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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know Before You Travel

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On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Novel Coronavirus a “public health emergency.” The deadly virus was first discovered at the end of 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Since this time there have been confirmed cases in numerous countries across Asia, Europe and North America.

What is the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus, according to USI’s recent white paper, is a respiratory betacoronavirus that has been connected to a specific seafood and animal market in China. The typical initial symptoms of the virus are “flu-like” but could evolve into pneumonia and other respiratory problems. While there is not a current treatment or vaccine available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a list of recommendations to avoid contracting the virus.

How does the coronavirus impact travelers?

There have been 11 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. to date. Despite the relatively low number of cases so far and the attention focused on quarantine and treatment solutions, the virus impacts everyday citizens in other ways, including in their travels. As of February 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of State has placed a standing “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory on travel to China. This is the highest travel advisory level in the U.S.

Does travel insurance cover the coronavirus?

Travel Insurance Services is dedicated to helping our clients navigate traveling in the safest and most financially favorable way possible. Our business is all about preparing for the unexpected and protecting you from the unexpected. Here are a few ways travel insurance may be able to help, considering this public health emergency. Check your plan to see what specific coverage you have.

  • The Trip Cancellation benefit can protect your financial investment in your trip for a variety of covered reasons, including if you, a family member, or travel companion falls ill.
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  • Likewise, the Trip Interruption benefit may cover you if you must cut your trip short for a covered reason, such as illness of you, a family member or travel companion.

  • Cancel for Any Reason coverage offers travelers protection on their financial investment for any reason that may not otherwise be included on a policy. It costs extra, but if you want ultimate flexibility, this is the way to go.

  • The Travel Delay benefit may cover you if you get held up on your travels. Think about the cruise ships that were recently quarantined.

  • Emergency Medical Coverage can protect a traveler who becomes sick or injured while on their trip by covering expenses for medical care.

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage can reimburse for costs associated with getting a sick or injured traveler to an adequate medical facility or back home, if needed.

Important Note on Coverage of a Foreseen Event: Once an event like coronavirus becomes “foreseen,” travel protection plans bought after that date generally will not provide coverage related to that event. In the case of the coronavirus, most travel insurance carriers recognize the date it became “foreseen” as sometime between January 22-24. Plans bought after this date would likely need to have the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade to have flexibility with canceling a trip.

As always, it is essential that you review your plan description of coverage to understand what exactly is covered. If you are unsure of anything or if you have any questions, call your travel insurance provider for assistance!

During this outbreak, Travel Insurance Services encourages you to stay up to date on all the travel advisories and recommendations from the U.S. Department of State and the CDC. If you have any questions, please visit your American Bar Association Insurance Program, partnered with Travel Insurance Services, to view travel protection products. You can also call the ABA Insurance Program to speak with a representative at 1-855-874-0811.

 

This content was originally published by and used with permission from Travel Insurance Services.

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