Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Many travel insurance providers did not know what to expect when the Coronavirus first emerged in 2020. Travel insurance policies were looked at more carefully and travellers also were confused by travel restrictions and closures.
Today, however, the travel insurance providers believe the risk is very low. In fact, some providers have added extras to their policies to help travellers who are worried about contracting the coronavirus while on vacation.
Travel Insurance providers are number people. The assess the real risk. Not the one the media hypes up. They understand that the chances of you contracting Covid19 while on vacation is very low and so they offer a policy to ease your mind.
And that is how the insurance companies work. They determine what risks they will face and determine if they can make money on those risks. In essence they are gambling and putting a lot of money on the line to say you will be safe and not need any benefits.
Of course this is also in our favor. We want to travel and we want to be safe. The cost of travel insurance is not that expensive for the extra piece of mind, even if the risk is very low.
Westjet, a Canadian airline, just released a statement that they are providing FREE Covid19 Travel Insurance to all flights to and from Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. Read More about the announcement here.
Our favorite travel insurance to recommend is World Nomads. They are the least expensive, but also provide exceptional service and also cover some related Covid19 issues.
Below is a FAQ for US Residents concerning coverage by World Nomads. For information about other countries please refer to their FAQ on their web page.
1. Is COVID-19 covered by World Nomads travel insurance? World Nomads travel insurance may provide reimbursement for claims arising from the Coronavirus (COVID-19). You may be eligible for benefits under the Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption sections of your policy. Your policy includes coverage due to medical conditions, death and government-issued travel advisories. COVID-19-related issues may be covered under these categories. You may also be eligible for benefits under the Emergency Medical section of the policy if while you are out of the country, you become sick from COVID-19. 2. Can I cancel my trip because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Yes, under certain circumstances you may be eligible for trip cancellation benefits, which reimburses you for non-refundable, prepaid travel arrangements, namely when: • A 'defer travel' travel advisory or a written formal notice is issued by the Government of Canada advising travellers to 'Avoid all travel' or 'Avoid non-essential travel' to a country, region or city specifically listed as a destination on the itinerary for your trip. The travel advisory must have been issued after the effective date (or original purchase date) of your policy. • You or your travel companion develop COVID-19 and cannot travel as certified by your physician. Coverage also applies if your or your travel companion’s immediate family member or business partner develops COVID-19 or another medical condition. As a requirement for eligibility, you must cancel your trip booking immediately and notify us within 48 hours of when you know you’re going to cancel. You should also contact your travel provider to see if your trip costs can be refunded or used for another trip.
3. I’m currently travelling and have a World Nomads policy. What’s covered? Should COVID-19 impact you during your travels, World Nomads includes coverage in the following areas, provided you meet the eligibility requirements: Trip Interruption: Your non-refundable, prepaid travel arrangements, as well as additional transportation expenses for you to return home, may be covered if: • COVID-19 disrupts your trip as a result of a 'defer travel' advisory or a written formal notice issued by the Canadian government for a destination where you’re currently travelling or another destination on your itinerary. • You or your travel companion develops COVID-19 (or another medical condition) as certified by your physician. Coverage also applies if your or your travel companion’s immediate family member or business partner catches the virus (or another medical condition.) You must notify us within 24 hours of when you become aware of the situation that may interrupt your trip. Emergency Medical: If you become sick due to COVID-19 while on your trip, Emergency Medical benefits that may be covered include doctor’s visits, hospital stays and diagnostic tests. Your coverage also includes Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation, if the Emergency Assistance team or your treating physician recommends that you return to your province. Be sure to call the 24/7 Emergency Assistance team for the proper approvals. 4. If I book and pay for a trip now, am I covered for COVID-19 if I buy travel insurance? If the Canadian Government has already issued an 'Avoid all travel' or 'Avoid non-essential travel' advisory for the country, region or city you’re travelling to, you won’t be covered by World Nomads’ travel insurance policies. If you are planning to travel outside somewhere where there are no 'defer travel' advisories, you’ll be able to be covered as per the terms of your policy wording. For more information, read 'Is COVID-19 covered by World Nomads travel insurance?'. 5. I had booked travel to a country that has now closed its borders. Am I covered?
