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What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus & Travel Insurance

By G1G Staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that "the new Coronavirus, which has resulted in more than a thousand confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States." These types of events can cause confusion and stress for travelers, especially given the various headlines in recent years involving SARS, Zika, and Ebola outbreaks in various parts of the world.

We've gotten questions from customers asking if they can cancel their trip or what steps they can take to ensure they're protected on their trip.

Travelers who are concerned about the Coronavirus or similar outbreaks should look into a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policy. These plans protect against the unexpected, such as an outbreak of a new illness, allowing a traveler to recoup up to 75% of their trip cost. Keep in mind with a CFAR policy, the full trip cost must be insured and you must cancel a trip 2 or more days before the scheduled departure date. A CFAR plan must be purchased within 30 days of initial trip deposit and for the full cost of the covered trip (maximum trip cost of $10,000 per person.)

Unless you have purchased a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policy, the fact of the matter is that most travel insurance does not cover you canceling a trip out of fear of contracting the Coronavirus (or any similar illness). However, as with everything, there are exceptions.

Partner and Industry specialist from TravelSafe, Amanda Hand says: "An exception to this rule might be if the U.S. State Department issues an official statement that requires the mandatory evacuation of U.S. residents. If this is the case, travelers who have not yet traveled could be covered under their trip cancellation benefit, and those who are already traveling could be covered by trip interruption if they are forced to end their trip early. In extreme cases, non-medical emergency evacuation might be an option as well, although not all travel insurers include this in their plans." Providers such as TravelEx has offered the following information: "It is important to note that fear of travel, travel advisories and destination being inaccessible due to this illness are not covered risks under the Travelex Insurance policies." As the outbreak of this outbreak of respiratory illness, providers and underwriters are responding with new information. For clarification about your plan or policy, reach out to one of our customer care experts.

Should a traveler contract the Coronavirus, travel insurance would most likely apply and cover emergency medical care. It's essential for travelers to review their policy details or speak to one of our customer care experts to learn more about specific plan details.

The CDC offers the following regarding travel to China. CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China. If you must travel:

  • • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • • Discuss travel to China with your healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
  • • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

If you were in China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, the CDC recommends that you should:

  • • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. 
  • • Avoid contact with others.
  • • Not travel while sick.
  • • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.


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