Travel Insurance which covers COVID-19?

Matt_01

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In regard to when to take the insurance, for an annual multi-trip, the answer partly depends on what you have pre-paid and whether you can get a refund/credit for amounts you have paid. If you are not at risk of loosing any $, then no need to purchase the insurance at this stage. However, once you expend significant, non-refundable $$$, you need to consider whether you would be happy to loose the $ or want them covered by insurance.
The main reason we had travel insurance was for medical coverage, I never really thought of the non refundable component as I generally will not pay in advance. Pre covid our drill was simple it was to get Mrs & MissM rewards flights sorted, book refundable accommodation and then monitor for the refundable special/ location offers. Using this approach I have found that booking accomodation (refundable) around the 9, 7 or 4 months out seems to be the sweet spot and is often cheaper and better value than what the booking sites have on offer 2-4 weeks out. In saying this I have cancelled and rebooked with the aggregators if the savings were significant. As for my flight, I just wait for the routine sale fares be it QF, CX, JL or any other OW carrier when I thought the fare is reasonable (lowest) some times I was right other times I got it wrong.

As we had rolling family insurance coverage many of the points that you raise are valid considerations and well worth a second thought given we are now starting from scratch, again.
There is no 'required' time to purchase insurance. You can even get cover after you have left Australia and commenced your trip

As Jaques Vert points out however, cover only starts from the time the policy is paid. Any pre-existing matters at the time the policy is paid - whether health or logistics-based - will be excluded.
I did not know that you could purchase TI once a trip has started, can a policy can be backdated and paid for, I have no issue with this I just did not know this was available.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I did not know that you could purchase TI once a trip has started, can a policy can be backdated and paid for, I have no issue with this I just did not know this was available.

It can't be backdated in the sense that cover only commences from the day you pay. This includes any pre-existing issues - so you can't get hit by a bus and take out cover while on the way to the hospital, or take out cover for lost luggage after yours has failed to arrive!
 
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So I'm googling flights for Christmas in UK and phantom booking on Webjet offered this for Insurance which is very helpful

View attachment 261645

That's pretty much what we're hearing will be the typical travel insurance product coverage.

Whilst Covid has become a blanket exclusion for those still providing coverage (in particular in the Corporate Travel space), there has still been full medical coverage whilst O/S. There hasn't however been any other covers (ie cancellation/additional expenses, repat flight costs etc).

It'll be interesting to see where it ends up next year.

Be mindful that some of these policies may not actually be "claimable" until such time as Do Not Travel restrictions are removed.
 

SeaWolf

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Was having a quick look at the insurance that comes with my AmEx Platinum card, there's nothing in there that would exclude coverage for Covid if you contracted it that I can find though the policy hasn't been updated since 2019.
Looking at their insurance page though there's a link to an advisory from Chubb that leads to a 404 page, so that's not helpful. Hopefully now that there's talk of international travel they'll do a bit of a refresh and confirm what is/isn't covered.
 

Port Power

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Was having a quick look at the insurance that comes with my AmEx Platinum card, there's nothing in there that would exclude coverage for Covid if you contracted it that I can find though the policy hasn't been updated since 2019.
Looking at their insurance page though there's a link to an advisory from Chubb that leads to a 404 page, so that's not helpful. Hopefully now that there's talk of international travel they'll do a bit of a refresh and confirm what is/isn't covered.
Is there mention of “pandemic” though?
 
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Also wondered if the Amex Platinum Charge would cover for this sort of insurance as well. Would be great if this was the case.
 

SeaWolf

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Is there mention of “pandemic” though?
Nope, no mention of pandemic in the policy doc at all. I know some policies list pandemic as an exclusion reason, but not this one.
 
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I wouldn't be so much concerned about the word pandemic being in there or not, I would be more concerned with the fact it is now a known problem ie Covid related issues are not unexpected/unforeseen.

There could also be coverage issues for trips booked prior to the Do Not Travel warnings being lifted, even when it is for travel after the expected ban lift date(s).
 

Billygoat

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I've been trying to hunt down travel insurance to meet my visa requirements for Spain. Alas, though some do have Covid coverage, it is negated by Australia's current "Do Not Travel" to everywhere worldwide except NZ. So far the only valid coverage is "medical insurance, of which some have minor travel refunds" through Patriot insurance approx $1200 for 6/12, or very expensive expat or local (Spanish) private health insurance $2000 for 6/12.

I don't depart until 6th Jan, so I have just over 2mths to get my visa. Hopefully along with not needing an exemption to leave Aust. the travel warnings will also be cancelled on Nov 1st.
Has anyone heard or read anything?
 

PineappleSkip

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Hi all, I’m on my second post COVID trip overseas and have had to research this a lot, as getting my own cover was a contract requirement. It’s also covered a lot in the FB forum I subscribe to on getting travel ban exemptions.

I’ve also spent a lot of my working days in do not travel countries over the past few years. TI has always been available for such, but through bespoke insurers at a bespoke price. Generally I’ve been under contracts where the contractor negotiates and pays a price and covers personnel. I got a quote for Mrs pineapple once for a four day stopover in KBL which was more than the airfare! Most insurers won’t cover you for ‘do not travel’ destinations, which added to the difficulty of getting cover. It’s like the Fed Govt did this on top of the travel ban to make life easy for insurers. It really makes the official travel advice for the many who have travelled meaningless.

