Many travelers are finding out that their travel insurance policy does not cover delays or cancellations related to coronavirus.
Only those who purchased insurance before the “cut off” date set by their insurer have coverage assuming that the policy covers epidemics and pandemics. Although the cut off date varies across insurers, it is around late January. That’s when the coronavirus outbreak started spreading. This applies to third party policies purchased from insurers and the coverage that comes with your credit card.
Trip insurance provides coverage for unforeseen events. Coronavirus has been around several weeks now and is considered a foreseen event and is excluded from coverage. Note that many standard policies exclude pandemics and epidemics in any case. Other policies have language that limits claims for epidemics.
If you are booking a trip now, what are your options?
Even if a standard travel insurance policy won’t cover coronavirus, you have other options. The “Cancel for Any Reason” policy allows you to cancel, as the name implies, for any reason. These policies have to be purchased within 14 to 21 days from the date of the first payment for the trip.
Cancel For Any Reason policies cost about 40% more than a standard travel insurance policy. It covers 75% of the cost of the trip. It typically costs about 12% of the cost of your trip. These policies require you to cancel your trip at least two days before your departure date.
What are your options if you have a trip booked already?
Most airlines are now allowing passengers to cancel or change their tickets for any reason without fees. Call your airlines and see if this an option for you.
Additionally, if you had purchased travel insurance and had to cancel a trip, file a claim as insurers look at some claims on a case by case basis. You want to be sure to get a refund for portions of the travel that are covered by the policy.
Canceling your vacation and staying home is not fun. Given the global nature and complexity of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s not a bad decision to spend time at home.
But there are places you can fly for cheap at this time for those who are willing to take a risk.
If you purchased travel insurance after the cut off date (late January time frame), you will not be covered for any coronavirus related delays and cancellations. Consider getting a Cancel For Any Reason policy if you are planning your trip now. Though these policies are 40% more expensive than a standard policy and will provide 75% coverage of your trip costs.