Travel Protection Insurance Amid Coronavirus (Covid-19)
In the U.S. we are coming upon both spring break and the summer travel season. This is the time when most people and families either begin planning their domestic or international vacations, or they have already booked trips for the near future.
In light of the recent global pandemic of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), travelers are now being urged to avoid all nonessential travel, especially to China, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and most other European countries. The CDC also recommends that anyone traveling domestically exercise extreme caution when traveling, and those considered high-risk for contracting the Coronavirus consider postponing or canceling nonessential travel.
As this difficult situation continues to evolve, travel restrictions may become more strict and complete travel bans are possible. This leaves travelers curious as to where they stand should they need to submit a claim through their travel insurance policy should their travel be canceled due to the Coronavirus.
Travel protection insurance is a package plan of benefits and services intended to protect the traveler and their family from certain financial risks and losses that can occur when traveling. These losses could be minor, such as delayed or lost luggage or car rental issues, or it could be significant, such as a canceled trip or medical emergencies. Travel insurance may also provide various types of assistance wherever you are located in the world, including medical treatment arrangements, the use of an interpreter, and help to replace a lost passport, to name a few.
Some of the best travel protection insurance providers according to Forbes include:
- Allianz Travel Insurance-Largest travel insurance company with lower rates, a fast claims process, and high customer satisfaction ratings
- American Express Travel Insurance (AMEX)-You do not need to be a card member to use their travel protection insurance and their services have received little to no complaints as well as offering four (4) different package plans or a build-your-own option
- Generali Global Assistance-Customer-centric culture that has been around since 1963
- Seven Corners-Cases are settled quickly, multiple add-on features
- Travelex-Offers two protection plans, solid coverage, and quick compensation
- Travel Guard-Processes claims quickly and offers three different online plans with the option to add-on or choose different plans available through customer service
This list is not all-inclusive. There are other travel protection insurance providers out there and anyone considering travel should review and choose the best service for them.
However, it is important to note that cruise lines and tour operators often offer “protection” that is not insurance. These protections come with significant limitations as the travel company itself underwrites the policies and they will usually only offer a travel credit instead of refunds in the event that you must cancel your trip. Instead of using a travel companies “protection” plan, consider a separate travel protection insurance policy provider.
When choosing a provider, remember that each travel protection plan will vary and will not cover every possible situation. Typically, travel protection is intended to cover unforeseeable events, not things that you could easily see coming or that are within your control. The most common types of travel protection and what they may cover include the following:
- General Travel Insurance-Cancellations and interruptions due to covered reasons (such as sickness or injury), medical coverages and 24-hour emergency assistance services, baggage coverage and tracking services
- Vacation Rental Insurance-Accidental damage caused during vacation, alternative to traditional deposits, compensation for closed beaches, golf courses, amusement parks, lack of snow, enhanced coverage for adverse weather/natural disasters, and interruptions due to road closures
- Identity Theft Protection-Identity theft protection insurance (often up to $1million), suspicious activity alerts, resolution services
- Beneficiary Companion-Guidance in obtaining a death certificate, fraud detection, assistance in closing accounts
- Travel Assistance-Emergency medical payments, medical monitoring, medical searches and referrals, medication replacement, childcare assistance, emergency evacuation, repatriation of remains, emergency cash, language interpretation, legal assistance, pet return, vehicle return, emergency travel arrangements
- Travel Risk Management-Dedicated hotlines for assistance, 24/7 support worldwide
This is just a sampling of what each travel protection insurance company may provide. When scheduling any trip, it is important to read the fine print of the policy you are considering so you can determine what exactly is covered in the event of an emergency.
Unfortunately, with the onset of the Coronavirus, there is a definite grey area, and many travel protection insurance companies are not honoring or are severely limiting the protections they offer to their customers when claims are submitted.
Typically, a travel insurance policy with “cancellation and interruption” coverage will include illnesses sustained before or during a trip. Currently, though, most providers will only cover the Coronavirus if the policy was purchased prior to January 21, 2020 according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association. There are also clauses in many policies that state you will not get coverage for an illness once it is declared an epidemic or pandemic, however, depending on your policy, you may get coverage if you are quarantined and can provide documentation of it. You would also receive partial compensation (approximately 75% dependent on your policy) if you purchased “cancel for any reason” coverage, but be advised, it will add costs to your trip (currently approximately 40% in addition to the standard 7-10% for a basic travel protection insurance policy, but this is expected to rise) and even this has restrictions and rules.
If you purchased travel protection insurance and had your trip canceled due to the Coronavirus, read the documentation you were provided, or call their customer service department to determine what compensation, if any, that you may receive. The experienced lawyers at Agruss Law Firm, LLC. can also review your contract and advise you on what you may be entitled to.
Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people, not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. Our unique formula has earned us over 1,000 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 145 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, e-mail us at [email protected], or schedule a meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7.
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