Travel Insurance and the Coronavirus
The Geopolitics & Int’l Relations website GreatGameIndia.com has had the truth about the virus and Communist China since Jan 2020.
And, take a look at these recent Blog posts about how my plans cover Covid:
|Disclaimer: “No products are exactly alike. Refer to each plan’s details for the specifics.” If you haven’t read your travel insurance policy, read it.|
|You’ll only find information here about the plans we sell. Steve regularly updates this page and Blog. If you don’t see your plan, contact whoever sold it to you. Click here to find out what you can do with your policy if your trip’s affected by the Coronavirus.|
|If you want to cancel your trip because you are afraid to go or you don’t want to go for any reason, you must have a plan that includes the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage.|
|Read my Blog post Don’t Cancel Your Trip for Your Own Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured Right Now.|
This page includes specific information with Q & A’s
You need to know that Trip Cancellation policies have two categories of benefits (not limited to the Coronavirus):
- Pre-Departure – This covers the period of time starting at 12:01 am of the day after you buy the policy to when you leave on your trip. The Trip Cancellation benefit is the only coverage you could use prior to your Departure Date. Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) is a Pre-Departure benefit.
- Post-Departure – This covers the the period of time starting when you leave on your trip until your policy’s return date. Trip interruption, medical, medical transportation / evacuation, trip delay and every other other non-trip cancellation benefits are the only coverages you could use as early as your Departure Date.This is important: A travel insurance plan does not continue in force for for an unlimited period of time if your return date is extended past the date that is listed as your return date on your policy. They generally extend for a maximum of 7 – 10 days. Each policy is different so read your policy.
|The Coronavirus outbreak is now a known event and the coverages vary from company to company:
Q. I bought my Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 20, 2020. I’m going somewhere that the Coronavirus is. What are my options if I don’t want to go there, but my travel supplier isn’t cancelling the trip?
A. Does your policy include the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit? If so, make sure you cancel all your travel arrangements at least 48 hours before your departure date. And, check your policy for any other requirements.
A. If you don’t have the CFAR benefit, will you get back all the money you paid for your trip with no penalties or fees? If you can prove that you did not take a financial loss on your cancelled trip, you can change your travel dates to a new trip. Each company has its own procedures, so be sure to call us for advice at 1-888-407-3854.
Q. Why is Jan 21, 2020 the Cutoff Date for most policies to cover the Coronavirus?
A. Jan 21, 2020 is the date the first person was diagnosed with the Coronavirus in the USA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, it was Jan 21, 2020. You may see its Jan 30, 2020 News Release here.
Q. What is your Post-Departure coverage if you bought your Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 21, 2020?
A. All our travel insurance plans bought before Jan 21, 2020 provide Post-Departure coverage for anything related to the Coronavirus. You are still subject to the policy’s wording, so don’t make any assumptions about what exactly you are covered for.
Q. What is your Post-Departure coverage if you bought your Trip Cancellation policy after Jan 20, 2020?
A. All of our travel insurance plans bought after Jan 20, 2020 now cover the Coronavirus the same as any other illness.
- On Feb 5, 2020 MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon services are suspended in the following countries: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau.
Q. How can the Cancel For Any Reason cover me when others have said nothing will cover me?
A. I have not heard your conversations, but if you hear that CFAR doesn’t cover you changing your mind and deciding not to travel at least 48 hours before your departure date, then they are misinformed about how CFAR works.
Here’s how our Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) plans work:
- If you cancel your trip for a not-covered reason at least 48 hours before you leave you get 75% of your money back that you lose at the time you cancel.
- The Cancel For Any Reason coverage lets you cancel for a not-covered reason like being afraid to go somewhere.
- If you cancel your trip for a covered reason you get 100% of your money back that you lose at the time you cancel.
Q. Will my Trip Cancellation plan cover me due to the US State Dept Travel Advisories or the CDC’s warning(s)?
A. If you are going anywhere where you are fearful of the Coronavirus, concerned about getting the Coronavirus or simply want to cancel because of the US State Dept Travel Advisories or the CDC’s warning, here’s how it works:
- If you have a Trip Cancellation policy that includes the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you may cancel your trip. Make sure you cancel all your travel arrangements at least 48 hours before your departure date.
- If you do not have the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you will not be covered. This is because fear, worry, government regulations or prohibitions are excluded. Learn more about Travel Insurance Exclusions here.
