellation. Check your policy for the exact details or call your carrier.
Q: Many of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and China are closed due to the pandemic. This greatly reduces the potential attraction of those destinations. Would travel insurance cover me if I cancelled my trip?
A: If you have already purchased travel insurance for an upcoming trip to either Italy or China, your policy would not cover you. Weather, maintenance and a variety of other factors can cause closures of tourist attractions and your policy would view say, the closure of Tiananmen Square as falling in that category.
If you have not yet purchased travel insurance for an upcoming trip to Italy or China, it is unlikely you’d be able to find one now.
Q: Since the airline for my upcoming trip has already waived their cancellation fee, I have decided not to travel. I had already purchased travel insurance and now wonder if I can get a refund since I no longer need the insurance?
A: Virtually all travel insurance policies will let you cancel your insurance within a certain period of time, typically 10 to 14 days. So, the answer depends on when you bought your policy. Consult your carrier with haste to see if you are still within that window.
Q: If I need to cancel my upcoming trip because I’ve come down with COVID-19 symptoms, will my travel insurance policy cover me?
A: Missing a trip due to illness is one of the main reasons to consider getting travel insurance. It is very likely you would be covered in such an event, but consult your policy and call your carrier to confirm.