Travel Insurance 2021: Everything You Need To Know And How To Choose The Best Policy
Even if it’s not as easy as it used to be, it is still possible to find comprehensive travel insurance even during a pandemic.
Here we answer the most frequently asked questions about choosing travel insurance in 2021, from looking for specialist providers for “no-go” destinations to reporting a claim.
Will insurers require a vaccination certificate or certificate?
There was a lot of debate on the effectiveness and ethics of vaccine “passports” or certificates that would allow people with the coronavirus vaccination to travel abroad.
While most governments don’t yet have to announce how they would actually work, some tour operators are already demanding the vaccine from customers who want to travel with them.
No travel insurer has yet included Covid vaccinations in its fine print, but this may change depending on government action. If the European Union makes vaccination compulsory for holidays in EU countries, for example, the health insurance companies must impose this on their customers.
Do travel insurance policies cover pandemics?
After the WHO announced on March 11 that the coronavirus was a global pandemic, many travel insurance companies said they would not cover claims related to COVID-19. However, almost all providers assume the medical costs for incidents related to COVID-19 during the vacation, provided that there is no non-essential travel advice for the destination before departure.
Insurance price comparison website Compare the Market said that all of the travel insurance policies listed on their website are “likely to cover claims related to COVID-19 for emergency medical and repatriation costs”. Note, however, that not all Compare the Market policies cover non-medical issues such as flight or hotel cancellations (see below for more information).
My country does not have a travel corridor with my chosen holiday destination. Can I get travel insurance?
It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you are planning to travel to a destination that is not on your country’s approved airlift list, most insurance companies will not cover you.
However, there are a handful of specialist providers that offer insurance for “no-go” targets during COVID-19, such as Battleface and Wild Frontiers.
What if my government advises against traveling to my destination after I arrive? Will my insurance policy be invalid?
If a government removes a destination from its travel corridor list while you are on vacation (and you bought insurance before you depart), your policy should still be in place. Check with your provider before taking out insurance and only contact a company that is willing to provide coverage for this situation.
Is there any travel insurance that covers travel cancellation or interruption due to COVID-19?
While most companies that issue travel insurance during COVID-19 will cover urgent medical care and repatriation, they are unlikely to cover other COVID-related issues such as flight or hotel cancellations. However, if your package tour, flights or accommodation is canceled due to COVID-19, you can usually request a refund directly from the airline, hotel or tour operator or postpone your trip.
If I want to cancel my trip because of COVID-19, does my insurance have to cover the costs?
It depends. If you knowingly booked a vacation to a destination that does not have essential government travel advice and then changed your mind, your insurance is unlikely to cover you.
According to independent financial advisor Defaqto, three-quarters of plans in the UK cover a pre-trip cancellation due to a positive Covid test.
If a last minute change in government recommendations forces you to cancel your vacation, you may be able to file a claim.
However, if the government no longer advises against travel to your final destination on the day of your departure, and you have chosen not to travel, your decision would likely be classified as a “reluctance to travel”. Then it is likely that you are not covered by your travel insurance.
Even if you have decided against a trip due to the risk of the self-isolation provisions coming into force, this can also be rated as a “reluctance to travel”.
However, as always, this depends entirely on your provider and you should check with them directly.
Will my insurance remain valid even if I have to be quarantined abroad?
If you need to extend your stay for reasons beyond your control (e.g. if you are unexpectedly quarantined while on vacation), some companies will automatically extend your policy and cover any additional costs for your stay. However, not all insurance companies do this, so it is best to do a detailed study of your policy’s disruption coverage.
Should I take out a domestic trip or a weekend getaway?
Since the travel rules are so unpredictable at the moment we would recommend it, yes. Almost all annual travel insurances cover such trips and most of them also cover you for canceling a vacation if your Covid test is positive before the trip.
It is worth checking whether your policy contains provisions on the length of the trip. A holiday provider with flexible booking conditions may be the best choice.
Choosing the right insurance for 2021
Get the right policy for you, wherever you want
Would you like to travel to a country that is on a no-go list? Do you need an insurance company that covers people over 65? Do you have any previous illnesses? Would you like a one-time or an annual policy? These questions will help you determine what type of policy you need and will help you refine your search.
Do your research – and always read the fine print
It has never been more important to read the terms and conditions. Once you’ve identified your insurance needs, take a close look at each policy to see if it covers each base.
If the documentation is not clear or does not cover essential points like the above, call the company and ask your questions. Reading recent customer reviews can also help determine if the company is adhering to its policies, easily accepting legitimate claims, and so on.
Comprehensive interference protection is the key
Most insurance companies cover medical emergencies, but the best policies offer comprehensive coverage. This means that the insurance not only helps you in the event of illness, but can also reimburse you for delays, forced stays or missed departures.
Consider canceling coverage for any reason
If you really want the greatest possible flexibility in canceling a trip, it pays to switch to a cancellation for any reason policy also known as CFAR.
Reimbursement is typically between 50 and 75 percent of prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, but it adds to the cost of the plan.
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