Travel Insurance & Coronavirus

Last updated on 05/09/2024

Travel Insurance for Coronavirus Pandemic

Table of Contents

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed many aspects of travel. Over the past few years, destinations have reopened, travelers have regained confidence, and the need for travel insurance has become even clearer.

To best help travelers prepare for their next trip, InsureMyTrip is here to answer your questions and help you find the right coverage for your unique travel plans.

To compare policies that may offer coverage for COVID-19 related issues, simply start a quote based on your unique travel details and select the "Top Picks for COVID-19" filter under Plan Type on the quote results page.

Does Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus Pandemic?

On January 21, 2020, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) became a named event, which affects the travel insurance coverage available for new policies purchased.

For those purchasing travel insurance AFTER 1/21/2020 (exceptions may apply if traveling to a country with a Travel Health Notice issued by the CDC) benefits included in comprehensive coverage may apply in the following unforeseen scenarios:

  • Emergency Medical Coverage: a sick traveler must see a doctor and/or go to the hospital during a trip.
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage: in rare cases, a sick traveler requires an emergency medical evacuation to the nearest appropriate hospital or back home for recuperation.
  • Trip Interruption: an extremely sick traveler cannot continue with a trip and must return home.
  • Cancel For Any Reason: offers travelers the most cancellation flexibility and is the only coverage option available to cover fear of travel. This benefit is time-sensitive and has other eligibility requirements, so not all travelers will qualify.

InsureMyTrip makes it easy for travelers to compare policies that may offer coverage for COVID-19 related issues. To view the plans best suited to guard against COVID-19-related travel concerns, simply start a quote and select the "Top Picks for COVID-19" filter under Plan Type on the quote results page.

Some plans may exclude epidemics/pandemics and may not provide coverage for related issues. Please be sure to read the plan details carefully before purchasing.

Remember that travel insurance helps to cover unexpected events. Similar to a weather event, once an event becomes a "known" event, it may not be a covered reason for cancellation if a traveler purchases insurance after that date.

If you have an existing policy and need to make a claim, or have questions about your current coverage, please reach out to your insurance provider. Travelers can read further on how to file a travel insurance claim here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Travel Insurance Cover for COVID-19?

For those purchasing travel insurance for future travel, benefits included in comprehensive coverage may apply in the following unforeseen scenarios:

  • Emergency Medical Coverage
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage
  • Trip Interruption
  • Cancel For Any Reason (optional, time-sensitive benefit)

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, many traditional travel insurance companies have expanded or adapted their existing coverage for travelers. In addition to the coverages above, examples of these may include:

  • Reimbursement for covered medical treatment during a trip due to a COVID-19 illness
  • Get sick with COVID-19 and must cancel a trip by physician’s order
  • Physician orders a quarantine before trip
  • Lost a job during the coronavirus pandemic by no-fault of your own

For travelers concerned with cancellation, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) offers the most trip cancellation flexibility and is the only option available to cover fear of travel. CFAR is an optional, time-sensitive benefit with eligibility requirements, so not all travelers will qualify. Full terms of coverage will be listed in state-specific policy. If eligibility requirements are met, reimbursement may be up to 50%-75% of the insured pre-paid non-refundable trip cost.

If purchasing a plan specifically for COVID-19 related concerns, we remind travelers to carefully review their policy to understand their coverage. InsureMyTrip’s COVID-19 recommendation tool is now part of the quote process and can be selected to help guide travelers toward the plans best suited for these coronavirus-related travel concerns. Our licensed representatives are also available to read the fine print for travelers and explain the exclusions.

What Travel Insurance Can Help Cover the Costs in the Event I Must Cancel a Trip?

If you're concerned about government travel restrictions, Cancel For Any Reason coverage is the best option for potentially getting a portion of your expenses back. Also, check with travel suppliers if they offer any refund or travel vouchers.

If I Get Sick with COVID-19 During a Trip, Does Emergency Medical Coverage Cover Me?

It may. Some travel insurance plans do offer emergency medical benefits in the event a traveler gets ill during a trip and must visit a doctor or hospital.

InsureMyTrip’s recommendation tool simplifies the search for travel insurance plans that may offer coverage for COVID-19 related issues. This new tool guides travelers towards plans best suited to guard against COVID-19-related travel concerns as part of the quote process.

