What You Should Do If You Have a Trip Booked Now

by Steve Dasseos on March 11, 2020

If you have not yet read these three pages, I suggest you do so because they contain important information that could save you from making a costly mistake:

The Coronavirus is disrupting travel partly due to the fear, worry and concern swirling around about the Coronavirus.

Go here to see what our travel insurance companies are doing if your trip is affected by the Coronavirus.

What You Should Do If You Have a Trip Booked Now and Are Worried About the Coronavirus? and What Are Your Options If You Do Not Want to Take Your Trip?

  • If you have travel insurance which includes the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you may cancel your trip and claim under the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. A CFAR will reimburse you, in cash, a maximum of 75% of your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs including airfare.
  • If you have travel insurance which does not include the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you cannot cancel your trip because of fear / worry / governmental restrictions including CDC warnings. If you voluntarily cancel your trip, you may get a future travel credit. In addition, your airline may waive its change fee, but you may not be able to use your airline ticket before it expires.
    –>Being proactive and cancelling before your supplier(s) cancel on you may seem like the wise choice, but you are potentially giving up your chance to change the dates on your policy to a new trip. I will explain this in more detail below.*
  • If you do not have travel insurance, and your Initial Trip Deposit Date was more than 21 days in the past, you cannot get a plan that includes the Cancel For Any Reason coverage. If this is the case, there are many other good reasons to get a Trip Cancellation Insurance plan.
  • If you have travel insurance, you may be thinking “I will cancel my trip because of a medical condition.” This can be your own medical condition, that of a traveling companion or of a close family member. There are some pitfalls:
    • If the reason is due to a Pre-Existing Medical Condition, does your travel insurance cover Pre-Existing Medical Conditions? If you haven’t read your policy, read it now.
    • If you are in the CDC’s high risk list, you may want to cancel.
    • Just having a medical condition or being in the CDC’s high risk list is not a covered reason to cancel your trip. This is why I wrote Don’t Cancel for Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured on March 6, 2020.
    • To cancel for a medical condition you must be currently ill or injured and your doctor must see you in person and tell you that you cannot travel because your current illness or injury is so disabling that you cannot travel. Your claim will have to be substantiated with medical records. Insurance companies are targets of fraudulent claims.

      Q. What happens if someone can’t see a doctor in person due to a State lockdown, but only by a phone consultation?

      A. The backup documentation will likely indicate what an insurance companies would need in order to consider the claim. Insurance companies collect this documentation as completed by a Physician. I can’t say for sure but I can only presume this would be acceptable. More than a few procedures are changing and will continue to change to reflect the reality of this severe situation.

    • TripInsuranceStore.com is seeing a rise in the number of people who are looking to cancel for a medical reason. And, their doctors are unknowingly participating in this potential fraud because they are unaware of how a Trip Cancellation Insurance plan works.

* Why being proactive and cancelling before your supplier(s) cancel on you may not be in your best interest:
Because of the Coronavirus, some travel suppliers are allowing the traveler(s) to voluntarily cancel their trip up to just a few days before their scheduled departure date. The travel supplier issues a future travel credit that is good for a period of time. The credit likely isn’t transferable. And, depending on the wording from the travel supplier the credit may not be insurable.

What happens if I wait for the travel supplier to cancel? What if they don’t cancel? Insurance isn’t going to cover me so wouldn’t a future credit be better than nothing?

If your travel insurance is not going to cover you, then you need to decide if you will take the offer now or hold out for a potentially better offer later if your travel supplier(s) does cancel your trip. I agree that a future credit is better than nothing. You might not be able to transfer the cost you paid for your travel insurance policy, though this could change in the future.

Here two problems you may encounter if you are voluntarily cancelling your trip:

  • You may be giving up your chance to change the dates on your travel insurance policy. If you want to change your travel dates, your policy’s dates must be changed prior to the first trip’s original departure date. This means you to have the new trip booked prior to the original departure. It can be in the future past your trip’s original departure date.
  • If your travel supplier cancels your trip, you will likely have more options. You may get a full refund in cash for your trip. You may also get a bonus if you book another trip with the same supplier. You may also get a very good deal on another itinerary. It makes a difference who cancels the trip. Some travel suppliers are paying the cost of have the airfare fees, though there’s a possibility of you not being able to use the ticket before it expires.

Before You Do Anything with Your Trip:

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself this question: “If the Coronavirus wasn’t happening, would I cancel my trip today?” If the answer is “No”, then don’t cancel your trip today because it’s unlikely you will be able to prove it is a covered claim.

These Tips Don’t Require You to Have Travel Insurance:

  • If you booked your cruise, tour or independent travel you need to find out if you are in a penalty period should you decide to cancel it. If you are outside of any penalties, you might consider cancelling your trip and waiting to book a new trip until everything settles down.
  • If you have already are in some or all of the penalty periods, you need to find out if any of your travel suppliers are making any itinerary changes. If you booked with a travel agent, you should contact your agent, too.

I hope all this made sense. If not, let me know.

If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com. If we don’t answer the phones live, we have caller ID and will get back to you as soon as possible including responding to emails.

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

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