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Coronavirus 2019-nCoV, which recently originated in China, has sparked global fears of an epidemic. While coronavirus is common and frequently causes only minor illness, this new coronavirus has already killed more than fifty people (as of the date of this article). The recent coronavirus outbreak could affect a traveler’s trip in a myriad of ways. Read on to understand how to ensure that you are covered with regards to coronavirus and travel insurance.
Is it Possible to Claim for a Trip Cancelled in Fear of the Coronavirus?
For travelers who have booked a trip to China (or other destinations in Asia) and simply no longer wish to travel due to fears about the outbreak, unfortunately, a standard trip cancellation policy will not provide reimbursement. Being worried about traveling to a destination is not a covered reason under standard trip cancellation insurance. A policy with an added optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade will provide this coverage, however, a Cancel For Any Reason upgrade isn’t available under all policies and it usually increases the premium by approximately 40%.
If you wish to purchase Cancel For Any Reason coverage, the insurance policy must be purchased within a set amount of days (usually 21 days or less, depending on the plan) after making the first payment for the trip, and the entire pre-paid and non-refundable cost of the trip must be insured. The trip must also be cancelled more than 48 hours prior to the departure date, and as much as 50-75% of the trip can be reimbursed with this benefit, depending on the plan.
Is Trip Protection Available Should Sickness Occur While Traveling?
If an unforeseen sickness arises while traveling and trip interruption coverage is included in the insurance policy then yes, the policyholder will generally be covered if they return home early due to the sickness.
Sickness or injury to either the policyholder, a family member, or other travel companion is the most common covered reason for trip interruption, and in such cases as much as 150% of unused prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses can be reimbursed, including accommodation, flights, excursions and tours. This benefit covers more than 100% of the trip cost because travelers typically accrue additional expenses for their last-minute bookings to return home.
Those looking to take advantage of trip interruption coverage will need to provide medical records obtained from a legally licensed physician, along with receipts that prove any losses.
Is Trip Protection Available Should Sickness Occur Prior to Traveling?
For policies that include trip cancellation coverage, policyholders can claim for cancellation of their trip should they cancel due to the insured, a family member, or a travel companion becoming seriously ill prior to leaving.
Like trip interruption coverage, sickness or injury to a traveler, a family member, or their travel companion is the most common reason for trip cancellation coverage. For most policies, as much as 100% of the prepaid and non-refundable trip expenses can be reimbursed, including accommodation, flights, excursions and tours, and again, medical records and receipts will also have to be supplied during the claims process.
Are Unforeseen Global Events Covered by Travel Insurance Policies?
It is possible for an insurance policy to cover trip cancellation in the event of extreme weather, natural disasters, terrorism or other such events, including a strike with a travel supplier. The covered reasons for trip cancellation vary by plan, so it is important to read those details prior to purchase.*
Is it Possible to Cancel a Trip Due to a CDC Alert?
Typically, travel insurance policies do not cover CDC alerts as a covered reason for trip cancellation. One way to cover a CDC alert is to purchase a Cancel For Any Reason upgrade for your travel insurance policy.
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*Please note, terms and conditions can differ between providers and plans. Travel insurance plans can have general exclusions from coverage for losses due to a known or foreseeable event, due to an epidemic or pandemic, or due to government prohibitions. Please refer to your policy’s Description of Coverage or contact your travel insurance provider with any questions.