Travel Insurance in COVID Times: How to Make Sure You Are Covered

Travel Insurance in COVID Times: How to Make Sure You Are Covered

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I’m getting ready to take my first international trip since February of 2020, and I realized that I’m not very prepared to do so. After 20 months of only traveling domestically – I’m out of practice. I’m specifically rusty on the continuously changing COVID testing rules, as well as the changing world of travel insurance. I had been blocking all of this out until I really needed to figure it out and the time has come.

I’m a procrastinator…even when it comes to travel! Don’t even get me started on my penchant for last minute packing!

There’s just so much to consider now when traveling in these COVID times, and it’s impossible to stay on top of everything. But a few weeks ago I had a message saying that my annual travel insurance plan was about to expire, so I was forced to get on top of travel insurance again and all of the new possible scenarios to consider now as we travel in a post pandemic world.

I binged on what all the latest things were in travel insurance, and researched all kinds of new scenarios. I’ve done all this research, so you hopefully don’t have to. We’re so busy these days and things change so fast, how can we stay on top of everything?

So when you need this. Here it is – things you need to know about travel insurance and epidemic coverage.

Should You Get Travel Insurance?

I’ve been using travel insurance since 2006 when I started traveling long term, however I know many people that always opt to not get it. However, with the pandemic, I’m pretty sure all of those people who normally refused travel insurance are now at least thinking about it as they make their future travel plans. Our world is unstable now, and who knows if we’ll ever feel stable again.

I personally am a believer in travel insurance – especially these days with the possibility of destinations closing their borders at a moments notice, cancelled flights, etc. In fact, my upcoming international flights have changed multiple times already since I booked them a few months ago.

Travel insurance will help with things like trip delays, cancellations, lost or delayed luggage, emergency medical care and transportation. In addition, there are many other perks such as concierge service, a great phone app for finding medical assistance in foreign countries, and rental car coverage.

Whatever you do – make sure you read through my 8 things you should do before you purchase travel insurance!

Learn more about the Travel Smart App and why it’s an essential part of my ‘packing list’ for every trip. Download the TravelSmart app here

Full Disclosure:
I am a member of the Allianz Ambassador Team. No – I’m not selling insurance – I’m just here to share my experiences with travel insurance and help educate people on the why I use it and how it may be able to help you save money and time. I’ve been using Allianz Travel Insurance plans for the past 5 years.

How Allianz Travel Insurance Covers Travel During COVID

No one saw COVID coming, not even travel insurance companies. However all travel insurance had terms in their plans that didn’t cover you in case of an epidemic – so none of them were really on the hook to pay out claims as the pandemic blew up around the world. However, even though they didn’t have to accommodate these customers – Allianz tried to.

“During the last 18 months, we’ve accommodated customers who contracted COVID and needed to cancel trips or medical assistance while traveling, but our plans had epidemics as an exclusion.”

Allianz Travel Insurance

They’ve also been working to refile their products to make this epidemic accommodation permanent. Now their plans will provide benefits for trip cancellation, medical expenses or trip interruption, should you or your travel companion become ill with COVID or any other new epidemic.

Allianz Partners USA announced the rollout of its new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds enhancements for new purchasers of some of its travel insurance products that may provide coverage to customers who become ill with COVID-19 or a future epidemic, are individually ordered to quarantine, or are denied boarding due to a suspected illness. This new coverage formalizes and adds to some of the temporary accommodations the company put into place in March 2020 to assist travelers who had been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

They added this epidemic-related coverage to some of their most popular insurance plans in response to COVID-19.

The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement Explained – With Examples!

The first and most important thing to note – benefits vary by plan and are not available in all states. Any time you are dealing with insurance – you have to read all the details, so please don’t assume that you read this and that it’s gospel – many things can affect benefits – so be thorough with your research before you buy.

In general Allianz’s epidemic coverage includes (note coverage amount depends on your benefit limits in your plan):

Trip Cancellation

If for example you must cancel your trip after being diagnosed with COVID-19. This also includes a serious illness suffered by a traveling companion or a family member. The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement also includes the serious illness of a family member who’s not traveling with you. Your trip cancellation can be covered if a family member is diagnosed with COVID-19 (or another epidemic disease) and their illness is considered life-threatening by a doctor or requires hospitalization.

Trip Interruption

If for example during your trip you are specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine (not including generally or broadly applicable quarantines).

Travel Delay

If for example you are denied boarding based on a suspicion that you are ill with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19.

Emergency Medical Care

If for example you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized while traveling.

