If you’re thinking about booking a trip in the near future, chances are you’re also thinking about travel insurance.
In order to adapt to the post-pandemic world, travel insurance companies have changed their plans and policies over the past few months, leaving travellers to wonder exactly what is and isn’t covered.
In this article, we’re demystifying some of the questions that are currently top of mind for avid travellers, including the million-dollar query that everybody wants to know: do travel insurance policies include coverage for the coronavirus?
Are travel insurance companies covering COVID-19?
Great news for anyone hoping to book a future adventure: select insurance companies — such as World Nomads — are now offering coverage for some COVID-19-related claims. This means you may be eligible for benefits in areas like emergency medical expenses and trip interruption due to the coronavirus.
However, it’s important to note that COVID-19 is now considered a “foreseen event,” which means certain coverages may not apply to your insurance plan. Given this factor, it’s important to confirm what is and isn’t covered with your policy.
Insurance companies have made sweeping changes since the coronavirus outbreak, and they’re continually updating their policies to protect travellers while providing added peace of mind for future vacations.
What to look for in a post-pandemic travel insurance policy
The coronavirus pandemic has emphasised the need to not only protect your health and wellbeing, but also the cost of your trip. Travellers have primarily focused on pricing when purchasing travel insurance in the past; however, finding a plan with the right coverage is now a top priority.
When you’re searching for a travel insurance policy in the age of COVID-19, here are a few of the most important things to look for:
- Medical coverage
- Coverage for COVID-related claims
- Pre-existing medical conditions coverage
As always, you should continue to look for plans that include both trip interruption and trip cancellation, along with coverage for things like lost baggage, trip delay, and unexpected injuries or accidents.
A “cancel for any reason” policy is another option to consider. As the name implies, this policy allows travellers to cancel a trip for any reason of their choosing and receive a partial refund.
These types of plans are more expensive compared to standard policies, but they provide an extra layer of protection. (Bear in mind: some travel insurance companies have eliminated or changed their “cancel for any reason” policies after the coronavirus outbreak.)
Of course, be sure to double-check with your provider, examine the exclusions, and read the fine print before purchasing travel insurance.
When to purchase travel insurance
As more and more people are planning international holidays for 2021, travel insurance is quickly becoming a must-have essential in the age of COVID-19.
Having coverage for any trip is beneficial, but there are a few circumstances that warrant a comprehensive travel insurance plan:
- If you’re worried about contracting the coronavirus while travelling. A select number of insurance companies are now covering some claims related to COVID-19, so you may be covered for emergency medical expenses and trip interruption. Be sure to read your insurance policy carefully, and confirm with your specific provider before purchasing.
- If you’re spending a large amount on your holiday. It’s best to insure costly vacations (anything that costs upwards of USD $5,000, for example) for added peace of mind.
- If you’re travelling abroad. Having coverage for unforeseeable circumstances is paramount when you’re travelling outside your home country.
- If you booked with a credit card that doesn’t cover your trip. Purchasing a complete and thorough policy is beneficial if your credit card offers limited coverage.
Is travel insurance mandatory?
Travel insurance isn’t mandatory at this time, but some countries do require visitors to prove they have emergency medical travel insurance in order to gain entry.
Destinations such as Ecuador, Thailand, Turkey, and Cuba are a few examples of destinations that have mandated proof of travel insurance for visitors (though specific requirements vary by country).
Another circumstance where you’re likely required to have travel insurance? If you’re booking an adventure tour that involves remote, off-grid destinations or high-risk activities.
Look to travel insurance for added peace of mind
While policies can differ depending on the insurance provider, travel experts agree that having coverage for your next holiday is essential when travelling in the new tourism landscape.
As Chris Nielsen, the chief legal officer for AirHelp, stated in this Forbes article: “For travelers planning to fly internationally in the near future, purchasing travel insurance will be the new normal.”