The coronavirus has changed the face of travel insurance. Prior to 2020, almost all travel insurance did not cover epidemics or pandemics as part of their regular health care coverage.
With the caveat that all travel insurances are different and you must always read the fine print on any travel insurance plans before you sign, here are the general coverages that have come up with most travel insurance that covers COVID-19:
Travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related complications includes:
- Emergency medical coverage
- Emergency medical evacuation coverage
- Trip interruption
- Free cancellations
Examples of these coverages could include things like getting your trip expenses reimbursed in the event you contract COVID-19 before leaving, getting medical expenses paid for in a foreign country if you contract COVID-19 while abroad, and expenses paid to cover accommodations in a foreign country if you are not allowed to travel home. These are not covered in all travel insurance plans, but they are becoming more common.
Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Coverage
One thing to keep an eye out for is a clause that some of the better travel insurances have which is the CFAR clause, or “Cancel For Any Reason.” CFAR has a lot of restrictions applied to it, mostly related to timeframes and eligibility requirements, but if you have this coverage you could have as much as 50-75% of your trip reimbursed by your travel insurance.
What Happens If You Get Sick with COVID-19 While Traveling?
Travel medical insurance that covers COVID-19 will make it easier and cheaper to get medical care in a foreign country.
The first thing that you should do, before getting any travel medical insurance that covers COVID is to check with your current insurance carrier and see what benefits they offer for traveling abroad. Many of them will not offer any services out of the country, or perhaps will have certain countries where they do operate. You will often find your own private insurance company will have travel insurance plans that have special rates for members.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance Plans will offer you global benefits, no matter where you are. Keep in mind, however, that if you contract COVID in a country like Germany or Canada, it’s going to be significantly easier to make use of Comprehensive travel medical insurance coverage than if you get sick with COVID-19 in parts of Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, or Africa.
You will still receive the benefits of the travel insurance, but it may be harder (due to poor communication lines in certain regions of the world) to get immediate coverage to pay for things.
Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage is designed to get you out of a foreign country if you are seriously ill or injured. These plans offer both ground transportation which will get you from wherever you are to the nearest medical facility, and, if need be, transportation to an airplane which will take you out of the country.
Because COVID-19 is so contagious, especially in the cabin of an airplane, the choice to fly you out of a region for evacuation is only done if the physicians don’t feel they can adequately treat you there.
Trip Interruption Coverage is in most travel insurance plans and provides reimbursement for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses if the travel needs to be cut short. This could include expenses like cruise ship tickets, railway tickets, and hotel accommodations.