Medical plans and coverage to consider include:

  • Travel Medical Insurance is offered either as part of comprehensive travel insurance plans or can be purchased as a stand-alone plan. These plans only offer coverage while traveling outside of your home country. Before purchasing emergency medical coverage, we strongly recommend that you first contact your regular health insurance provider to inquire about global benefits and how your benefits apply when you are outside of your home country.
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage provides transport assistance in the event that you become seriously ill or injured while traveling. Generally, these plans provide emergency medical evacuation to the nearest appropriate care facility if the assistance company and the physician feel you’d be better suited at a different facility. For those who want to ensure transport to the hospital of their choice, travelers may want to consider also purchasing an air medical transport membership. If hospitalized during your trip, this membership may provide transport to a hospital of your choice, often closer to home, without it being determined as "medically necessary" as required on typical travel insurance plans. (For medical transport memberships, some destination restrictions may apply for evacuations related to COVID-19.)
  • Trip Interruption Coverage is included in travel insurance comprehensive plans. It’s a benefit that offers travelers reimbursement of their pre-paid, non-refundable expenses should they unexpectedly need to cut their travels short. However, there are exclusions for this, so be sure to review your policy carefully.

Travelers with specific questions about coverage should contact our Customer Care team at 800-487-4722 for assistance in finding the right coverage for their unique travel plans.

My Trip was Canceled by My Travel Supplier. Can My Travel Insurance be Refunded?

Unfortunately, travel insurance is non-refundable after the review period listed on the policy (usually 10-14 days from the purchase of the plan). In typical situations, however, many insurance providers will offer to transfer your policy to a future trip. You can use this Policy Change Request Form to request a transfer of your policy.

As the COVID-19 situation is continuing to evolve, some travel insurance companies are considering refunds for customers who can prove that their trip was canceled by their travel supplier. If your trip was canceled by your travel supplier, you can use this Cancellation/Refund Request Form to request a refund of your premium. Our Customer Care team will then reach out to your provider to see if they will allow it.

What If My Travel Supplier Goes Out of Business?

The impact of the coronavirus goes beyond medical as concern grows over the long-term financial impact on the travel industry. Travelers may consider seeking financial default coverage as a precautionary measure in the event their travel supplier becomes financially insolvent. This specific coverage is already included in many comprehensive travel insurance plans and is designed to help travelers in the event their travel supplier has stopped business operations due to financial reasons. Usually, airlines, cruise lines, and tour companies are the kind of suppliers whose financial default would be covered under your travel insurance plan. Financial default coverage reimburses in-full only if you are unable to make alternate arrangements to continue with your travel plans. If you’re able to book another flight, for example, your benefits would then be adjusted according to the specific terms of your policy. This benefit is time-sensitive and the time period varies by plan and provider. Review your policy carefully or call our Customer Care team with questions about this type of coverage.

How is Domestic Travel Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?

There are currently no domestic restrictions for domestic travelers taking trips within the United States regardless of vaccination status.

For those travelers concerned about the rules associated with particular states, please see InsureMyTrip’s guide to Pandemic Travel Restrictions By State.

How is International Travel Affected by the COVID-19 Outbreak?

In 2020, confirmed cases of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread across the world. However, 2021 saw a significant rollout of vaccines and global travel was largely restored. The situation continues to be fluid, so travelers are reminded to review the information, restrictions, and requirements for their specific destination prior to departure.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak constitutes a pandemic. Because of this, many countries implemented travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closed borders, and prohibited non-citizens from entry with little notice in advance. For current information, please refer to this COVID-19 travel outlook map from On Call, which aggregates credible intelligence in key areas that impact the decision of when to resume travel.

In the United States, the Department of State has issued various travel advisories. Travelers are encouraged to review these advisories, and the corresponding COVID-19 Traveler Information page, before considering international travel. Due to the fluidity of the situation, these advisories and guidelines may change at any time. U.S. residents looking to travel domestically are advised to read about the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions per state before departing.

Additional requirements and restrictions continue to change for international destinations.

Air Travel Information

Research has revealed air travel may be safer than some travelers assume. While there are still COVID-19 risks associated with flying, the air quality on a commercial airline is high. This is because the air inside the cabin is refreshed every 2-4 minutes, with half of it being circulated with fresh outside air and the other half sent through a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter.

