Updated July 7, 2020
Travel is slowly starting again after months of shut downs, but it’s off to a slow start. But those planning a trip want coronavirus travel insurance to protect various risks for their trip.
One big problem travelers face is the possibility of a new outbreak that would de-rail their future travel plans.
In fact, there are many coronavirus-related problems that could cause you to cancel any trip you book now. Fear of getting sick, actually getting sick, being in quarantine, and medical emergencies are all concerns travelers have.
- How can coronavirus (covid 19) cause problems for travelers?
- How does travel insurance cover coronavirus?
- Features to look for
- Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation plans with coronavirus coverage
- *Travel Medical Insurance: Medical and evacuation plans with named coronavirus coverage
- How to buy comprehensive plans
How can coronavirus (covid 19) cause problems for travelers?
This might seem obvious, but let’s look at the ways your trip could be impacted by coronavirus/covid-19.
A second outbreak wave makes you too nervous to travel– The global situation seems to be getting better from a data standpoint. But what happens if we get another spike in cases in the Fall like many think we will? It seems OK to book a trip now, but what if things get really bad again?
You get coronavirus and are unable to travel– Even though numbers are getting better, the virus is definitely spreading in our communities. If you were to get sick from coronavirus, you wouldn’t want to travel and in many situations you would not be allowed to travel.
You are quarantined because of coronavirus– Much of the globe has been in some level of quarantine, and it could happen again. If you book a trip for the Winter, and another wave hits and we are quarantined again…your trip is cancelled.
You get coronavirus while traveling and need medical care– Even if you feel comfortable traveling, and you stay healthy and are to travel…you could get sick while on your trip. As I said above, the virus is still in our communities and people are getting sick. If that happens away from home, you would want to have medical care and be able to pay for it.
You get coronavirus while traveling and need to be transported home– If you are on a trip, get sick with coronavirus, and then need to be medically transported home, that cost could easily be $50,000+. This would add a huge financial crisis to a medical crisis.
How does travel insurance cover coronavirus?
To start, here are 3 important things to know about how travel insurance covers coronavirus in general:
- Many policies specifically exclude “losses resulting directly or indirectly from an epidemic”. This would include coronavirus, any loss that is directly or indirectly resulting from coronavirus is not covered.
- Travel insurance, like all insurance, can only cover things that are unexpected and unforeseen. Once coronavirus became a “known event”, it became much more difficult for insurance to cover claims related to it. Most travel insurance companies considered this a “known event” starting late Jan. 2020.
- Trip cancellation coverage has a long list of “Covered Reasons” for cancellation, but fear of getting sick is not one of them. Standard travel insurance would not cover canceled trips because you are worried about getting coronavirus
Cancelling due to coronavirus fears
As said above in #3, cancelling a trip because you are afraid of getting sick is not covered by standard travel insurance.
But, you can cover cancelling out of fear is you buy a policy with the optional Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade.
A plan with CFAR coverage lets you call off your trip for any reason of your choosing, up to 48 hours before departure, and get reimbursed for up to 75% of your insured trip cost.
Note: If you are worried about cancelling because you are worried about getting sick with coronavirus…CFAR is your only option.
Here’s how Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) works:
- The purchase of CFAR coverage is time sensitive. You need to buy insurance within 14 days of the date when you made any first payment towards your trip.
- You need to insure 100% of your trip cost.
- Cancellation needs to be at least 48 hours before departure
- You can cancel for any reason and get up to 75% of your trip cost repaid to you.
After the virus started spreading, travel insurance companies had a huge influx of customers looking to buy this coverage. It even got to the point where several companies had to stop selling CFAR because it didn’t make sense economically.
However, there are still several companies that are selling travel insurance with CFAR coverage (see below).
Cancelling if you get sick with coronavirus
Under standard travel insurance plans, a covered reason for cancellation is if you, a family member, or a traveling companion become ill and you cannot travel. The illness needs to be serious enough that a doctor recommends you not travel, and the doctor need to verify that.
