Coronavirus: What is covered by my travel insurance?
Over the past few weeks, the world has been rocked by the outbreak of the new virus, COVID-19. Tens of thousands have contracted the disease, with most infections occurring in the Hubei region of China. As the disease continues to spread to other places throughout the world, it has left many travelers wondering what to do in the event that the outbreak affects their travel plans.
Have you purchased a travel insurance plan for your upcoming trip and are curious about how the coronavirus will impact your coverage? Perhaps you haven’t bought travel insurance for an upcoming trip, and you’re wondering if it’s still worth the investment?
It is first important to understand how travel insurance can provide coverage during the outbreak.
Under the Volunteer Card short-term plans, if you purchased your insurance after January 21, 2020, you do not have coverage for cancellations, interruptions, or trip delays due to the Coronavirus. Travel insurance policies are designed to cover unforeseen events, and this event became a known event on January 21st. However, even if you purchased your policy after January 21 and contract Coronavirus during your trip, you may be eligible for medical expense and emergency medical evacuation coverage for expenses incurred during your trip.
Here is a brief summary of some things travel insurance may cover due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Remember, always read your plan documents before you begin traveling. Pay special attention to coverage limits and exclusions.)
Can I cancel my trip because of concerns over the coronavirus?
Answer: No, fear of contracting an illness is not a covered reason for trip cancellation.
Expenses resulting from canceled or postponed travel plans due to fear of the virus are not covered under any Volunteer Card policies. This is industry-standard as cancellation due to fear of epidemics and pandemics is typically excluded from travel insurance policies.
What if I catch the coronavirus during my travels?
Answer: Check if your travel insurance covers medical care overseas and medical evacuations.
Did you know that most major medical plans don’t cover you outside your home country? Make sure your travel insurance plan has adequate coverage for medical care and medical evacuation during your travels.
If you have a Volunteer Card short-term plan and were to contract the coronavirus while on your trip, you may have coverage for medical costs while traveling. If you happened to be traveling in a remote area and needed evacuation to a medical facility that could treat you, make sure you call the 24/7 assistance provider to arrange your transportation and care.
If you have a Volunteer Card 365 Plan, emergency medical coverage and medical evacuation coverage is not available if you travel to a destination after any of the following were issued regarding the Destination Country:
a) The World Health Organization had issued an Emergency Travel Advisory
b) The United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention had issued a Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel)
c) A similar governmental agency of the Insured Person’s Country of Residence had published, communicated or issued a Travel Warning or Emergency Travel Advisory restriction or official declaration informing the public about such health issues before the Insured Person traveled to the Destination country.
What if I get sick on my trip and want to go home early?
Answer: If you have a Trip Cancellation and Interruption plan, you might have coverage for an early flight home.*
Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance can reimburse the cost of unused, pre-paid travel expenses if you need to leave early due to sickness. It can also help with additional transportation costs to return home.
However, it is important to understand that it must be recommended by a doctor to return home and you must be deemed medically fit for the return trip. If you contract the Coronavirus, it is very likely that you will be quarantined and will not be able to return home until you have made a full recovery.
What if I need to cancel my trip because I contracted the coronavirus?
Answer: You may have coverage if you purchased a trip cancellation policy prior to your first symptoms.
If there is a possibility of you contracting the coronavirus and needing to cancel your trip due to the illness, make sure to purchase Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage.* Volunteer Card Trip Cancellation and Interruption policies cost as little as 5% of your total trip cost.
However, it’s important to know that this type of coverage does not cover canceling your trip for any reason. Your policy documents will list a number of covered reasons for cancellation, and you’ll want to read those carefully.
What if I’m currently quarantined due to the coronavirus, and I can’t leave for my upcoming trip?
Answer: You may be eligible for coverage if you purchased a trip cancellation plan prior to January 21, 2020.
If you purchased a Volunteer Card Trip Cancellation and Interruption plan* before January 21, 2020, and you need to cancel or interrupt your travel plans because you have been quarantined at the time of travel, you may have coverage for the cancellation.
What is NOT covered by travel insurance due to the coronavirus?
- Unfortunately, canceled or postponed travel plans due to fear of the virus are not covered under any Volunteer Card policies. This is true industry-wide as cancellation due to fear or contracting epidemics and pandemics are generally excluded from travel insurance policies.
- If you begin having symptoms of COVID-19 and purchase a travel insurance plan after you have contracted the disease, it would be considered a pre-existing condition and would not be covered by the policy. To avoid this, make sure to purchase a policy as soon as you put a deposit down on your trip.
- If you purchased a Trip Cancellation and Interruption plan after January 21, 2020 and wanted to cancel your trip because you are quarantined, the cancellation would likely not be covered since the quarantine is considered a “known” event.
- If your flight is canceled because the airline is not flying to areas where there are Coronavirus cases, you would not have coverage under the Volunteer Card Trip Cancellation and Interruption policy. Always check with air carriers to understand cancellation and change policies.
- If you have a Volunteer Card 365 or 365 Sport Plan and travel to a destination after a travel warning (from WHO, CDC, or other government agency from your home country) for that destination has been issued, you may not have coverage for medical expenses or medical evacuation.
If you have more questions about what scenarios may or may not be covered by your travel insurance plan, we highly recommend reading your policy documents and calling your insurance company.
The Volunteer Card Customer Support toll-free number is (877) 865-6877 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage is available as an optional upgrade to the Basic, Plus or Premium Plan.
***Be sure to read the Description of Coverage for your plan for complete details. Coverage cannot be guaranteed by this blog post. Refer to your plan documents for coverage specifics.