How is the coronavirus affecting travel insurance?
When it comes to coronavirus, it’s important to know that circumstances like epidemics and pandemics are not typically listed as covered events under most standard cancellation policies. Also worth noting: Preemptively canceling a trip out of fear for your health and safety is never part of a standard policy. Accordingly, while some insurers honored claims associated with the onset of the epidemic, almost none are paying out trip cancellation claims for travel or policies booked after late January (with specific cutoff dates ranging between January 21 and January 27, according to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth). This is owed to the rationale that once the outbreak became a known event, risk is assumed by the would-be travelers who book.
“However, there are now some providers who do not consider contracting the virus as foreseen, even during a global pandemic like the coronavirus outbreak,” says Kasara Barto, public relations manager for Squaremouth. “In this case, trip cancellation benefits can still apply if a traveler contracts the virus or is physically quarantined and unable to travel as planned.”
Economic-woe scenarios, like having to cancel if you are laid off from your job, or if a travel supplier should declare bankruptcy, are typically covered under standard plans. Squaremouth notes, however, that coronavirus-prompted impacts like travel bans and border closures are not usually covered by standard policies, nor are cases of cruise lines canceling a scheduled sailing (in which case, the cruise companies themselves would be expected to pick up the tab for reimbursement, or to offer a voucher for future travel).
Because of these exclusions, industry experts advise that a “cancel for any reason” policy upgrade will offer some level of protection even if your reason for canceling is based on fear of travel alone. With this more expensive insurance, you must meet criteria like purchasing your policy within a set time frame (typically within 14 to 21 days of your initial trip deposit) and you must also cancel your trip at least two days in advance of departure.
Keep in mind, too, that down the road, in the post-coronavirus world, industry insiders forecast that new virus-related policy inclusions will become part of standard policies. “Similar to how the September 11 attacks led to terrorism coverage to be offered standard on most travel insurance policies, we anticipate that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead the travel insurance industry to offer more policies that include coverage for pandemics, which may cover things like CDC alerts, travel advisories, and stay-at-home orders,” Barto says.
Read the full MSN article online here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/all-your-questions-about-cruise-travel-insurance-answered/ar-AAJtAKZ