Traveling for business when there are possible new coronavirus variants can cause concern, especially during peak flu season. It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to help manage anxiety about traveling is to plan ahead. Knowing what you'll be required to do to comply with government and local mandates can save time and money.
Additionally, depending on your destination, you may need to provide your vaccine status while traveling. With that in mind, understanding whether you'll be able to get travel insurance coverage for an upcoming trip can help--it may even be required. Here are some things to know about travel insurance and Covid-19.
Travel insurance for Covid-19
Does travel insurance cover Covid-19? Standard Trip Cancellation coverage is limited. Typically, known and expected events are not covered, including epidemics, travel advisories, and government restrictions. However, since the pandemic is still ongoing, many travel insurance agencies offer some coverage for Covid-19, though there are various factors to be aware of.
For instance, Allianz (I was a brand ambassador for them for many years) offers an Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds new coverage related to epidemics, including Covid-19, to some of their top insurance plans. However, there are exceptions to this coverage, and policies do vary by state.
Many companies offer Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, which tends to be more expensive and comes with more flexibility. Those who purchase the coverage can use it for many reasons, including fear of travel. Usually, travelers must buy this coverage some time in advance of their departure date.
Required medical insurance
Several international destinations require proof of travel medical insurance to enter the country. Some countries have taken it a step further, like Aruba, which requires visitors to purchase a government-issued insurance policy to gain entry. You may also be required to have more coverage if you are not vaccinated.
Nations may also charge additional fees for tests and other Covid-19 related expenses. Check your destination to get a better understanding of what will be required. Suppose you have a very long layover (usually more than one day) or multiday stopover at one destination. In that case, you may still be required to purchase insurance, even if your final destination does not require it.
It is also a good idea to check your personal health insurance and its policies when traveling abroad. You may have coverage through your health insurance that will negate the need to buy medical insurance.
What happens if you test positive while abroad? While some countries were covering the cost to stay in a quarantine accommodation, this is changing. The best way to ensure that you'll be covered is to purchase travel insurance with added quarantine coverage.
If getting travel insurance is not an option, consider booking refundable flights and accommodations with no cancellation fee. While these may be extra, they at least provide some flexibility. Many airlines and hotels have adopted new policies during the pandemic, so it is best to check that your expected travel dates are covered if you must cancel.
Another practical option may be your credit card travel benefits. If you get sick or a doctor recommends that you not travel because of health reasons, you may be covered with your travel credit card. Additionally, if your trip gets canceled because of government restrictions, you may be more likely to get reimbursement for your losses.
You do have to book your travel with a qualifying credit card to get coverage. Each card's policy is different, so it is best to read the terms and conditions to know what is applicable.
Note that you will not be covered if you cancel your trip because you are nervous about travel (unless you also have CFAR coverage). Check your credit card's policies to learn more about what applies to you and your business.
To get the most coverage:
Compare options and purchase your travel insurance when booking your trip.
Make a plan for before, during, and after your travel.
Consider the possibility of having to quarantine.
While a travel agent can help you get what you need, there are other ways to add protection, including using a travel credit card and booking refundable tickets. Though adding extra travel coverage can be pricey, it may end up saving you thousands of dollars during times of much uncertainty.