Many countries have been refusing entry to tourists as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While we understand this has impacted many people’s upcoming trips, unfortunately, our travel insurance plans don’t cover trip cancellation due to border closings or travel bans unless a 'defer travel' travel advisory was issued by the Canadian government (your policy must have been purchased before the travel advisory was issued.) Contact your travel provider for assistance; they may be able to offer you alternate dates or waive change fees. If you cancel your trip and receive a full refund without penalty from your travel providers, you may qualify for a refund on your policy. Read 'How do I cancel my policy?' for more information. 6. I’m travelling overseas, and the Canadian government has issued a “defer travel” advisory for all international destinations. Am I covered?
If you purchased your policy before the government issued the travel advisory, then you may be eligible for benefits under our trip interruption coverage. This could include cover for the reimbursement of the pre-paid travel expenses that you had to forfeit because of the disruption to your travel plans; one-way transportation through the most cost-effective route to your home; and an allowance for basic needs up to the amount shown on your policy. 7. Can I cancel my trip if advised by a doctor not to travel? Yes, you can cancel your trip for a medical condition (including the COVID-19) — and get covered — if your doctor has advised you not to travel before your scheduled departure date. Read over your policy carefully to see if there are any other conditions that you need to meet. 8. Is coverage available if the WHO or government says not to travel to a destination? ' That depends on when the advisory was issued. You won’t be able to buy a policy that covers you if the 'Avoid all travel' or “Avoid non-essential' advisories were already issued at the time you were looking to purchase. If the notices were issued after you purchased a policy, you may be eligible for coverage as per the terms of your policy wording. 9. If your policy won't cover me, what can I do? If you haven’t left home yet, you may be able to discuss a change or cancellation of arrangements with your airline or other travel provider. In many cases, they are offering refunds, credits or reticketing and waiving change fees. If you’re already travelling, the best thing you can do is follow basic protective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as washing your hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding exposure to people who are sick; covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; and trying not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. If you do think you have symptoms, seek medical advice and avoid contact with others. For more information, go the Government of Canada and World Health Organization sites for the latest updates. 10. I'm currently travelling and have a World Nomads policy. How can travel insurance help people travelling to parts of the world with heightened risk? Your World Nomads policy remains in effect as per the terms in your policy wording. COVID-19-related provisions includes trip cancellation, emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for the policyholder who has contracted the virus. Other types of coverage unrelated to unexpected illnesses such as COVID-19 also provide valuable benefits. The Emergency Assistance team, available 24/7, can help you in any type of crisis even if you’re travelling in a part of the world with elevated risk. If you’re feeling sick, you can contact them for assistance on getting the appropriate medical care. They can also help with advances to pay emergency medical expenses. 11. If I have travel insurance and I'm diagnosed with COVID-19, could I be covered for trip cancellation? Yes, unexpected sickness – including the COVID-19 – is a covered reason for trip cancellation, provided that you’ve purchased the policy before you were diagnosed and a physician recommends that you stop your travel plans for your health. You may also qualify for coverage if your travel companion, immediate family member or business partner unexpectedly develops a medical condition such as the COVID-19 virus. 12. I’m traveling and think I have caught COVID-19 ... What do I do? First and foremost, seek medical treatment. If you’re not sure where to go, contact the Emergency Assistance team, who can direct you to appropriate care. They’re available 24/7 and can give you the advice you need about how to get from wherever you are to a decent hospital. Remember to follow the World Health Organization (WHO) and Government of Canada advice regarding health and hygiene practices. Reduce your contact with other people as much as possible, wear a mask to prevent spreading the infection, and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
Strategies for Staying Safe While Traveling
Travel, by definition, increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you get out of town, make sure to check state and local travel restrictions and do some research to learn whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area or where you're traveling.
Some states require out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine.
"If you decide to travel, it's important to remember that the coronavirus is a respiratory virus," Dr. Ben-Aderet says. "When you understand that, the recommended guidelines to protect yourself from the virus make more sense."
What to do:
Practice good hand-washing hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting a public place or touching potentially contaminated surfaces. No access to soap and water? Use hand sanitizer until you're able to get to a sink.
Avoid touching your face: Your nose and mouth are primary routes of transmission. Keeping your hands away from your face will help prevent contaminated droplets from reaching your mucus membranes.
Wear a mask: Covering your nose and mouth with a mask ensures germs stay put. "It's a lot harder for a respiratory droplet to hit you or contaminate a surface you might come into contact with if everyone is masked," Dr. Ben-Aderet says.
Practice physical distancing: Virus-containing droplets can travel through the air. If you keep your distance from the people around you, you're more likely to avoid infection.