Updated April 5, 12:18 PM CT
Cancelation policy nixed by COVID-19
March 28, 2020
Travel Insurance in the time of a pandemic
Don’t Rely on travel-insurance policies to cover COVID-19 for future trips because the coronavirus pandemic is now a “known issue."
You've been eyeing those rock-bottom prices being offered by most airlines, and you're just about to pull the trigger on a deal that seems too good to be true and... STOP! Even if you think you're 'safe' by purchasing travel insurance, your future trips will be looked upon differently than those from a few weeks ago.
According to Phil Sylvester, a spokesperson for the adventure travel insurance company World Nomads, “If there is currently a Do Not Travel alert for a destination, it’s going to be next to impossible to purchase insurance—temporarily—for a trip there scheduled for even months in the future.” Travel restrictions around the world are changing daily, and your coverage is essentially voided if you travel in spite of a country’s advisories, Sylvester says.
You can still purchase a policy for future travel but a standard policy won’t cover any cancellations or illness related to COVID-19.
You can purchase a cancel-for-any-reason policy, which usually covers a percentage of a future trip for any reason should you need to cancel it, sometimes including COVID-19, but not every company is offering cancel-for-any-reason policies.
Booked, but thinking of canceling
If you've booked a flight and are concerned about canceling, according to Outside, wait as long as you can to cancel an existing or future flight. Whether you booked a flight for travel in April or are looking into a trip ten months from now, hold out as long as you can before canceling your flight. Why? Because if the airline has to cancel a flight on you, it typically offers a cash refund if it can’t rebook you on another option. But if you make the first move and cancel the flight, it usually offers a travel credit instead. Wait 24 to 48 hours before your flight to cancel.
Whatever you do, it’s crucial to ask very specific questions about what a policy will cover and read the fine print before you buy it. Coverage qualifications are evolving and also vary based on the state you live in.
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