The coronavirus is causing a global panic. The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China has already claimed 213 lives and it continues to spread. In an effort to slow down the contagion, airlines around the world have suspended all flights to China. This has caused a lot of people to ask the same question: Will my travel insurance cover these canceled flights? Predictably, the answer is a bit complicated.
Many airlines have relaxed their cancellation policies and offered affected passengers credit towards a future flight. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for insurers. Many travelers are learning the hard way that their travel insurance does not cover an outbreak like the coronavirus.
Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com spoke with CNN about this issue. “While many travel insurance plans provide for cancellation for an airline shut-down in services due to a mechanical failure, adverse weather or natural disaster, they do not provide for an airline shut-down due to the coronavirus outbreak,” said Sandberg.
The good news is that some travel insurance policies will cover the costs, but not all. If a travel insurance policy was purchased before the outbreak became what is called a “known event” than many plans purchased before that time will provide coverage. The current date the insurance industry is using for the virus becoming a known event is January 21, 2020.
Some travel insurance policies include a clause called Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR). If your policy includes CFAR coverage, you will likely be able to recoup some of the costs of a flight that was canceled due to the coronavirus.
Of course, airlines are not the only travel industry to be adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Hotel chains are dealing with massive amounts of cancellations. Luckily, major hotel chains like IHG, Marriott and Accor have all pledged to waive cancellation fees for those who had rooms booked around China.
Aside from airline travelers, cruise passengers are another large group dealing with the fallout of this virus. Major cruise lines like MSC, Costa and Royal Caribbean are all canceling any planned sails to China, and have promised to create more stringent passenger screening methods to avoid any contaminated passengers boarding their ships.
If you are a traveler with plans to go to China in the near future, be sure to check all your travel plans. If there was ever a time to purchase a robust travel insurance policy, this is it. Be sure to do your research before purchasing so you can be sure you have the coverage you need.
To learn more about a travel insurance policy, we encourage you to reach out to the staff at TGS Insurance. They are experts in their field and are always willing to work with you to find the right policy, at the right budget. Visit www.tgsinsurance.com to learn more.