Will travel insurance cover Coronavirus?

Ponca City Now - March 9, 2020 12:06 pm

By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready 

Spring Break is several days away, and whether your plans include a cruise ship, a beach, or a magical theme park, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance for your Spring Break trip.

Like most of you, I have been reading news about the coronavirus COVID-19 and the impact that it might have on the global community and the insurance industry. With the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak upending travelers’ plans, it is important to know what travel insurance covers.

Can’t decide if you need travel insurance? Here are some questions to help you decide.

  1. I’m afraid to travel due to COVID-19 and want to cancel my trip. Am I covered?
    Trip cancellation for concern or fear of travel associated with an epidemic or pandemic is usually not covered. However, more expensive policies such as Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage may be able to refund a portion of your insured pre-paid, non-refundable trip cost. Note that with CFAR coverage, the insurance policy must be purchased within a set amount of days and notified at least 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
  2. Will travel insurance cover me if I get sick on a cruise ship?
    Most travel insurance policies will protect travelers who become sick while traveling if the policy includes medical coverage. Also, check with your health plan to see if it would cover medical expenses if you get sick or hurt on your trip. This is especially important if you’re traveling abroad because most health plans, including Medicare, won’t cover treatment in another country.
  3. What if my cruise line or airline cancels a trip due to COVID-19?
    Most standard travel insurance does not cover losses caused by an epidemic or pandemic. If you purchased the CFAR policy, you may be covered for a portion of your trip cost. Contact your cruise line, airline or tour provider to see if any refund is offered by them first.

Travel insurance plans cost between 4% and 10% of your trip expenses. I encourage travelers to determine their actual risk, understand what they are trying to cover and then find a policy that accomplishes that. If you decide travel insurance is a good option for your trip, make sure you know exactly what the plan covers before buying.

To monitor the latest information on COVID-19:

For more insurance information, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov.




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