With so many countries outside of China now reporting cases of Coronavirus, travelers are wondering what to do about their travel plans. Should they cancel their holidays, flights, and cruises? Should they obtain insurance policies, and how? Will they receive refunds for canceled trips? Read on to get some answers to these important questions.
If you are about to book a holiday or a flight, the main industry bodies always recommend that you book with trustworthy companies and make sure you have the right amount of coverage especially if there are pre-existing conditions. Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance seems to be the best option at the moment, as it also covers “travel fears.” However, please make sure you check with your insurance provider as this kind of protection must be purchased within a certain time after having booked a trip. (Allianz Insurance has offered a clear comparison between Covered Reasons Insurance and Cancel for Any Reason).
They also always recommend checking the travel recommendations issued by your country’s government officials. Insurance companies will not cover you if you have ignored your country’s travel recommendations. Travel agencies and airlines must follow the respective government officials’ travel recommendations.
It’s always recommended you speak with your insurance provider or travel agency before booking a trip.
The ABI (Association of British Insurers) has put together a clear Q&A on the Coronavirus outbreak.
Insubuy insurance also fetaures a very detailed page about Coronavirus coverage and International Travel Insurance which includes already booked and future travel.
Important: Please note that it is very unlikely you will be awarded compensation if you cancel your holiday or flight if you don’t have sufficient travel insurance coverage and if there aren’t any specific travel restrictions from government officials..
As the Coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented situation, it’s very important to check each individual case with your airlines, travel insurance policy, tour operators, hotels etc.
If a flight is canceled due to the Coronavirus, this will fall under the same cancellation policy as “extreme weather conditions.” In this case and depending on each individual airline, you should be able to receive compensation/new flight.
CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) has issued a statement of a free refund policy for all flights booked by January 28, 2020 at 00:00.
Most airlines, e.g.,American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and British Airways, have issued waivers for flights booked to specific destinations. JetBlue is now the first airline to offer waivers for flights booked between February 27 and March 11, 2020 to all their destinations.
We highly recommend checking with each individual airline to find out their policy on the matter.
The cruise industry has been highly affected by the outbreak and has taken measures to prevent new cases. The CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) has issued a statement which provides details on their prevention policy. These policies will continue changing as the situation develops. Please make sure to check with your cruise company before traveling.
Lastly, please be mindful that if country borders are closed during your travels and you are unable to continue your planned itinerary, the insurance company is under no obligation to cover claims as these would be decisions made by the individual countries. Once again, please speak to your insurance company about this before traveling.
As the position regarding the virus is developing and evolving on a daily basis, please note that the above is only short-term advice and further information may be available from additional medical sources. It is therefore particularly important for everyone to ensure that they keep themselves up to date with all the latest information from official websites.