faq: travel insurance and covid-19
What does travel insurance cover?
There are several types of travel insurance categories, including:
- trip cancellation. reimburses prepaid travel expenses if you are unable to make your trip for a reason covered by your policy. it is usually included in all comprehensive policies. Generally, you will receive a refund if your trip is canceled due to: Unexpected illness or injury to you or a fellow traveler who deems you unfit to travel; hospitalization or death of a family member who is not traveling; weather or public transportation problems; unforeseen natural disaster in the country of origin or destination; a legal obligation such as being called for jury duty or serving as a witness in court.
- senior medical and medical travel. provides protection if you get sick or injured while traveling. travel medical insurance provides short-term medical coverage.
- emergency medical evacuation. provides coverage for services such as air evacuation and medical transportation to the nearest appropriate medical facility and then home, if warranted. This type of coverage is useful if you are traveling to a rural area without easy access to medical facilities. In the event that a person dies during the trip, the repatriation coverage will cover the insurer taking care of the necessary transportation.
- accidental death and dismemberment. provides coverage to beneficiaries if you die in an accident while traveling or pays you a lump sum if you lose a hand, foot, limb or sight in an accident. some plans only apply to an accident that occurs on an aircraft.
- baggage loss. reimburses for lost luggage or personal items.
- cancel for any reason (cfar) policies. These policies are more expensive and typically only reimburse you for a percentage of your travel costs. the reason for the cancellation is not relevant. there is usually a period of time when cancellations are allowed and you must secure all your expenses prepaid and non-refundable. cfar policies are usually added as an additional option on top of trip cancellation coverage.
- if covid-19 was “foreseeable” when the policy was issued. Many insurers have declared a date from which they consider covid-19 to have become “foreseeable”.
- when covid-19 was declared a pandemic. the policy may contain a pandemic exclusion. I am concerned about covid-19, will my travel insurance cover me if I cancel my trip?Standard travel insurance (trip cancellation/trip interruption) does not provide coverage if you decide to cancel your trip because of covid-19 fears or concerns.
Does travel insurance cover covid-19?
It is likely that most standard travel insurance policies will not provide coverage for trip cancellation or interruption in relation to covid-19. If you have a travel insurance policy for an upcoming trip, coverage for covid-19 will likely depend on two key issues.
What happens if I have covid-19 before my trip? Does travel insurance cover me?
If you do get covid-19 and need to cancel your trip, you’ll likely be covered if you have a standard travel insurance policy. One of the most common covered events under trip cancellation/interruption policies is illness, injury, or death of the traveler, a traveling companion, or a non-traveling family member. You may need to provide documentation from your medical provider.
What happens if I get covid-19 while I’m traveling?
A travel insurance policy may include medical coverage for emergencies and evacuations. You will need to check your travel insurance policy to see if these coverages are provided. As with trip cancellation/interruption coverage, the claim may not be covered if it was a “foreseeable” risk. exclusions may also apply.
What happens if I miss my flight because there are long lines at the airport that are delayed due to covid-19?
Travel insurance policies usually don’t cover you because you missed your flight due to extra checks at the airport.
What happens if I cancel my trip, do I get a refund of my travel insurance premium?
some policies offer a refund of the travel insurance premium. the offer may be for a partial refund and may be offered for a limited period after you purchase the policy. you should read your policy for specific terms.
If I go on a trip, can I buy travel insurance to cover covid-19?
If you buy a standard travel insurance policy today, it likely won’t provide covid-19 trip cancellation or interruption coverage.
You may be able to purchase “cancel for any reason” protection in conjunction with or as an alternative to a standard travel insurance policy. this protection would cover the cancellation or interruption of a trip for any reason not covered by the policy, including fears or concerns related to covid-19.
What is “cancel for any reason” (cfar) protection?
cfar protection can be offered with or as an alternative to a travel insurance policy. As the name implies, a CFA benefit generally applies to a trip cancellation for any reason. A cfar benefit may apply if you decide to cancel your trip because of covid-19 concerns. You will need to read the specific terms of the cfar benefit before you buy because some policies may contain a specific exclusion, such as for pandemics or covid-19.
cfar benefits typically cost more than a travel insurance policy and may be more expensive now than before the covid-19 outbreak. make sure you know how much cfar will reimburse you for the cost of your trip before you buy the benefit.
What happens if my flight is cancelled?
If you have a plane ticket and your flight is cancelled, you have rights, whether or not you have a travel insurance policy.
For example, if your flight is canceled and you do not wish to rebook your flight, you may be entitled to a refund of the unused portion of your ticket based on your “contract of carriage” with the airline.
Does the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency affect my travel insurance policy?
no, the governor’s statement does not change the terms of your travel insurance policy.
Can the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance help me if the insurance company or travel agent won’t?
If you have a general question or want to file a complaint, you can get help online at www.insurance.pa.gov or you can contact us at (877)881-6388.