Washington Post, Feb 9, 2021 – What to know about travel insurance as the pandemic enters a second year
Cancellation because of a coronavirus diagnosis should be covered
Those who catch the virus before leaving on a trip shouldn’t have to worry about bearing the cost of canceling.
“If you get sick with covid, travel insurance plans today will treat that like really any other kind of unexpected illness or sickness,” Sandberg said. Insurance should cover the nonrefundable costs of the trip that you have to miss.
Megan Moncrief, the chief marketing officer for travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth, said some insurance providers will ask for a doctor’s note or proof of a positive test.
Getting sick while traveling should be covered, too
Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires a negative test before returning to the United States, travelers might discover they’re ill as they get ready to return home. Or they might develop symptoms even before they are scheduled for a return test.
Sandberg said the most common comprehensive policies should provide emergency medical expense coverage as well as coverage for the remaining nonrefundable costs of the trip, if it’s interrupted. For severe cases, he said, a comprehensive policy should also cover the cost of an emergency evacuation.
Moncrief said most policies will also pay for some of the costs of extending a trip if a traveler is forced to stay put and quarantine after a positive test result.
Government rule changes aren’t a good enough reason to cancel a trip
If we have learned anything in the past year, it is that countries, states or cities might suddenly change their rules depending on the spread of the virus. More countries are now requiring quarantines for anyone who arrives, for example, and the U.S. government’s pre-arrival testing requirement went into place last month.
“The nature of travel has become so unpredictable with opening and closing borders, and changing requirements from the CDC,” Moncrief said. “Travelers say, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen in three months, but I’m going to book this trip.’”
If travelers want any kind of protection for unforeseen government rule changes, their only option is to choose a “cancel for any reason” upgrade to a policy, if it’s available. That add-on comes with several caveats: It must typically be purchased within 14 days of the first payment made for a trip, and the traveler has to cancel the trip at least 48 hours before departure. It’s a costly option — roughly 40 percent more than a standard policy — and covers up to 75 percent of the nonrefundable cost of the trip.
Read the full Washington Post article online here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2021/02/09/insurance-covid-trip-coverage-cancellation/