With the outbreak of Coronavirus, you might be
worried about your travel plans. This article’s intention is to offer some
insight to assist you with the decisions you may need to make and the choices
that you have available as well as travel insurance considerations.
Are You Insured to Cancel Your Trip?
You’re unlikely to be insured for cancelation
due to something as trivial as worry unless you have purchased a policy that
allows you to cancel for any reason (CFAR).
If your policy includes CFAR, know that you
will still only be able to claim a percentage of your costs – the coverage will
be stated within your policy documentation.
Most policies exclude coverage or cancelation
for epidemics or pandemics, but they may cover non-medical evacuation should
governmental organizations call for it. To find out exactly what you are and
are not covered for, you need to read the fine print in your policy.
Your operator, airline, or hotel, rather than
your insurance company, may offer some alternatives to destinations or may
allow you to re-schedule, but there may be a cost for you to do this. At the
moment, in the case of those China-centric bookings, you may find a more
Travel operators don’t want to lose money, so
they are more likely to alter the itinerary under current health guidelines and
ensure that adequate health precautions and controls are being undertaken.
If the itinerary is changed to avoid effected
areas and complies with guidelines, then, in their eyes, there is no reason to
Neither operators nor insurance companies will
offer you financial recompense because you no longer want to travel. This policy
sounds harsh if you are fearful, but if operators started to offer refunds
because travelers changed their minds, they wouldn’t be in business for long.
Should You Travel?
If you’re left with the choice of traveling or
losing your money, you might feel uncomfortable, but I would advise you to take
some time and find out the real risks.
A new virus is a great story and one that the
media love. Sensational quarantine stories and charting the spread of the virus
all make great headlines, but it’s only the facts that are going to allow you
to make an informed decision.
The WHO (World Health Organization), the CDC
(Centre for Disease Control), and your government’s travel bulletin are the
sources you should seek to get clear, factual, up-to-date advice.
Apart from travel to China, no travel
restrictions have been advised, and it’s important to remember that this virus
is less deadly than the flu. It’s newsworthy because it’s new.
Therefore, common sense and normal hygiene
protocols apply: wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and cough or sneeze
into your elbow to avoid contaminating your hands.
If you are at the stage of planning your next
trip, then it’s evident that travel to China is not advisable. If you’re considering
a tour or cruise that includes China, you’ll notice that operators have already
made changes; find out what these are before discounting it as an option.
As for travel to other parts of Asia, gateways
are being strictly monitored and current travel advice is not precluding
travel. Precautions are in place to restrict the spread of the virus, but
ultimately, the choice is yours. If you choose to book, carefully consider your
If you’re feeling fearful at this stage, then
it might be best that you choose another destination. With the spread of any
new virus, it will hit a peak before it plateaus and infection rates drop.
We are not at that stage yet, so unless you can
afford to lose money in the event you no longer want to travel, then another
vacation option might be less worrisome for you.
Why Bother with Travel Insurance?
Holiday insurance is as vital to your holiday as
reading the small print is to getting the coverage you want and need.
While you are unlikely to be covered for
wanting to cancel your trip because you are worried, you are very likely to be
covered for trip interruption, if quarantine causes a missed connection, or if
the situation requires evacuation.
And holiday insurance goes beyond what your
domestic health policy, Medicare, or credit card will allow, plus it covers
more than health.
In a similar vein, operators often offer their
insurance policies, and while they may cover you for postponement costs, they
won’t cover you comprehensively for health and other issues.
It’s important not to rely on feeling healthy
either. Yes, you might be vital, but sprightly individuals can still have
accidents, be victims of theft, lose their luggage, or be unfortunate enough to
be caught up in other unforeseen events.
Only specific holiday insurance covers the full
gambit. Simply put, it’s important to understand the limitations of the policy
that you are buying and to ensure that you buy a product that covers the
elements that you require.
Yes, it’s a cost, but it’s part of the cost of
going on holiday – like the transfer to your hotel –
and not a cost that’s supplemental to your holiday – like using a limo instead
of a bus!
I invite you to book a 30-Minute Complimentary Exotic
Travel Planning Session. If you are not ready to start planning, you
can still get your free Guide to Money Saving
What policy do you buy when you’re planning a
vacation? Have you had to deal with an epidemic while abroad? Would you cancel
a trip because of a disease outbreak? Please share your thoughts with the