But, some plans are not covering this because of #1 above: there is a specific exclusion for epidemic, so any loss related to that would not be covered.
However, some plans still provide coverage if you get sick with coronavirus and need to cancel your trip (see below for which ones).
Note: for this coverage, the reimbursement is for 100% of the trip cost (the 75% only applies to CFAR)
Cancelling if you are quarantined
Under standard travel insurance plans, many companies will list being under quarantine as a covered reason for cancellation.
Similar to “getting sick” above, this could be negated if the policy has the epidemic exclusion, but there are still several plans offering this coverage (see below).
Needing emergency medical care or evacuation if you get coronavirus while traveling
Standard travel insurance covers medical emergencies, which is especially important when you are abroad where your insurance from home might not cover you.
This includes things like slip and falls, food poisoning, heart attacks, and even dental emergencies in many cases. Travel insurance would help you find care and arrange payment.
If you were to get sick with coronavirus while traveling, you might need medical care…or in an extreme case need to be medically transported back to your home country.
Travel insurance would cover these costs, as long as they don’t have the epidemic exclusion.
Many plans still cover this, see below for which ones.
Features to look for
If you are reading this page, you are looking for travel insurance but have concerns about coronavirus-related issues.
Travel insurance for coronavirus needs the following:
- No exclusion for epidemic
- Covers cancellations if you get sick with coronavirus
- Covers cancellations if you’re in quarantine
- Covers medical expenses if you get coronavirus while traveling
- Covers evacuation expenses if needed
- * Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage to cover coronavirus fears
*This is optional and is for people worried about the unknown future of the virus. My recommendation is to buy CFAR.
The companies and policies that meet the above criteria do so in their policy documents. They do not have exclusions for epidemic, and they have no policy language that eliminates coverage for the other areas.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Trip cancellation plans with coronavirus coverage
The following companies meet the above criteria in various ways. Not every criteria is met by every company, but they all have some sort of coverage for coronavirus concerns.
- Berkshire Hathaway*
- Cat 70
- John Hancock
- Seven Corners
- Travel Insurance Services
*Travelex & Berkshire do not have a CFAR option
It is a lot of work to visit each of these company websites to get a quote and buy, so next I will show you how to do it the easy way.
*Travel Medical Insurance: Medical and evacuation plans with named coronavirus coverage
The plans listed above can cover coronavirus in one way or another.
However, with an insurance plan often you will be “covered” by “not being excluded”. In this case you are relying on sorting through the small print to prove your case.
A better option is a plan that specifically names Covid-19 as being covered. This makes it totally clear because it is spelled out right in the policy.
Seven Corners is a travel medical insurance company that has developed some plans that have this coverage.
Here is a screenshot of their policy:
As you can see, they specifically list covid-19 treatment as a coverage. Here are the plans from Seven Corners that cover this:
|Policy Name||Who it is for||Get Quote|
|Liaison Travel Plus Travel Medical||This is a travel medical and evacuation plan, so it does not have coverage for cancellations.|
This is good for travelers going abroad who want coverage if they get Covid-19. (Note: some countries will start requiring proof of medical insurance, this would be the right plan for that.
|Get a quote here|
|Liaison Student Plus||This is a student-focused travel medical plan for those studying abroad. Schools will likely require this as well.||Get a quote here|
|Wander Frequent Traveler Plus||This is an annual travel medical plan for people who take several trips throughout the year.||Get a quote here|
How to buy comprehensive plans
The easiest way to get quotes for the companies above, read more about the coverage, compare prices, and purchase online is it use a comparison engine.
Here are the steps:
- Click this link to visit the comparison tool.
- Enter your trip information
- On the results screen, select the Coronavirus Pandemic filter on the left sidebar (see screenshot below)
- If you want Cancel For Any Reason coverage, there is a filter for that too on the left side
- You will then see just the plans with some sort of coronavirus coverage
- To read the specific coronavirus coverage, click the orange Buy Now button and a popup window will appear with details. You can exit the screen and look at other policies
- When you select a plan, click Buy Now to complete enrolling online