Many of you are worried about how your finances might be affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). 

To help you through these uncertain times, here are the answers to your questions.

“Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.” -World Health Organization

Credits: REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

How to know if my insurance company covers the COVID 19?

People who bought travel insurance before the disease may be covered for medical expenses that arise from contracting the disease overseas, and may even be covered for cancellation expenses.

But people who bought travel insurance after COVID-19 may not be covered for medical or cancellation expenses relating to contracting the disease, or from changes to travel plans that result from quarantine measures, for example.

Most policy features, definitions, inclusions and exclusions pertinent to COVID-19 fall into the epidemic/pandemic category, so that’s where you generally need to look when trying to understand your policy coverage.

What is a Pandemic and Epidemic?

Your Travel Insurance includes a definition of a Pandemic and Epidemic.

In general terms, Epidemic means a sudden development or rapid spreading of a contagious disease in the region where it developed.

Pandemic generally means a form of an Epidemic that extends throughout an entire continent or across continents.

Does travel insurance cover a Pandemic and Epidemic?

Many but not all travel insurers cover pandemics or epidemics, as long as you bought the policy before it became a ‘known event’. Cover will vary between policies. 

  1.   Some policies exclude epidemics and pandemics altogether. If you have one of these policies, expect no claim to be paid if your expense is linked to coronavirus.
  1.   Some policies will cover medical costs overseas in relation to pandemics and epidemics, but not cancellation costs or loss of bookings, etc.
  1.   Some cover both medical costs overseas and cancellation costs in relation to pandemics and epidemics.

However, the “known events” clause could mean you may not have any cover for coronavirus-related expenses:

Most policies have a “known events” clause, which means that if the event is already a known risk when the policy is taken out, you will not be covered. This is a common clause in other types of insurance as well.

Credits Saul Loeb / AFP

What will travel insurance covers?

If your policy covers medical expenses as a result of a pandemic, you’ll be covered for medical expenses if, for example, you contract novel coronavirus on your travels – as long as you bought the policy before the insurers’ cut-off date.

And if the policy covers cancellation expenses, you’ll be covered to cancel or possibly amend your travel arrangements to avoid the affected area. Check with your travel insurer specifically to find out what they’ll cover here because it can be tricky. 

If your travel insurance doesn’t cover the cancellation, we recommend all travelers to contact their travel provider/s to discuss any actual or proposed changes to travel plans. Your travel provider can provide you with more information about your options for adjusting your travel itinerary or obtaining refunds.

What if you don’t have travel insurance?

If the airline has canceled or delayed flights due to a pandemic, it’s considered an event that is out of their control and the airline will have a policy providing compensation for cancellation or delay.

How to cancel your holiday?

Contact your travel advisor to cancel your travel arrangements, this could include:

  • Your flights
  • Your accommodation
  • Your airport transfers

Your travel advisor will be able to tell you if they can issue you with a full refund.

If this is the case, you can claim on the cancellation cover provided by your travel insurance provider.

How to claim?

To claim, you will need to provide evidence to your insurance company, including:

  • Cancellation invoice and any unused tickets
  • Medical documents if you cancel your trip due to death, illness or injury
  • Any other documents that support your claim

If you are cutting your holiday short you will need to contact your insurer immediately before you make any arrangements to return home.

You will only be able to claim if you cancel your holiday for one of the reasons allowed on your policy document, so check these thoroughly before you buy your cover.

For your future travel, don’t forget that while traveling abroad, is it really important to have travel insurance. Isn’t it important to be protected against unexpected cancellations and sudden health emergencies? We recommend Seven Corners! For more than 25 years, Seven Corners insurance has been helping travelers 24/7 and has helped people all over the world.

You can check it here:  Travel Insurance

Written by Clémence Aubry.