Travel insurance became a more critical part of plans during the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the elimination of many travel-related restrictions, travel cancellation and interruption insurance coverage is still more important than ever, especially with the number of delays and flight cancellations we have. seeing.
“What has come out of this pandemic is the popularity of two new insurance products that were always there, but not necessarily of interest to many people, and which are now cancellation and trip interruption,” said Martin Firestone, President of Travel Secure. Inc. Yahoo Canada. “The reason is because of all the issues that happen there with flight delays and canceled flights and lost luggage and all that kind of stuff.”
“Insurance is playing a key role here, at least you know you have a policy, you have a claim number and you can claim with the insurance company for costs incurred, a lost bag … You are allowed up to $900 per person for essentials and things like that… People now realize that you can’t depend on the airline to compensate you or refund you, so insurance takes on a whole new perspective.”
How are COVID-19 issues handled through travel insurance?
While previously travelers had to look out for a COVID-19 rider, or a limit on expenses related to COVID-19, this is no longer the case, with insurers treating it like “any other unexpected medical emergency”. according to Firestone. .
“You have to know that they don’t see the danger that they once saw,… long ago when we talked about COVID you ended up in an emergency room, in a hospital, on a ventilator and in some cases, in the US. , that could be half a million dollars accumulated very quickly,” he said. “So that’s why they said if you want protection for COVID, you have to buy an additional policy that covers you.”
But there are still a few things to keep in mind in terms of what actually constitutes an acceptable claim related to COVID-19.
“Covid is a known cause when it comes to cancellation insurance, meaning you can cancel your trip if you get sick with COVID within 14 days before it, so this is an acceptable claimable reason, I came up with COVID I can’t go. ,” Firestone explained. “However, nothing else will be covered related to COVID.”
“You’re not going to be able to put in a request and say, the place I’m going to have another wave and it’s so bad I don’t want to go, not an answer. In the country we are going to, they closed the border, I can’t go there without a cover. Our country, Canada, has issued a Level 3 or 4 advisory for COVID, not covered. So it’s very important…to understand that the only reason covered in a travel cancellation claim, related to COVID, is if you actually got it.”
Once a traveler departs for their travels, which no longer falls under the cancellation portion of the policy, which falls into discontinuance.
“If you were to get COVID on that trip, … the discontinuance will still cover your lodging, expenses and rebooking your flight home if you missed your flight,” Firestone said.
What should travelers look for in a travel insurance policy?
Firestone points out that when travelers are looking for travel insurance, it’s extremely important to really understand the specifics of the policy, including getting information from professional brokers, as unforeseen travel issues are a major concern.
“They just have to be very savvy, there’s a lot of fine print, there’s a lot of things they have to understand when they buy it,” Firestone said. “It’s not as simple as clicking a button now on the Expedias of the world and saying, I’m going to get the insurance…I think you have to understand what you’re getting and what’s covered and what’s not covered. “
“If you just wait to bide your time and then get a nice letter from [the insurer] it suggests that this is not covered, then you will be frustrated.”
Firestone also points out that cancellation and trip interruption, which is often a package deal, are “primary” for travel planning, reinforced as we continue to hear horror stories of travelers stranded without a flight home.
“You never know if your flight is going to be delayed, you never know if you’re going to miss it, and the problem with airlines, as we all know now, is that compensation is a bit of a joke,” Firestone said. “They’re just debating whether it was a security and personnel issue, and therefore it’s not their responsibility, so they shouldn’t have to pay the claim.”
“With cancellation…you state the amount that you will be able to submit at the time of the claim that shows 100 percent, the non-refundable amounts that you paid, that the end user said, if you can’t get here, you’re going to be responsible for or we’re not giving you any of your money back, that’s the key… I think the new world has people, when they travel now, not only looking for medical emergencies, but also cancellations and disruptions, also baggage for that also has importance.”
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