With reduced international flights, you may be forced to transit through restricted countries in order to reach the U.S. Proceed carefully: With travel bans and flight cancellations happening without much warning, you don’t want to get stuck in a country that your provider doesn’t cover, so be sure to consult them prior to booking plans. Your coverage may also depend on the U.S. travel warnings at the time of your departure, so enroll in the State Department’s STEP program to stay informed. Murchland offers a bit of consolation, adding, “It may be difficult to invoke limitations onto travelers who are traveling home, but this depends on the insurance carrier.”
If you’re on a single-trip plan and you’re stuck abroad beyond your coverage date due to travel delays, quarantine, or receiving medical care, Kasara Barto with Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, says most policies will extend coverage for seven days and adds, “We have heard that providers are working diligently to extend coverage on a case by case basis for travelers stuck abroad who are unable to return home.”
How to be prepared and plan ahead
Hospitals are inundated, travel logistics are increasingly complex, and insurance help lines have long wait times. Don’t wait for an urgent matter to find out if your coverage has been impacted by current events. Instead, be proactive: Call your provider and review your policy to understand your current coverage and its limitations. Know which hospitals your provider can administer benefits for, and which ones near you are equipped to test and treat COVID-19, as not all do.
Keep in mind that emergency medical evacuation and repatriation have become increasingly limited due to flight reductions, border closings, and health system overload—especially in countries heavily impacted by COVID-19. Even with insurance coverage, you may have trouble accessing evacuation points. If you plan on staying abroad, remaining in your current location means putting your coverage and your health in the least amount of risk.
Read the full Conde Nast Traveler article online here: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/for-americans-abroad-the-level-4-travel-advisory-could-impact-insurance