Will there be a change in travel insurance?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

During the earlier stages of the pandemic, travel insurance companies fell over themselves to introduce clauses saying that new policies wouldn’t pay out due to the pandemic. With exisiting policies you would need to check if you had coverage.

How useful are travel insurance policies in a pandemic?

It became quite obvious that insurance cover was something of concern to travellers.

Some insurance and travel companies announced that they would introduce clauses that would cover the traveller. Saga altered their policies so that treatment abroad for Covid-19 and repatriation to the UK will be included as standard.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has launched a new insurance policy called 5* Defaqto which includes added Covid-19 cover for cancellations and medical claims abroad. This policy not only gives cover  if you contract it whilst abroad but provides cancellation cover should a customer or another individual on the booking test positive for Covid-19 up to 14 days before travel.  You would also be covered if a customer or another individual on the booking is hospitalised due to Covid-19 up to 28 days before travel and also if a customer or someone else on the booking is not allowed to board their flight as a result of a positive Covid-19 test or raised temperature. 

The airline Emirates is offering free medical cover and will pay quarantine costs for passengers who contract Covid-19 during their journey. The airline will cover medical bills up to €150,000 euros and the costs of quarantine of up to €100 per day for 14 days. It is valid for all destinations and all classes of travel. Emirates said the policy is effective immediately for customers travelling until 31 October 2020 and is valid for 31 days from departure.

Co-operatively, the Canary Islands has introduced a policy that will cover all visitors who did not know they had the virus and do not have personal insurance to cover the costs. Underwritten by AXA, the policy says that if there is a positive test for COVID-19, then the traveller has cover for all related medical expenses, health repatriation and extension of stays due to quarantine related regulations. However, it will not cover cases if known prior to travel.

Portugal also has a national policy for incoming travellers but this one – unlike that of the Canaries – is one who have to pay for but why wouldn’t? It covers, among others, medical, surgical, pharmaceutical and hospital expenses associated with Covid-19. The policy also covers the expenses of cancellation, interruption, or extension of travel due to the same pandemic.

The move by both the Canaries and Portugal is indicative of the efforts that countries and destinations are going to try and boost tourism at a time of difficulty. The idea isn’t new as Thailand considered it a few years ago and it was suggested in Tunisia after the 2015 terrorist attacks.

But it may be the way forward to help international travellers more confidence about travelling and, as a percentage of the monies that destinations make, is probably a drop in  the ocean. In the future there could be more destination backed travel insurance schemes.

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