With the rise of COVID-19, there has been an overwhelming amount of confusion about travel insurance. Here I would like to cover some important aspects of travel insurance in general (many things have NOT changed) as well as with COVID-19. Jumping back to early 2020, at the start of the virus, the travel insurance industry was quite unprepared to deal with the many aspects of COVID-19 as it affected travelers’ trip plans. But as the year progressed in the pandemic, the insurance industry quickly made some adjustments. Let’s highlight some key aspects about trip insurance that still hold true and where COVID-19 fits in.
1.What are the two most important reasons for buying Travel Insurance?
First, you want to be covered for cancellation, the most common is due to personal medical illness or that of spouse/ family member. So, if you, your spouse, or close family member becomes ill (a covered reason), then you can get a full refund for your trip expenses should you have to cancel before a trip. Today, people book trips up to one to two years in advance and no one can predict what might happen during the lead-up to the trip. While most trip suppliers will provide some refund up to certain amount of time, trip insurance is there to cover all exigencies. Here, for example, is the most important new aspect for COVID-19: It is considered a “covered” reason should you happen to get COVID-19 and cannot travel as planned.
The second important reason for purchasing Travel Insurance is that the insurance also covers your Medical while traveling (you get sick or have an accident). While most of us have some sort of medical insurance here in the U.S., these insurances rarely cover you outside of U.S. (must check your policy for details). Here again, COVID-19 would be covered if you get sick with it while traveling.
2. What is another key reason people purchase Trip Insurance?
That reason pertains to Trip Interruption or Trip Delay. For example, if you are on your trip and contract COVID-19, it is being treated the same as any other illness. If you end up in a hospital and/or in quarantine (in a hospital, hotel, Airbnb) and can’t continue further on the trip, then there is a loss of trip costs which could be reimbursed. Of course, a Doctor would have to order quarantine.
3. What are pre-existing conditions?
These refer to any medical condition you have at time of purchase. If you purchase the insurance within a certain time frame after making your initial deposit, you will be covered for pre-existing medical conditions (COVID-19 is not a pre-existing condition). Example: If you have high blood pressure and take medicine, that is a pre-existing condition and is covered if you purchase your policy within the defined time frame. But if you broke your arm (not a pre-existing condition), that would be covered, even if you did not meet the purchase deadline.
4. What is “cancel for any reason” trip insurance (CFAR)?
This is becoming more popular and means what it says (you want to cancel due to your dog’s illness!). CFAR in most cases does not automatically give you a full cash refund, instead it is usually a partial refund or more frequently a Voucher for a future trip. You must check details carefully before you purchase.
Travel Insurance is an important element of travel. The more you know, the better able you are to make a good decision. Now is the time to think of a great new trip! And when you do, please consider trip insurance.
Linda Stack owns Travelinda, LLC. Email her at LLStack9597@gmail.com.