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Travel and Coronavirus – What You Need to Know About Your Insurance Options

By Sue Rudolph February 22, 2020 Travel

With the outbreak of Coronavirus, you might be worried about your travel plans. This article’s intention is to offer some insight to assist you with the decisions you may need to make and the choices that you have available as well as travel insurance considerations.

Are You Insured to Cancel Your Trip?

You’re unlikely to be insured for cancelation due to something as trivial as worry unless you have purchased a policy that allows you to cancel for any reason (CFAR).

If your policy includes CFAR, know that you will still only be able to claim a percentage of your costs – the coverage will be stated within your policy documentation.

Most policies exclude coverage or cancelation for epidemics or pandemics, but they may cover non-medical evacuation should governmental organizations call for it. To find out exactly what you are and are not covered for, you need to read the fine print in your policy.

Your operator, airline, or hotel, rather than your insurance company, may offer some alternatives to destinations or may allow you to re-schedule, but there may be a cost for you to do this. At the moment, in the case of those China-centric bookings, you may find a more flexible attitude.

Travel operators don’t want to lose money, so they are more likely to alter the itinerary under current health guidelines and ensure that adequate health precautions and controls are being undertaken.

If the itinerary is changed to avoid effected areas and complies with guidelines, then, in their eyes, there is no reason to cancel.

Neither operators nor insurance companies will offer you financial recompense because you no longer want to travel. This policy sounds harsh if you are fearful, but if operators started to offer refunds because travelers changed their minds, they wouldn’t be in business for long.

Should You Travel?

If you’re left with the choice of traveling or losing your money, you might feel uncomfortable, but I would advise you to take some time and find out the real risks.

A new virus is a great story and one that the media love. Sensational quarantine stories and charting the spread of the virus all make great headlines, but it’s only the facts that are going to allow you to make an informed decision.

The WHO (World Health Organization), the CDC (Centre for Disease Control), and your government’s travel bulletin are the sources you should seek to get clear, factual, up-to-date advice.

Apart from travel to China, no travel restrictions have been advised, and it’s important to remember that this virus is less deadly than the flu. It’s newsworthy because it’s new.

Therefore, common sense and normal hygiene protocols apply: wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and cough or sneeze into your elbow to avoid contaminating your hands.

Travel Planning

If you are at the stage of planning your next trip, then it’s evident that travel to China is not advisable. If you’re considering a tour or cruise that includes China, you’ll notice that operators have already made changes; find out what these are before discounting it as an option.

As for travel to other parts of Asia, gateways are being strictly monitored and current travel advice is not precluding travel. Precautions are in place to restrict the spread of the virus, but ultimately, the choice is yours. If you choose to book, carefully consider your insurance options.

If you’re feeling fearful at this stage, then it might be best that you choose another destination. With the spread of any new virus, it will hit a peak before it plateaus and infection rates drop.

We are not at that stage yet, so unless you can afford to lose money in the event you no longer want to travel, then another vacation option might be less worrisome for you.

Why Bother with Travel Insurance?

Holiday insurance is as vital to your holiday as reading the small print is to getting the coverage you want and need.

While you are unlikely to be covered for wanting to cancel your trip because you are worried, you are very likely to be covered for trip interruption, if quarantine causes a missed connection, or if the situation requires evacuation.

And holiday insurance goes beyond what your domestic health policy, Medicare, or credit card will allow, plus it covers more than health.

In a similar vein, operators often offer their insurance policies, and while they may cover you for postponement costs, they won’t cover you comprehensively for health and other issues.

It’s important not to rely on feeling healthy either. Yes, you might be vital, but sprightly individuals can still have accidents, be victims of theft, lose their luggage, or be unfortunate enough to be caught up in other unforeseen events.

Only specific holiday insurance covers the full gambit. Simply put, it’s important to understand the limitations of the policy that you are buying and to ensure that you buy a product that covers the elements that you require.

Yes, it’s a cost, but it’s part of the cost of going on holiday – like the transfer to your hotel – and not a cost that’s supplemental to your holiday – like using a limo instead of a bus!

I invite you to book a 30-Minute Complimentary Exotic Travel Planning Session. If you are not ready to start planning, you can still get your free Guide to Money Saving Travel Tips.

What policy do you buy when you’re planning a vacation? Have you had to deal with an epidemic while abroad? Would you cancel a trip because of a disease outbreak? Please share your thoughts with the community.

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The Author

Sue Rudolph is the owner of Absolutely Amazing Travel. Since 1994, she has been helping travelers who want to experience a destination, not just see it. She creates itineraries to exotic locations where you will meet the locals, immerse yourself in the culture, and get up close to nature and wildlife. Find out more at Amazing Travel.

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