Trip insurance and the coronavirus: Here’s what you need to know
Most travel insurance plans do not cover coronavirus disruptions
We’ll give you the bad news first: Your current insurance plan probably won’t reimburse you for coronavirus-related travel mishaps. This holds true whether your plan is included with your credit card, or was purchased from a third-party underwriter. Travel insurance providers consider COVID-19 to be a “foreseen event,” according to insurance company Squaremouth. Once an event is foreseen, travelers can no longer purchase trip cancellation insurance benefits.
While it’s true that trip insurance covers illness and emergency evacuations, the coronavirus epidemic does not fall under the qualifying criteria unless you personally have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, which falls under the typical clauses on illness. Travel insurance doesn’t cover cancellations from airlines, restricted country entrance guidelines based on coronavirus-related border closures or many of the new reasons why you might not be able to complete a trip as planned.
Standard plan coverage includes accidental bodily injury; loss of life or sickness; severe weather; terrorist action or hijacking; and jury duty or a court subpoena that cannot be postponed or waived.
In other words, if you aren’t sick, you won’t be reimbursed for canceled flights that leave you stranded, hotel bookings you have to abandon or even alternative transportation you have to purchase last-minute. Fortunately, some airlines now offer free coronavirus coverage — but even if you qualify, your coverage and benefits are often quite limited.
So if you’re worried about losing money on a trip due to coronavirus coverage, what should you do?
Haven’t left home yet? Purchase “cancel for any reason” coverage if you still can.
If you’re planning for a trip in the near future, you may still be able to purchase coverage now. But while you can usually purchase basic travel insurance up to 24 hours before departure, most premium add-ons such as “cancel for any reason” coverage have to be purchased within a certain number of days from when you made your initial trip payment. Premium vacation plans with “no matter what” refund policies often cost more than 12% of your total trip expenses.
So if you’re feeling brave and decide to book a trip in faith right now, a “cancel for any reason” insurance plan is a good investment to hedge your bets. If you’ve already had a trip planned for some time but haven’t purchased insurance yet, do some research to see if you’re still within the grace period for purchasing a full coverage policy.
With Squaremouth travel insurance, for example, you’ll have to purchase “cancel for any reason” insurance within 14-21 days of making your initial payment on vacation expenses, and you also have to insure 100% of your trip costs in addition to canceling your trip at least 48 hours before departure time to receive a refund of up to 75% of the trip cost.
Read the full The Points Guy article online here: https://thepointsguy.com/guide/independent-travel-insurance/