Information and Advice From the US Travel Insurance Association Regarding Coronavirus
The US Travel Insurance Association has information and advice for travelers whose travel plans or health may be affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Novel coronavirus is a respiratory illness that was first identified in Wuhan, China. The CDC has issued a warning that recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China, and the State Department’s travel advisory for China is currently “Do Not Travel” due to coronavirus concerns. Many airlines have reduced scheduled flights or suspended service to China, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Seek medical care if you experience symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
While cancellation of a trip out of fear of traveling or due to travel advisories is not typically a covered reason, travelers who purchased travel insurance policies that include Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage may still be covered.
Travelers should check with their airlines and other travel suppliers before filing a claim to see if they are offering refunds, waivers, or other accommodations.
For those continuing to travel, a comprehensive travel insurance policy may cover emergency medical expenses if you get sick or injured on your trip. Assistance services through your plan can help coordinate emergency medical transportation and medical care, and even contact family back home.
A few other things to note:
Remember that travel insurance helps with unexpected events. Similar to a hurricane, once an event is a “known event,” it may not be a covered reason for cancellation if a traveler books a trip after that date. For many insurance companies, plans must have been purchased before January 21, 2020, for trip cancellation and interruption coverage to apply.
Policies vary; travelers should ensure that they know what their policy covers and contact the insurance company directly with questions.
If CFAR coverage is purchased today, travelers may still be eligible for coverage given the current situation. Please confirm the specific policy wording for all details regarding this benefit.
Again, travelers should always carefully read their insurance policy’s complete description of coverage and ask questions, as policies do vary.
UStiA is a nonprofit association of insurance carriers and allied businesses involved in the development, administration, and marketing of travel insurance and assistance services. UStiA promotes fairness, integrity, and a commitment to excellence in the travel insurance industry, with a mission to educate the public on travel insurance while maintaining high industry standards.