Coronavirus no longer covered by some travel insurance companies
VANCOUVER -- As of March 4, some travel insurance companies will no longer cover you for trip cancellation and trip interruption because of the coronavirus - the risks are just too high, and insurance companies tend to be risk averse.
With the current volume of calls, even getting through to your travel insurer on the phone could be tough. Getting travel insurance to cover you for COVID-19? Even tougher.
B.C.-based insurer TUGO says: "As of March 4, 2020, we’ve identified COVID-19 (coronavirus) as a known circumstance. Because of this, we won’t provide any new coverage for this event."
The insurer says it’s no longer considered sudden and unexpected.
Manulife has taken the same stance.
"As of March 5, 2020, Manulife has determined that COVID-19 is now considered a known event and the applicable exclusion will be applied."
What about other companies?
Travel insurance broker Dan MacLellan says the trend will likely continue.
"If the two major travel insurance companies have already backed out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the rest of them follow suit."
He's right. Allianz Global Assistance has now joined in posting a statement on its website.
"As a result, any Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption claims related to coronavirus will not be payable if your policy was purchased on or after March 11, 2020.
If you purchased travel insurance prior to corona virus being added as an exclusion by the travel insurance companies, you’ll still be covered - but only if a travel advisory hadn’t been issued for the place you were planning to go to."
The Travel Health Association of Canada says an interruption to your trip, like being quarantined, would also be a risk covered under most plans.
In order to understand your coverage, the THiA advises asking a lot of questions. While trip cancellation and trip interruption may not cover the illness, medical travel insurance coverage could still take care of you if you get sick while away.
“Should an individual be hospitalized in the U.S. for a suspected COVID-19 infection, the costs could be significant, so it is important to remind travellers of the need to get this type of coverage before booking their trip,” said Will McAleer, Executive Director of the THIA.
For many consumers, including Donna Morrissey, who booked a trip to Spain and Portugal for April, deciding whether or not to go is a difficult decision.
"Most people are saying don’t chance it," she says. "If you can’t afford to lose thousands, don’t do it, because you’ve got to really, really read the fine print."
If you’re booking a trip now, you may want to consider adding on "cancel for any reason" insurance, which can be expensive.
What about travelling to countries like the U.S. where there’s no travel advisory - will you be covered there?
Some companies are still covering the virus for trip cancellation and trip interruption where there isn’t a travel advisory in place, but you’ve got to call around because that could change.
You can still get medical insurance as long as there isn't an advisory, and you definitely want that - if you get sick and are hospitalized, it can add up really fast.