Q. Why does the Pre-Departure Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit cover me?
A. The CFAR Pre-Departure benefit works for Trip Cancellation because it only covers what are not covered reasons to cancel a trip. For example, cancelling because of worry or fear of the Coronavirus is not a listed covered reason.
I know it sounds like a contradiction to say you are covered for Trip Cancellation if you have the CFAR. It’s not a contradiction because if you cancel because of worry or fear of the Coronavirus with the CFAR, you must cancel your entire trip at least 48 hours before your departure date for a reason that is normally not covered.
Remember: The CFAR only covers the Pre-Departure trip cancellation coverage if you are cancelling your trip at least 48 hours before your departure date. You are not covered for any Post-Departure benefits. Be sure your policy has the correct dates.
Q. What do I have to do to qualify for the Pre-Departure Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit?
A. All of these:
- You buy the policy by its deadline (typically within 14 – 21 days after your initial trip payment.
- You insure 100% of your expected prepaid non-refundable trip costs that are subject to penalties (i.e. – The money paid that you would lose if you got hit by a cement truck on the day you were leaving for your trip and had to cancel at the last minute). There will be no coverage available under the Cancel For Any Reason Benefit if you insure an amount less than your total prepaid trip costs that are non-refundable on your Departure Date.
- You are not disabled from travel at the time you pay your premium.
- You insure the entire length of your trip.
- You cancel your Trip at least forty-eight hours prior to Your Scheduled Departure Date shown on your policy.
Q. Will my Trip Cancellation plan cover me if my travel supplier cancels the trip or changes the itinerary?
A. If you have airfare you bought on your own, many, but not all, plans will reimburse you the
- If your travel supplier cancels the trip, they are obligated to give you a refund. In addition, many airlines are waiving the ticket change fees, so you potentially will not lose any money.
- It’s common that if your travel supplier cancels the trip, they will offer you a different future trip, often for no extra cost. I have seen that the trips tend to be more expensive ones, without costing you more money.
- If you can prove that you did not take a financial loss on your cancelled trip, you can change your travel dates to a new trip. Each company has its own procedures, so be sure to call us for advice at 1-888-407-3854.
Q. Will my Trip Cancellation plan cover me if I myself, or a traveling companion is denied boarding due to a suspicion of being ill, whether or not I / they have the coronavirus?
A. No. If you or a traveling companion is ill before a trip, make sure you go to the doctor prior to your trip to find out if you are able to travel. Cancel your trip if your doctor tells you that you cannot travel. Being denied boarding due to a suspicion of being ill is not the same as having a doctor prior to your trip to find out if you are able to travel.
In addition, having the CFAR won’t help you in this situation, either. CFAR requires you to cancel your trip at least 48 hours before your departure date.
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.
Q. What are the Cruise Lines saying?
Q. What happens to my airfare I bought on my own if my travel supplier cancels the trip or changes the itinerary?
A. If you have airfare you bought on your own, many, but not all, plans will reimburse you the a benefit will be paid for the reissue fee charged by the airline for the tickets. You must have covered the entire cost of Your Trip including the airfare cost.
A. If you have airfare you bought with Frequent Flyer Miles, Credit Card Rewards and Other Travel Awards, this is a complicated answer, so, click here to see all the details.
Q. What if I have the Coronavirus today, but want to take a trip anyway?
- You have the Coronavirus today, don’t book it. Travel insurance won’t cover you because you are not fit to travel today.
- You are planning a trip and want to buy travel insurance. You will be not be covered for Trip Cancellation for the Coronavirus unless you get a Trip Cancellation plan with Cancel For Any Reason coverage.
Q. I have an autoimmune disorder. I am going to a destination where someone has already been diagnosed with the Coronavirus. My doctor is telling me that I should not go there because the risk to my health is too great. Will I be covered if I cancel my trip?
A. The answer depends on if your policy includes the CFAR benefit:
- If your policy includes the CFAR benefit, you may cancel your trip at least 48 hours before your departure date and be reimbursed according to the policy’s coverage.
- If your policy does not include the CFAR benefit, cancelling because your doctor doesn’t want you go to the destination is not covered.
- This might come into play: If you are ill or injured right now and you saw your doctor in person and he/she told you you had to cancel, you would be covered.
