Demand for Travel Insurance Surges
Travelers are also buying more insurance to cope with doubts brought by the coronavirus epidemic. “We have seen a 208% surge in demand for travel insurance from Jan. 21 to Feb. 26 compared to the previous 5-week period,” says Kasara Barto, a spokesperson at Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison website.
The demand has dramatically increased for the optional “cancel for any reason” upgrades on standard policies because that is the only way to cover a viral outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic. Standard travel insurance policies will cover most other types of events, including bad weather, hurricanes, and illness, but not viral outbreaks like COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus
The cost is 40% more than a standard insurance policy. For example, a quote on squaremouth.com shows that a standard comprehensive travel insurance policy, including trip cancellation for a $3,500, one-week trip for a 45-year-old traveler, can cost as little as $108, says Barto. To include the “cancel for any reason” upgrade, the same policy would cost $193.20, but that allows the traveler to cancel their trip for fear of the coronavirus outbreak and receive a 75% reimbursement of the cost.
But, there are conditions: A traveler must cancel their trip at least 2-3 days before their scheduled departure date and buy a policy typically within 14-21 days of making the first payment or booking..
Some policies also cover emergency medical care and/or medical evacuation if people contract the coronavirus during their trip. This would include medical benefits if they are quarantined. Some policies also cover trip cancellation or interruption due to quarantine or in the event that the CDC issues a travel warning about their destination. But in those instances, the traveler must have bought the policy before the outbreak became a known event, which Barto says was Jan. 21 for the coronavirus, based on news reports and government alerts. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a global public health emergency on Jan. 30.
Read the full WebMD article online here: https://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/news/20200309/spread-of-coronavirus-cancels-travel-and-events