Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 & Travel Insurance

Last Updated: 6/24/2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many trips to be cancelled and interrupted. Even future trips are affected, causing uneasy travel planning. Below you’ll find frequently asked inquiries from our customers. 

Please note: Benefits and coverage may vary by provider and policy. Reach out to the friendly humans at Yonder with specific policy queries.

Table of Contents

COVID-19 Cancellation Questions

COVID-19 Travel Insurance FAQs

Quarantine Coverage Questions

Claims Questions

Future Travel Planning Questions

blue outline of arrow pointing right COVID-19 Cancellation Questions

Can I cancel my trip for fear of contracting COVID-19?

Under a policy with standard trip cancellation coverage, fear of travel due to COVID is not covered. If you purchase a specific benefit called Cancel for Any Reason, you may cancel your trip for reasons not normally covered and receive a portion (usually 75%) of your non-refundable trip costs back.

My doctor advises against me traveling due to higher risks of contracting COVID-19, will my trip be covered if I cancel?

Unfortunately, if your doctor is concerned about your age and underlying medical condition(s) causing increased risk while traveling, it is unlikely to be a covered reason under travel insurance unless you have more flexible cancellation coverage. 

If you’re concerned a pre-existing condition may unexpectedly worsen prior to or during your trip, purchasing a policy with a pre-existing conditions waiver is also a good measure of protection. Pre-Existing conditions are normally excluded under comprehensive policies. But again, this waiver would not provide coverage if your doctor is recommending you don’t travel due to your condition or age. This would have to be an unforeseen new or worsening condition for coverage to apply.

I’m worried about COVID-19 outbreaks, border closures, and travel advisories at my destination –can I cancel my trip?

As pandemics are general exclusions, there would not be coverage unless you purchased Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance within the time-sensitive period of 1-21 days within your first trip deposit.

What if my destination changes entry requirements or instates a travel restriction due to COVID-19?

Unfortunately, any COVID-related event outside of an illness would likely be excluded from the policy UNLESS you opt for Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR). CFAR is an optional benefit that would allow you to cancel for any reason at all and recoup 75% of your nonrefundable trip expenses. This is a time-sensitive benefit that must be purchased within 1-21 days from your deposit date, insure 100% of your nonrefundable trip expenses, and cancel your trip at least 2 days prior to your departure date.

Am I covered if I contract COVID-19 before my trip?

Since COVID-19 is considered an illness by most providers (a common covered reason), trip cancellation coverage may apply if you were to contract COVID-19 prior to the date you leave for your trip. It’s likely you’ll need documentation from a doctor providing proof of the illness and advisement against travel. Please read the statements from the top travel insurance providers to see how each is providing coverage during the pandemic.

My airline cancelled my flight, causing me to cancel the rest of my trip –is that covered?

This is not a covered reason under travel insurance for most travel insurance companies. Some providers though, like Travel Insured International, will allow you to be reimbursed for the reissue fee charged by the airline for the new tickets.

My trip was cancelled by the travel supplier. Can I use my policy on a rescheduled trip or get a refund of the policy?

Usually, as long as you don’t have an open claim and your departure date hasn’t passed, you can change the date on your policy to that of a future trip. No travel plans yet? Not to worry –many providers allow you to request a travel insurance voucher, like Generali and Travel Insured International, which you can redeem for a trip down the road.

Usually, you can only cancel your travel insurance policy and receive a refund if you cancel within 10-14 days after purchase. However, some providers are being flexible if you don’t plan on traveling in the future. You must usually provide proof of full refund from your airline, cruise, hotel, travel agency, etc., to qualify for a refund. Be aware that some travel insurance companies are only allowing vouchers.

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Is there Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance for New York residents?

Most providers don’t offer Cancel for Any Reason (CFAF) coverage to residents of New York. However, cruise lines, tour operators, and travel agencies can provide residents of New York a non-insurance Cancel for Any Reason Waiver. Check with your travel supplier partner if you purchased a plan with them to see if they offer a non-insurance CFAR Waiver.

Will travel insurance reimburse my trip costs if my travel supplier goes bankrupt?

Yes, some policies do include coverage if your travel supplier were to become bankrupt or financially default. Be sure to purchase early, as some policies require you to purchase soon after you make your first deposit towards the trip. Look for this coverage in select plans from AXA Assistance, Arch RoamRight, iTravelInsured, and Travel Insured International. 

