Travel Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Don’t assume your travel insurance provider will cover COVID-related claims. Here’s what you need to know before you purchase travel insurance.

If you plan on traveling anytime soon, it’s best to purchase travel insurance to not only cover trip cancellation and delays but also in case you become ill. However, not all insurance providers will cover you if you happen to contract COVID-19. Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, insurance providers may view this as a foreseen event and it may not be covered. In other words, the company could say that you should have known about the potential risks but still chose to travel, so the cost of travel and its consequences are on you. We recommend checking with your insurance provider about the “known” or “foreseeable” status dates of the coronavirus outbreak and how this might affect your specific coverage.

Some insurance providers (such as World Nomads) do not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by US residents, which means that you may make claims arising from COVID-19 for the benefits specified in your policy. These benefits include emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for you personally or a travel companion who contracts COVID-19 or goes under quarantine while traveling. They also include travel delay coverage should your scheduled transportation be set back for at least six hours for a border crossing or travel ban that has been announced during your trip. With World Nomads, things you may get reimbursed for include doctors’ visits and hospital stays, and certain pre-paid travel arrangements that get disrupted as a result of COVID-19. If you unexpectedly catch COVID-19 at home before you leave for your trip, you may also be eligible for trip cancellation coverage, which represents compensation for any pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and excursions. To see all of World Nomad’s Coronavirus-related FAQ’s, please visit their website.

It’s important to note that trips made to countries with a COVID-19 travel ban are excluded from coverage, even with World Nomads, so it’s important to be aware of any travel restrictions associated with your intended destination. The State Department advises all US citizens to review country-specific travel advisories and to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the latest news regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

covid-19 travel

What IS Covered by Travel Insurance Policies

Below is a list of reasons for World Nomads Travel Insurance to kick in:

  • Terrorist Attacks
  • Assault
  • Death Oversees
  • Delayed Baggage
  • Gear and Baggage Coverage
  • Overseas Dental
  • Overseas Medical
  • Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Domestic Travel Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation
  • Digital Nomads health insurance

What is NOT Covered by Travel Insurance Policies

  • Countries with Level 4 Travel Advisories: Most insurers disclose that if a Level 4 Do Not Travel advisory is issued by the US Department of State for a specific country, you will not receive COVID-19 related coverage. With cases surging unexpectedly, this list of countries is constantly changing. Before booking a trip, be sure to check the country’s travel advisory.
  • Fear of getting sick while traveling: Canceling a trip because you’re afraid of getting sick does not qualify for COVID-19 related coverage. Travel insurance providers have a list of standard reasons that qualify for cancellation. If you want to be able to cancel for any reason, you’ll need to confirm with your provider that they offer a CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) supplemental upgrade (Note: World Nomads does not offer this option).
  • COVID-related events not directly related to you: If you are planning to attend a conference or a family reunion that gets canceled due to COVID, your travel insurer will not reimburse you for your flight or hotel accommodations, however, most airlines are now offering waivers.

Airlines Offering Waivers

Since March 2020, the majority of US and international airlines have been offering waived change and cancellation fees for travel. In August, UnitedDelta, and American Airlines announced they will eliminate change fees for all domestic flights and offer extended flexibility for standby flights. For international flights, the COVID-19 waived change/cancellation policies will apply as long as the flights are within specified travel dates. If you purchased a flight outside of these dates, you might not be covered, so be sure to contact the airline and ask an agent. You would definitely want to be sure your travel insurance covers trip cancellation/delays in this case.

Other airlines Coronavirus Waivers and Policies:

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