Emergency Transportation

If for example you’re diagnosed with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19 while you’re traveling and you require an emergency medical evacuation.

Be sure to check out more great scenario examples that Allianz lists on this article – it really helped me understand what is and isn’t covered in scenarios that I hadn’t even considered!

From lost luggage coverage, to a sprained ankle, to a trip delay, to an epidemic – travel insurance can help, check it out for yourself; Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance.

Get a free quote for your next trip!

Cancel for Any Reason Insurance

Suddenly – this term ‘cancel for any reason’ has become a part of our travel vocabulary – but what does it mean?

Cancel for Any Reason insurance (CFAR) cover you if you cancel your trip due to a “fear of getting sick” or travel advisories. For example, if the COVID numbers are going up in the destination you are going to and you decide it’s too risky to travel there any longer and want to cancel – you will not be covered under typical plans.

However – you can purchase a CFAR plan separately after you purchase a base travel insurance plan. You normally need to get coverage within 14 to 21 days of your first trip payment. The deadline for adding CFAR will depend on the travel insurance company, and not all companies offer it.

With CFAR coverage, you can cancel your trip for any reason that’s not already a reason covered by your policy. You will generally be reimbursed for 50% or 75% of your pre-paid, forfeited and non-refundable trip costs. And you can Expect CFAR to add about 40% to your travel insurance cost.

Allianz does not offer any CFAR currently. To find places that do – check out this list.

But I still question – is CFAR really necessary?

Keep in mind that if you’re concerned about traveling due to COVID and need to cancel your trip, many airlines and other travel suppliers now allow you to change the dates of your travel without change fees (I’ve done this many times already!). So – even if you don’t have CFAR Coverage, you could just change your trip’s dates, and companies like Allianz will allow you to move your plan coverage dates to cover a new or rescheduled trip, so long as that trip is scheduled to be completed within 770 days from the plan’s original purchase date. This may allow you to just wait it out if you can financially do that.

Annual Plans Help You Save Money

When looking at travel insurance, make sure you consider (and run the numbers for) annual travel insurance plans. I use annual travel insurance; it’s the best way to get travel insurance if you travel frequently. If you do 3 or more trips a year – you’ll want to look into the Annual plans. OR – if you take a bunch of micro-cations/shorter domestic trips (think road trips, a weekend in a city that had a great airfare sale, a national park trip, or maybe even the new Rocky Mountaineer train trip through Colorado), you’ll want to consider an annual plan.

Allianz recently surveyed travelers about their micro-cation plans and found that 34% of Americans — more than one in three — were planning to take multiple shorter trips vs. the traditional week-long (or longer) vacation. Breaking down the results even further, of the 44 percent who said they would travel at the first opportunity, the majority (51 percent) said they would take multiple trips. The uncertainty that ebbs and flows around the pandemic has prompted more American travels to eye domestic itineraries, which are typically shorter.

Why consider an annual plan? Because you’ll save money. If you take just three trips in a year, going with an annual travel insurance plan is more cost-effective than buying three separate plans. For my upcoming trip I looked at renewing my annual plan for approximately $140 a year, or buying a single trip coverage for approximately $45. Knowing that I have many more trips coming up over the next 12 months, it was a no-brainer to just renew my annual policy.

I personally think annual travel insurance plans are the best thing that has happened in the travel industry in recent years! I’m sure that’s because I travel a lot and often found myself getting yet another single trip plan…just another thing to remember on my travel checklist.

And the good news is that the Allianz annual plans have added the epidemic coverage endorsements!

It’s easy to get a quote and do the math, so before you buy single trip coverage – check into the cost of annual coverage too so you can make the most economical decision.

To read all about why I chose an annual plan and why you should consider it read my past article here – I have a pretty thorough article on it that I wrote right before the pandemic and much of it still applies!

Travel Insurance Questions From Readers

I recently asked you what questions you had about travel insurance and I collected a few of them.

Will it cover a COVID quarantine if you test positive and can’t get back in to the US? From @brakercarol
Answer: The Allianz plans do have that coverage as part of their Epidemic Coverage Endorsement. If you are looking at other plans, check them carefully.

Do you still have more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!

Sunset on my SFO to JFK flight

Note: Please make sure you read all of the fine print and ask your questions of agents when you are purchasing travel insurance. As with all insurance you buy – the devil is in the details.

I’m Ready to Travel Internationally!

Now since I have reacquainted myself with travel insurance changes, I think I’m all ready to go! I’ll be letting you know where I’m heading in my upcoming newsletter so be sure to sign up and follow along in my social channels!

Now I just have to find where I put my passport!

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