- Don’t Cancel for Your Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured:
- This is important: Don’t take this advice to mean that I am telling you to deliberately get ill or injured. I am not saying that.
Q. I have medical conditions that could worsen on my trip if I was exposed to the Coronavirus. The medical conditions are all stable now, and I am fine to travel, but my doctor is willing to write a note saying I should not travel. Will I be covered if I cancel my trip? I don’t have the Cancel for Any Reason.
A. No, you will not be covered if you cancel your trip. Cancelling a trip for something that has not yet happened, but potentially could happen is not a covered reason.
Read this: Don’t Cancel for Your Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured:
Q. An insurance company told me “We have no pandemic / epidemic exclusion in our policy”. Does this mean that cancelling or cutting my trip short because there is a pandemic / epidemic happening where I am going is covered?
A. No, that does not mean you are covered for that risk. You might be, but the only way to know is to look in the policy for the Trip Cancellation covered reasons. If cancelling for a pandemic / epidemic is not listed you are not covered.
Depending on when you bought your policy (before or after Jan 21, 2020), the benefits you may be excluded from are: medical, medical transportation / evacuation, trip delay and possibly a few others. But, it’s very important to find out what the cutoff date that company is using.
Q. I feel like the insurance companies are abandoning us and rewriting the rules after the fact.
A. There is no change in the coverages. Cancelling for fear / worry has never been covered by any trip cancellation policy. Cancelling because of government rules or regulations has also has never been covered by any policy.
I wrote this on March 19, 2020 and I suggest you read it because it contains a lot of detailed information you need to know:
Q. Will a trip cancellation policy, that is past the Free Look Period, be refunded in cash if their supplier cancels their trip due to the Coronavirus?
A. Each company is different. In all cases, the travelers will have to receive a 100% refund of all their prepaid trip costs. The travelers will have to provide proof they received a 100% refund and not any credit. Here’s what our companies have said:
CSA, Generali, IMG iTI, Travelex, Travel Insured, TravelSafe and TripAssure all require the following:
- The cancellation documentation proving that all payments made for the travel arrangements were refunded in full in cash.
- There cannot be any credits or vouchers given instead of refunds in cash.
- If the travel supplier issues a cancellation letter, include that as well.
The insured traveler(s) would be eligible for a voucher for the amount of the insurance premium they paid to use on another trip as long as no penalties were involved.
The voucher is valid for two years and can be used for the purchase of any Travel Guard policy. It is also transferable.
If you want our help, we will assist you in getting your refund. Call us at 1-888-407-3854. Or email us here.
Q. If my employer enacts business travel restrictions, may I cancel under the terms of Cancel for Business / Work Reasons in the policy?
A growing number of companies across industries have implemented travel restrictions, avoiding events and conferences as fears over the spreading outbreak escalate. Companies are halting domestic and foreign travel, while some are asking employees to cancel personal trips.
A. No, business travel restrictions are not the same as your employer cancelling your previously approved time off because you are required to work.
If a business imposes a restriction of business travel due to the coronavirus, an insured traveler is not eligible for Trip Cancellation or Interruption coverage under the terms of the Cancel for Business / Work Reason provision in a policy.
The only way you will be covered is if your employer cancels your previously approved time off because you are required to work. A written statement by an unrelated company official and / or the human resources department demonstrating revocation of previously approved time off will be required.
I was around for the SARS epidemic and I was interviewed by the International Herald Tribune:
From The April 4, 2003 International Herald Tribune: Click here to read the entire article
Travelers worried about contracting SARS on the road may want to check their insurance. Steve Dasseos, who owns the online travel insurance company TripInsuranceStore.com, advises people to find out whether the illness would be covered under the medical portion of their policy, and also to familiarize themselves with exclusions, which can be numerous.
“To avoid any unpleasant surprises, people should definitely find out exactly what coverage the company they are considering will have for SARS,” Dasseos said.
PPS - Even though TripInsuranceStore.com is the world's most informative travel insurance website, you are still responsible to know the coverage terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions of your plan. No comments or explanations confirm or deny coverage. You need to refer to each plan's policy wording.
PPPS - The Trip Cancellation coverage begins at 12:01 a.m. on the day after the date the policy is purchased. All other coverages begin when you leave home for your trip when your departure date is in the future.
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