As of April 2022, most major U.S. airlines have made mask wearing optional.

Airline policies are constantly changing in this fluid situation, so please check directly with your airline before traveling for the latest procedures and information.

For more information and the latest guidance on safe travel practices, please refer to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Cruise Information & Frequently Asked Questions

As of July 18, 2022, the CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships is no longer in effect. However, they are committed to providing guidance to help cruise ships and travelers enjoy a safe and healthy experience onboard.

Please be aware that cruise lines and ships may have their own guidance regarding COVID-19. Always check with your cruise line before leaving home to ensure you are aware of all requirements and travel recommendations.

Do I Need Special Insurance for My Cruise?

Due to the unique nature of traveling by cruise ship, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel insurance is strongly recommended for all travelers. Depending on the plan, cruise travel insurance can protect against missed connections, an emergency evacuation, unexpected medical issues, baggage loss, and more.

Licensed travel insurance agents at InsureMyTrip are available by chat, email, or phone to answer questions regarding cruise-specific coverage. As a travel insurance marketplace, InsureMyTrip strongly encourages cruisers to compare coverage limits and get expert recommendations prior to making any travel insurance purchase.

If I get sick and quarantined on a cruise ship, does travel insurance cover me?

Possibly. Companies have different requirements for what is considered "quarantined", so it is important to read your policy or call to clarify coverage.

If I'm not sick and quarantined on a cruise ship, does travel insurance cover me?

Possibly. Like cruisers who get sick and are quarantined, those who are not sick but are still quarantined are subject to the same guidelines as defined by the provider and policy.

If I get sick with coronavirus on a cruise ship, will travel insurance help evacuate me?

It is extremely rare for travel assistance companies to arrange for evacuation from a cruise ship. Typically, you have to be hospitalized first and the assistance company will work with the attending physician to arrange transportation to another hospital, or back home if required.

If I get sick with coronavirus on a cruise ship, who pays my medical bills?

If a traveler gets sick on a cruise ship and requires medical care, he or she may be able to file a claim with their travel insurance company to request reimbursement. It is important to keep all receipts and detailed documentation related to medical care received while on your trip.

If my cruise line cancels a cruise due to coronavirus, does travel insurance cover me?

Cancel For Any Reason selected, they may be able to be refunded a portion (typically 50-75%) of their insured pre-paid non-refundable trip cost if the cruise line cancels the cruise prior to departure and they decide to cancel their entire trip. Cancel For Any Reason is a time-sensitive benefit with some eligibility requirements, and you must cancel at least 2 days prior to departure.

What if I'm afraid to go on an upcoming cruise due to coronavirus?

Coverage is very limited, as typical travel insurance policies don't cover fear of travel. If the traveler has purchased a plan with optional Cancel For Any Reason selected, they may be able to be refunded a portion (typically 50-75%) of their insured pre-paid non-refundable trip cost if there is fear of traveling due to coronavirus prior to departure. Cancel For Any Reason is a time-sensitive benefit with some eligibility requirements, and you must cancel at least 2 days prior to departure.

PCR Tests & Traveler Requirements

To help you prepare for your next trip, or your return home, we recommend using the below tool to locate an available testing facility. Users can filter by turnaround time, ranging from 24 hours to over 72 hours, and type of service.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests have been proven to be the most reliable for identifying active COVID-19 infections and are the most widely accepted type of test. While this test generally takes around 72 hours for results, some facilities have introduced "rapid PCR tests," where results can be received in as few as 30 minutes. However, these tests are often more costly.

Before traveling, be sure to check your specific destination to see if a particular type of test is required. Planning ahead is also strongly recommended, particularly if you need a test before departing. If you have a tight schedule, remember that some test facilities may take slightly longer than the standard 72 hours, so considering a location with a shorter turnaround time may be advisable.

Find a COVID-19 Testing Center Near You

Additional Travel Advice for Coronavirus

Stay informed of the latest information on COVID-19 by referring to:

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article serves as a general overview of benefits and should only be used for informational purposes. Refer to your individual certificate of insurance for specific coverages, exclusions, and benefits. When in doubt, please contact one of our licensed agents for additional assistance.