Does Travel Insurance Cover Pandemics?

The Short Answer: Unlikely

Despite contrary statements, epidemics and pandemics are excluded from most travel insurance policies –the current circumstances haven’t changed this. So how are these events defined?

As defined by Generali Global Assistance: PANDEMIC means an Epidemic over a wide geographic area that affects a large portion of the population.

As defined by Allianz Travel Insurance: EPIDEMIC means a contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely among the population in an area and which is recognized as an epidemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What these definitions mean is that if you are planning to cancel your trip due to a pandemic, coverage won’t be available for lost expenses. This unfortunately still holds true if the airline cancels your flight or your tour operator cancels the trip because of a pandemic. Travel advisories and travel bans also don’t trigger cancellation coverage.

An exception to this coverage exclusion is Cancel for Any Reason, which is a time-sensitive benefit that allows a traveler to cancel their trip for any reason at all. Purchasing this type of coverage can give you peace of mind knowing that you can still cancel your trip, even if your reason is due to a pandemic.

Why aren’t pandemics covered?

All travel insurance policies have a list of exclusions, which should come by no surprise. The reason for these exclusions like pandemics is because insurance companies must be able to assess the risk for a covered event to determine the pricing of the product. In cases like pandemics, the risk is extremely difficult to calculate because of its unpredictability.

Just like we could never have predicted the coronavirus outbreak would impact almost everyone on earth, providers cannot predict the amount of risk a pandemic would incur. Although the travel insurance providers on Yonder all have high AM Best Ratings, if pandemics were covered, the insurers would likely be put out of business and then you wouldn’t have the option to insure your upcoming trips –definitely not ideal!

Is travel insurance still worth it?

You might be wondering at this point if travel insurance is even worth buying. We say yes! There is still a vast array of coverage available that could save you thousands of dollars if you experience a travel or medical emergency before or during your trip. Below are some vital benefits travel insurance may still offer:

  • Emergency medical expenses if you became ill with the virus while traveling
  • Medical evacuation benefits if you contracted the virus while on your trip
  • Trip interruption might still apply if you become ill with the virus during your trip
  • Trip cancellation if you were to contract the virus before traveling
  • Missed connection under covered reasons like quarantine

If you already have a travel insurance policy, there are a few options available to you. If your trip was cancelled or rescheduled, the providers have been quite flexible in offering a few solutions. We’ve also heard the airlines and tour operators are also able to provide more flexibility in changing your trip dates, so it’s worth reaching out to them as well.

If you haven’t purchased a travel insurance policy for an upcoming trip yet and have some concerns, “Cancel For Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage could ease your mind! This is an optional upgrade to trip cancellation coverage in which you can cancel your trip for any reason at all. There are some requirements you must meet to be eligible for CFAR.

First, you must purchase this coverage within 14-21 days of your initial trip deposit date. Another requirement is that 100% of your nonrefundable or prepaid payments must be insured under the policy. To use this benefit, travelers must also cancel their trip two or more days before their scheduled departure date.

To compare travel insurance policies with Cancel for Any Reason coverage, simply run an instant quote and select the filter displayed below.

We understand if you have more questions about pandemic coverage. Feel free to reach out to our team of helpful humans!

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