TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR COVID-19: ARE YOU COVERED?
We’ve put together our Top COVID-19 Travel Insurance #Tips!
As the scramble to contain the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 intensifies – travelers are facing travel bans, being quarantined and left stranded as airlines go bust. Insurers are now calling COVID-19 a pandemic – making VOID insurance cover for the infectious disease. Your insurance will still be valid for everything except COVID-19, if purchased after the “cut-off date” of January, 2020.
Are you already on the road? Or planning to travel this year? Here is what you need to know.
This post is an update of our Travel Insurance: Are You Really Covered? We hope it inspires you to fearlessly tackle your travel insurance decision with this 3 pronged approach.
It’s all about the fine print – travel insurers are sticklers!
1) Check the CUT-OFF DATE in the Contract
When it comes to an outbreak like COVID-19, insurance companies set their own cut-off dates. Most insurers are making January 23, 2020 the cut-off date, as this is when the World Health Organisation confirmed the outbreak.
The Insurance Council of Australia commented that, “Some insurers exclude infectious diseases completely. Some policies will cover alternatives plans if your trip is disrupted by a coronavirus”. (source: ABC News)
If you are already on the road (and bought insurance prior to January 23, 2020) and travel advice is upgraded to “Do Not Travel” for your destination, you may be covered if you cancel your trip. Check with your insurer!
TIP “The Insurance Council of Australia says the only way to be assured of coverage for cancelling a trip, regardless of the reason, was to purchase a new and more expensive add-on product called cancel-for-any-reason insurance”. (source: ABC News)
2) Check TRAVEL WARNINGS and FLIGHTS
“While your travel insurance will usually cover you in the case of violence, political unrest and terrorist activities, traveling to a destination when a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning has been issued may VOID your insurance”. (source: Canstar)
If your flight is cancelled due to the the COVID-19 pandemic, your airline will most likely offer you a voucher to travel at a later date.
Be prepared to be screened for COVID-19, if you are traveling through a hub that is affected by an outbreak. Rules for transit may change at short notice and you may be quarantined if you test positive for the virus.
TIP There are a number of sites where you can check travel warnings. Be aware that not all airports and transport companies are applying policies consistently. (source: DFAT)
3) Check PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS and other EXCLUSIONS
Even asthma and hypertension can be excluded under some contracts. So read conditions that are excluded carefully, particularly if you have been diagnosed with something recently.
Always be completely honest with your insurer when going through the application process. If you make a medical claim, they’ll investigate to find out if it was pre-existing or not.
Take the assessment. It can be as easy as answering a few questions online. In other cases, you may need to provide medical certificates.
TIP Be upfront. It can be as easy as answering a few questions online. Keep your options open. For example, some insurers will not cover you for a medical condition if you’ve been diagnosed within the last two years, while others will cover you as long as you’re up front and answer truthfully.
Here are a few points to be aware of when searching for the right policy if you are aged over 60:-
Age limits can apply and cover can cost more. Some pre-existing conditions may not be covered if you are over 60.
Terms and Conditions vary greatly between insurers.
Do your homework and you’ll find an insurer who will cover you, where others won’t.
OUR TOP TAKEAWAYS
You should check the fine print before you buy an insurance policy! The exclusions will be listed in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), which will be a separate document to the policy that you sign.
It is VITAL to understand what you are covered for, what you are not covered for, pre-existing conditions, your payable excess and age cut-offs (beware over 60’s).
Checklist (because it’s important)
- Keep the CONTACT NUMBERS for your bank, insurer, airline, travel agent and accommodation provider handy so that you can check that your booking is solid if you need to.
- Remember to hold onto any RECEIPTS, MEDICAL REPORTS for medical claims and POLICE REPORTS for theft.
- If you are already on the road (and bought insurance prior to the cut off date in January, 2020) and travel advice is upgraded to “Do Not Travel” for your destination, you may be covered if you cancel your trip. Check with your insurer!
- Use a website like Canstar or google “compare travel insurance” to help you do some research.
- If you don’t want to read the Product Disclosure Statement for your policy, ask to have it explained to you before making your decision.
REMEMBER this pandemic will end!
“Although the health sector has conflicting views – know that there are currently four coronaviruses circulating throughout the population”, says William Rawlinson, senior medical virologist with NSW Health Pathology.
“They cause the common cold and typically come back each winter. The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, on the other hand, spread rapidly but has now mostly disappeared”.
Share your travel planning tips here! How has it been dealing with your travel insurance company?
Read one of our previous posts below – Travel Insurance: Are You Really Covered?