If my visa weren’t to arrive by my departure date, will my trip be covered if I cancel?

No, a delayed travel document is not typically a covered reason under travel insurance for most travel insurance policies. However, if you purchased a policy with more flexible cancellation coverage, you would be able to cancel your trip at least two days prior to you leaving for your trip and get the majority of your trip expenses back.

Will travel insurance cover cancellation due to work time off being revoked?

Some travel insurance policies also include coverage if your approved vacation for your trip was revoked, requiring you to work during your trip. There is also a coverage called Cancel for Work Reasons, in which you can cancel your trip if there was an unexpected event that occurred at your workplace that prohibited you from taking your trip.

blue outline of arrow pointing right COVID-19 Coverage Questions

Is becoming ill with COVID-19 covered by travel insurance?

For most travel insurance providers, COVID-19 is treated as any other illness. This means that trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expense, and medical evacuation coverage could apply.

Am I covered if I contract COVID-19 while I’m on my trip?

Since COVID-19 is considered an illness and treated as such, coverage could apply for medical costs during your trip like hospital stays, treatments, prescriptions, ambulance transportation, and even emergency medical evacuation. Once you return home, you may file a claim for reimbursement of these medical expenses.

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COVID-19 has impacted my job or work, is there coverage available?

Some plans include trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage if you were to be laid off or fired from your job before your trip departure. Your policy must have been effective when the loss occurred for coverage to apply. In addition, you might need to provide proof of the loss from your employer.

Can my policy coverage be extended?

Not usually, unless you have a travel medical only policy. Comprehensive policies cannot be purchased while traveling, therefore you wouldn’t be able to purchase more comprehensive coverage for your current trip while traveling. However, if there was an unforeseen reason that caused you to be quarantined or medically treated, for example, some providers allow additional days for the coverage to be extended in specific cases. Check with your policy documents and specific provider for details. 

What’s covered under travel insurance if I miss a flight?

If you miss a flight due to a flight delay, bad weather, or natural disaster, benefits under travel loss/delay, trip interruption, or trip cancellation could apply. 

Is travel insurance required at my destination?

Some countries require travelers to purchase travel insurance to cover the costs should they contract COVID-19 during their trip. Most destinations don’t require a specific amount of coverage, just that it lists coverage for COVIVD-19 medical events. However, being informed about your destination’s insurance requirements is important to being able to enjoy your trip.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Quarantine Coverage Questions

How is “quarantine” defined by travel insurance companies?

In most cases, quarantine is usually defined as a government-mandated or doctor-imposed isolation with the intent to keep you from spreading a disease. Self-isolation is not considered a quarantine. For some providers, it’s only covered if you are confined for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Will travel insurance cover quarantine costs if I contract COVID-19 before or during my trip?

Quarantine could trigger coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, missed connection, or travel delay. Please see the examples below (coverage varies per provider).

  • If you were isolated prior to your departure due to an illness and this causes you to cancel your trip, you could file a claim due to quarantine to be reimbursed for your unused trip expenses.
  • If you were required to isolate during your trip due to an illness, causing you to miss the remainder of your non-refundable trip costs, you could get this money back under trip interruption benefits.
  • If you missed your cruise’s departure due to your isolation after falling ill, you could be reimbursed for the additional cost to meet up at your next port under missed connection coverage.
  • If you were quarantined due to an illness on your way to, during, or from your destination and had to make additional payments for hotels, meals, and local transportation, you could file a claim under travel delay benefits.

My destination country requires a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Can I cancel my trip because of that?

Some policies, like those from iTravelInsured, will allow you to cancel your trip if you face mandatory isolation upon arrival. However, this is not the case with all providers, so purchasing Cancel for Any Reason coverage could be a wise choice.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Travel Insurance Claims Process Questions

When should you file a claim under your travel insurance?

If things didn’t go according to plan during your trip and you experienced a financial loss or a travel or medical emergency, you can file a claim to recoup those unexpected costs once you return home. 

How many days do I have to file for reimbursement from travel insurance benefits?

Each travel insurance policy is a bit different, but usually, you must notify your travel insurance company you are going to be seeking compensation for your lost expenses soon after the loss occurred. You’ll then have a longer amount of time to submit your supporting documentation to the travel insurance company for review. Check your policy documents or reach out to the Yonder team for more specific information.

How can I help my claim be processed quickly?

