Americans planning to travel abroad may be looking nervously as coronavirus spreads to multiple countries and wondering how much protection they have if they want to change or cancel their travel plans. They may have questions about what’s covered if something happens on their trip.
The most important thing to remember is that standard travel insurance does not cover you if you decide not to travel because of the outbreak. Nor does the type of insurance that comes with certain credit cards. Travel insurance can cover you though in case of a disruption while you’re on your trip, such as a quarantine period. But you’ll pay extra for a policy that allows you to cancel because of coronavirus.
Travel insurance providers note that it does not matter if the U.S. State Department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise Americans to reconsider travel to a country or to not travel there. These advisories do not invoke coverage for standard travel insurance policy holders if they decide to cancel or change their plans.
As the coronavirus outbreak has disrupted international travel, airlines have offered waivers that allow people to cancel or change their flights without the usual penalty. Cruise ship operators have paid for passengers’ flights home and reimbursed them for the cost of the cruise. Some hotel chains are waiving cancellation fees.
Those who are booking travel now may want to consider cancel-for-any-reason insurance policies. According to SquareMouth, a travel insurance comparison site, such policies cost 40% more than standard policies and will reimburse up to 75% of the insured trip cost.
Those who choose this option must purchase the policy within 14 to 21 days of making the first payment for the trip and must insure 100% of the trip cost.
For example, a standard travel insurance policy for a two-week, $5,000 trip might cost $137. To upgrade that policy to cancel-for-any-reason would cost $267, but a traveler could get back as much as $3,750.
Though it’s more expensive and doesn’t fully cover your travel costs, this option could help travelers manage the unpredictability of the coronavirus outbreak.
Read the full USA Today article online here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/news/2020/02/27/coronavirus-travel-insurance-what-covers-and-what-doesnt/4884216002/