COVID-19 has not only changed the landscape of how we travel but it has shined a light on the importance of travel insurance, how it works and how essential it has become.
How much of an increase have you seen in travelers purchasing travel insurance since COVID restrictions began?
Meghan Walch: When travel restrictions related to COVID-19 were first being publicized, we did see an uptick in sales of comprehensive travel insurance plans that offered optional Cancel For Any Reason protection.
As general comprehensive plans do not cover cancellation related to fear of travel due to the pandemic, purchasing a policy with the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade is the best way to have the most flexibility and be reimbursed a percentage (typically up to 50% or 75% depending on the plan) of their prepaid non-refundable trip cost in the event they had to cancel their trip for something other than a covered reason.
There are some requirements that must be fulfilled to be eligible for Cancel For Any Reason such as, purchasing the plan within 10-21 days after making your first payment/deposit towards the trip, insuring the full prepaid, non-refundable cost of the trip and you must cancel your trip no less than two days prior to the scheduled departure date.
Cancel For Any Reason is typically an optional coverage that will increase the cost of the policy if added, and is not available in all states.
How many types of travel insurance are available and which one is most commonly purchased by travelers today?
Meghan Walch: There are several types of travel insurance available to travelers based on their main concerns. First, there are comprehensive plans that offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage (due to covered reasons) as well as other benefits such as lost baggage, baggage delay, trip delay, emergency medical and emergency medical evacuation.
Some comprehensive plans offer optional Cancel for Any Reason protection, as described above if all eligibility requirements are met. These plans are available whether you are traveling within the US or abroad.
There are also Travel Medical plans, which focus mainly on emergency medical and emergency medical evacuation coverage while you are traveling outside of your home country.
Other plan types may offer just emergency medical evacuation or accidental death benefits. Today, we are seeing travelers purchasing both comprehensive and travel medical plans.
Which essential travel insurance should consumers be willing to spend the most money on?
If the traveler’s concern is having emergency medical coverage while outside of their home country, they can look at travel medical plans, which are typically less expensive as they don’t cover the cost of the trip. One thing to be mindful of with any plan is what’s covered and any exclusions that may limit or invalidate coverage for COVID-19 related issues.
Meghan Walch: This depends on what the traveler’s concerns are. If they are concerned with covering the cost of their trip and would like to have the flexibility to cancel due to fear of the virus, they would want to look at a comprehensive plan that offers optional Cancel For Any Reason. Standard comprehensive plans can cost between 7-10% of the trip cost with optional Cancel For Any Reason costing a bit more.
Do you think travel insurance is here to stay or do you think travelers will roll the dice after travel restrictions have been lifted?
Meghan Walch: Whether it be to protect your hard-earned travel investment or to help save you from costly medical bills if you suffer a covered illness or injury during your trip, as long as people continue to travel in some capacity, there will be the need for travel insurance.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of travel insurance regardless of a global pandemic and what plans are worth getting… here are some tips on travel insurance and how to get started.
Shop For Travel Insurance
Like most insurance policies it’s always a good idea to gather quotes from more than one trustworthy travel insurance agency. Some of the top travel insurance agencies include Allianz Travel Insurance, World Nomads, insurancequotes.com and InsureMyTrip.com.
Do Your Coverage Homework
In this article, we covered Cancel For Any Reason coverage but did you know that there is actually a new policy aptly named, Quarantine Coverage Policies? In the unfortunate event that you have to cancel your trip due to exposure to COVID-19 (and your physician requires a 14-day quarantine), you can be reimbursed for any travel plans that were thwarted as a direct result of a physician-directed quarantine.
How to Get Reimbursed
The process of getting reimbursed is just as important as your coverage. Especially if you can’t rely on your credit card companies to follow through as well. Ask about the process and if the hoops are too many, you may want to continue shopping around.
One thing is for certain, it’s better to be protected than sorry and with or without COVID-19 travel insurance is worth the cost of ensuring your trip is insured.
Author’s Bio: Angie Cavallari is a Lifestyle & Pop Culture Expert and author of Trailer Trash: an ’80s Memoir. She has authored thousands of blogs and articles with some of her work featured in Huffington Post, The Reset, Go World Travel, among others. When she is not traveling, she is spending time with her kids and her precocious pug, JJ.