We all should admit that traveling during the pandemic of COVID-19 is more challenging due to uncertain conditions but possible with more careful planning. While the pandemic continues and seems to still impact the travel industry in 2021, almost 50% of travelers consider buying travel insurance more frequently than before (according to a Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection's annual travel survey in 2020). Seeing these rising needs, many travel insurances now offer COVID-19 related coverage, including the medical and trip cancellation policy with terms and conditions applied. To get covered for what you're most worried about, make sure to thoroughly read and understand the insurance policy, including all the benefits and exclusions.
Cut-off Date for Previous Insurance Policy
Most insurance with purchase date before the COVID-19 outbreak (around late January till late February) would still cover the COVID-19 related claims under their "Cancel for Any Reason" underwriting – but a new policy will not. Therefore, if you purchase the travel insurance after this specific period of time, you will most likely need to see more specifically on each product as most travel insurers have issued new products related to COVID-19.
Groups of Travel Insurance Related to COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, travel insurance offers different plans for covering COVID-19, which generally can be categorized into three big groups:
- Travel insurance policy that covers all the medical expense and change of travel plans for any reason, including due to COVID-19. Please note that insurance only covers the cost that could not be refunded, so reach out to get a refund from travel or accommodation providers before claiming to your insurer.
- Travel insurance policy that covers only the medical expense related to COVID-19 (e.g. when you catch the virus abroad) but not anything else.
- Travel insurance policy that covers everything but generally excludes any claims from COVID-19 related reasons.
What to Look before Buying Travel Insurance during Pandemic
Whatever travel insurance policy you are buying, make sure to check some specific terms and conditions related to:
- The eligible dates for each underwriting as they might put a specific timeframe for particular benefits. It is best to check some travel insurance before booking any flights or accommodations for your trip.
- Specific countries that are covered or excluded from the insurance coverage.
- Specific reasons and required documentation to claim the medical or trip cancellation benefits.
- Any excess you have to pay forward what your insurer pays out.
Finally, it is best to spare some significant time and effort to research about the travel insurance according to your travel needs, because, in the end, having travel insurance would save you a lot of time and money, besides giving you peace of mind and flexibility to travel during these uncertain times.