It’s best to file a claim right after your trip if something went wrong. Usually, each policy has a designated period in which you can do this. Also, it’s important the make sure you submit all the required documentation requested by the provider. The analyst will use this documentation to determine the outcome of your restitution, so the more, the better! Submitting online can usually expedite the process –you can find this on the provider’s website.

Why is my claim taking so long to process?

Even if you’ve done all the suggestions above, sometimes they can take a bit to process. They are analyzed on a case-by-case basis after all! Usually, the process can take up to 30 days. However, with so many trips cancelled due to COVID-19, that means a lot of claims that some providers are still catching up with.

If it’s been a while since you’ve filed and you haven’t received any notice from the provider about progress, it might be a good idea to reach out to them to check the status of the claim. Or if you’ve purchased your travel insurance policy with Yonder, reach out to our team and we’d be happy to look into it for you!

blue outline of arrow pointing right Future Trip Planning Questions

What coverage should I be looking for when booking future travel?

The most flexible cancellation coverage in the travel insurance industry is called Cancel for Any Reason. This allows you to cancel your trip for any reason at all and receive 50%-75% of your trip payments back. 

There are usually three requirements to meet to receive CFAR coverage:

  • You must purchase the policy with CFAR within 14-21 days of your initial trip deposit.  
  • You must insure 100% of your non-refundable trip costs under the policy (ex. prepaid tours, prepaid hotels, prepaid flights). 
  • You must cancel your travel plans at least two days prior to your scheduled departure date. 

If you have concerns about the travel companies you’ve booked with going bankrupt, purchasing a policy with Bankruptcy or Financial Default coverage could protect your trip investment. 

Having COVID-19 medical coverage is also vital since your major medical health insurance likely won’t provide coverage outside the States. Look for policies that contain medical coverage if you were to contract COVID-19 during your trip.

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How can I show proof of COVID-19 coverage for my trip?

If you’re looking for a document proving your travel insurance policy contains COVID-19 medical coverage, not all providers will be able to offer you that. Instead, you can use your policy description. If that’s not enough, you can go to the provider’s website and screenshot the COVID-19 coverage language from their Coronavirus FAQ page for more documentation of policy coverage.

I’ve only paid for part of my trip, but plan on making additional payments in the future –do I insure the full cost of the trip or only what I’ve paid thus far?

It would be best to insure what you’ve paid for your trip so far. Once you make extra payments, you can reach out to our team or your provider to increase your coverage and pay the difference in premium.

Do I really need to buy travel insurance for my domestic or short trip?

Traveling in any capacity, whether far away or not, poses many risks. For instance, if you’re flying, your bags could get lost or your flight delayed. Most travel insurance policies provide baggage loss/delay and travel delay coverage. Another example is if you have a high medical deductible, you can submit medical claims to your travel insurance company if you fall ill or injured on your trip. Not convinced? Check out more reasons why you should get travel insurance for a domestic trip.

What should I do after I purchase travel insurance?

  • Make sure you receive your full policy description and confirmation of purchase.
  • Double-check your name spelling and verify all other information is correct on your policy documents, especially your trip cost and travel dates.
  • If you do make any other payments towards your trip, make sure you increase the amount insured under your policy so if anything were to happen, your full trip payment is protected.
  • Also, make sure you program the emergency assistance phone number into your phone. That way, if you do experience an emergency during your trip, it’s one less step to getting the help you need.

Can I purchase a CFAR policy if my trip has now been rebooked?

If your original deposit date is more than 21 days ago, you likely can’t purchase CFAR. Even if your trip was rebooked the trip deposit date doesn’t change. However, you could be eligible to purchase CFAR coverage if you get a full reimbursement from your agent, cruise, airline, etc., and rebook with all new payments. This creates a new trip deposit date and allows you to purchase within 21 days of that new date.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What’s Next?

We know that planning a trip can be tricky –planning one during a pandemic adds a whole other level of difficulty! If you have any other questions or need help finding the right kind of policy, our team of friendly humans is happy to help!

As a seasoned professional with over five years of experience in the travel insurance industry, Meagan has honed her expertise in marketing and operations working for Yonder Travel Insurance. Throughout her career, she's shown dedication assisting customers at every stage of their travel insurance journey, from the initial quote process to navigating the claims process. Her expert understanding of travel insurance equips her to provide unbiased and valuable insights, which help travelers find the best coverage and maximize its benefits.


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