It has been several months now since the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak began, and people are finally beginning to make travel plans again. Since the virus is here to stay, it’s more important than ever to have travel insurance that will cover claims related to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In order to avoid spreading the virus, many airlines and cruises initially canceled domestic and international routes. The CDC advised travelers not to travel to certain high-risk countries that have been exposed to the virus altogether.
But now, the world is reopening—even though the pandemic is, likely, far from over.
If you’re planning on traveling again there are a myriad of questions you’ll be forced to consider.
- What happens if you start making plans, only to have to cancel once again?
- What happens if you get infected while abroad?
- Most importantly, will your travel insurance cover any expenses related to the COVID-19 virus?
Important: Before you book travel, please make sure you double-check any and all travel restrictions for the country you’re visiting. For example, at the time of writing this, Canada is only accepting foreign visitors for whom travel is deemed necessary (family reasons, essential work, etc.).
Travel Insurance Companies That Offer COVID-19 Coverage
During the initial outbreak, travel insurance companies denied any and all claims related to COVID-19. However, given the state of our “new normal,” many have adapted and now offer differing levels of coverage.
We’ll get into some of the background surrounding travel insurance and COVID-19 below, but for now, if you’re just searching for travel insurance that covers the coronavirus, luckily, you now have some options.
Use the form below to search for travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage.
One of the newest players in the travel insurance game, battleface recently added COVID-19 coverage to all of its policies. If you’re eligible, any policy purchased from July 17th, 2020 onwards automatically includes coverage for medical expenses caused by or resulting from COVID-19, like hospitalization or outpatient care.
Coverage isn’t included for COVID-19 expenses for trip cancellations, trip interruptions, or lockdown, but the standard Travel Medical Insurance plan includes up to 5,000,000 (GBP/EUR/CHF/USD) for COVID-19 related medical expenses and emergency evacuation.
Currently battleface is offering COVID-19 coverage for residents of more than 50 countries, including most of Europe and Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, most of the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe. This plan is not (yet) available to the residents of the United States.
Don’t forget to read our battleface review to learn more about everything this company offers, or fill out the form below to get a quote.
SafetyWing also recently began offering coverage for COVID-19. Now, when you sign up for a SafetyWing plan, COVID-19 coverage is automatically included (otherwise, if you have an active policy, you can choose to upgrade your plan for a few extra bucks).
Coverage for medical expenses related to COVID-19 follows the same schedule of benefits as other illnesses in your standard plan, unless the virus was contracted before your travel start date. Testing for the virus is only covered if it’s deemed medically necessary by a physician.
Non-medical benefits are also the same as SafetyWing’s standard plan, including trip interruption (but not cancellation). If you need to come home early, you’ll be reimbursed up to $5,000 for your one-way travel.
Check out our full SafetyWing review to learn more about what it’s like to book with them, or use the form below to get a quote.
World Nomads’ policies provide coverage for pandemic/epidemics, including up to $100,000 in emergency medical treatment due to COVID-19.
In some cases you may be eligible for Trip Interruption benefits (for example, if you have to change your travel arrangements mid-trip because you contracted the virus). If you’re traveling and there’s a government-mandated border closing or you’re advised to quarantine, you may get reimbursed for related expenses (like accommodations and meals).
With World Nomads you may even be eligible for trip cancellation coverage, including reimbursement for any pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses (like hotels and flights).
Check out our World Nomads review for more info on what’s covered.
Seven Corners has created a series of new plans specially designed for COVID-19 coverage: Liaison Student Plus, Liaison Travel Plus, and Wander Frequent Traveler Plus.
Each plan will provide coverage up to $100,000 in medical expenses, as well as up to $1 million for emergency evacuation. For the Wander Frequent Traveler Plus, travelers between the ages of 65-74 years old are covered up to $50,000.
If you get sick with COVID-19 before your trip or during your trip, you may be covered up to $5,000 for cancellation or interruption. Seven Corners may also cover for cancellation or interruption if the country you’re traveling to has mandated a quarantine upon arrival.
Before buying into one of these plans, make sure you read the fine print and ask all the right questions. Coverage for medical expenses due to COVID-19 come pretty standard in these plans, but that’s not always the case for things like trip cancellation.
Certain insurance policies may only be available to residents of certain countries as well. For example, at the time of writing this, World Nomads does not sell to Canadians because Canadians are advised against all unnecessary travel. battleface also is not currently selling to Americans.
The Scoop on COVID-19, Travel Insurance, & Epidemics
When COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic, your only option for travel insurance coverage was CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason). That’s because most travel insurance policies have exclusions for epidemics/pandemics. If you didn’t have CFAR, you likely wouldn’t be getting coverage for anything.
But now, as COVID-19 becomes “the new normal,” travel insurance companies are beginning to roll out new plans with coverage (or to incorporate COVID-19 coverage into the plans that are already available).
Note that most hotels and rental car agencies allow cancelations up to 48 hours in advance, so you may still be able to get refunds for these expenses, just not your airfare.
What to Do if You Have to Cancel Your Trip
If you’re worried that you may have to cancel your travel plans due to COVID-19, purchasing a travel insurance policy with coverage for cancellation (or trip interruption) is highly recommended.
World Nomads and Seven Corners are currently offering trip cancellation and interruption, while SafetyWing has trip interruption only.
Some companies, like World Nomads, will also cover quarantine—but only if the quarantine was mandated after you purchased your policy and once your coverage has already started (whether you’re at home or abroad).
If you think you have been infected, then you need to seek medical care. If you purchased a travel insurance policy with COVID-19 coverage then you will likely be covered for hospital visits and treatments.
Contact your travel insurance provider for information regarding next steps. Unless it’s an emergency, do not head directly to a hospital or call an ambulance. Your host country will likely have a plan in place to get you tested (a nurse may visit your home, for example).
What to Do if You Are Quarantined While Traveling
It’s also very possible that you could be quarantined while traveling in or from an infected area. If this does happen to you, then it’s important to stay calm and assess the situation. Find out what your travel insurance covers beforehand.
If your host country goes on lockdown, your travel insurance plan may have coverage to offset the expenses. World Nomads has trip interruption coverage for situations such as this.
If evacuation is organized by the government, then your return expense is likely covered by your travel insurance policy. This is true for battleface, World Nomads, SafetyWing, and Seven Corners.
But generally speaking, you cannot be evacuated while being quarantined abroad. You will need to wait to be cleared in order to return back home.
Although being quarantined may impact your travel plans, keep in mind it’s a precautionary measure and the quarantine is in your best interest as well as the general public’s.
Although the coronavirus outbreak is an epidemic, there are measures you can take to stay safe during this global crisis.
If you do decide to travel, make sure to invest in insurance with COVID-19 coverage. Although nobody wants to cancel their planned trip, please just be smart out there, regardless of your stance on this whole thing.