I think the game will change in AUS once the general do not travel advisory is removed, and saw something on Covermore’s website a few weeks ago saying ‘watch this space’. Looks like they’ve released something now.

Not sure if the airlines are still offering policies, EK had an excellent policy included in the ticket price which covered multiple events. The others IIRC tended to cover only COVID, run out after 30 days or so, and you needed separate TI for everything else.
I'm currently on an extended trip in Europe (left Australia in July) and found a reasonable policy & price with these guys: WorldTrips Travel Insurance
I think that is the Atlas Travel policy, which I investigated for my current trip. It appeared to be fine. As its prime market is US, conditions were based on State.gov and CDC advisories, which didn’t have the Aust ‘don’t go anywhere’ advisory.
did not know that you could purchase TI once a trip has started,
There’s long been products for backpackers who get scared when they realise the world is a scary place. Also for expats who go on holidays that don’t start in Australia, which excludes almost all the Australian insurers. I have taken out several policies with World Nomads, but they aren’t any good for COVID coverage. Safety Wing is another, but I keep reading FB comments that it only works if you take it out after you leave Australia. It’s policy reads very like the Atlas Travel one. For this trip I went with the currently very popular Heymondo, which is reasonably priced and had reasonable cover.
I would be more concerned with the fact it is now a known problem ie Covid related issues are not unexpected/unforeseen.
Every known disease is a known problem and there is always the risk of getting one. Your cover is usually invalidated if you already have the disease. The difference with COVID is that it is a pandemic and a lot of policies exclude cover for pandemics. And at the moment there are a lot of risks around travel bans and exclusions which as noted above are often not covered. Eventually it will move from being classed a pandemic to just endemic, and life will move on.

I mentioned I went with Heymondo, which had a bit of a conflict between its do not travel exclusion and its covid cover. Below the email exchange on that point.

Note that I’m a punter, not in the industry and this is shared experience, not advice. My advice is do your homework and read the PDS!

Just checking re COVID cover ex Australia. Australia has issued a "do not travel" advisory to anywhere in the world. Australia has also issued a ban on citizens travelling overseas, but I will be departing under an exemption from the ban issued by the Australian Government.

Exclusions in ARTICLE III. A of the general conditions excludes
Any claim incident derived from a trip to a specific country or area where a relevant governmental body or authority in the country of origin and/or destination had advised against travel due to an epidemic or pandemic, without the preventive and/or mandatory measures designated for this purpose.

However your online help in relation to COVID-19 says
- Does Heymondo insurance cover even if government authorities (for example the FCDO) advise against travel? All Heymondo insurances are valid regardless of the recommendation that the competent authority of your country of origin may make. Therefore, this recommendation will not limit the coverage of our insurance in any case. The only uncovered destinations are countries in a situation of armed conflict.

In response to your message, we confirm that all travel insurance plans you see on our website cover medical assistance even in the event of a Coronavirus infection, regardless of government recommendations, regardless of the traveler's citizenship and regardless of the travel destination.

Once you have purchased the insurance, you will receive a COVID coverage certificate issued by the insurance company by email along with the certificate of the policy.

Regarding our T&C document, I'd like to drive your attention to the last sentence of the paragraph.

· without the preventive and/or mandatory measures designated for this purpose.

This means you are not covered for Pandemics if you do not respect the rules (social distance, wearing mask, PCR done if required, Vaccine done if required and so on).

So, in a nutshell, our travelers are fully covered for COVID while respecting preventive measures.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Thanks for sharing PinappleSkip! I just priced a heymondo policy for worldwide travel including USA and Europe, starting in Australia. The cost was USD120.93 for a 30 day policy including full covid coverage (including medical, any extra lodgings required and travel disruption).

Will read the PDS but this seems like a very affordable policy compared to those issued in Australia which would be double or triple the price.

**edited to add - does not cover sea cruises... in case people were wondering :) **
 
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Brissy1

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MARTINE

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Thanks for sharing PinappleSkip! I just priced a heymondo policy for worldwide travel including USA and Europe, starting in Australia. The cost was USD120.93 for a 30 day policy including full covid coverage (including medical, any extra lodgings required and travel disruption).

Will read the PDS but this seems like a very affordable policy compared to those issued in Australia which would be double or triple the price.

**edited to add - does not cover sea cruises... in case people were wondering :) **
That is an excellent price given the Covid coverage. I will explore. Having worked as a doctor our medical indemnity insurer had great annual travel cover which was about $500 w unlimited trips (included family whilst dependent and spouse) anywhere that did not have ‘do not travel’ including US/preexisting and included Covid (as I made a claim last year). As we were O/S 2-3 trips per year this was wonderful value.1 July 20 (when it gets renewed) pandemic coverage gone as was 1 July 21.
 
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N860CR

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Thanks for sharing PinappleSkip! I just priced a heymondo policy for worldwide travel including USA and Europe, starting in Australia. The cost was USD120.93 for a 30 day policy including full covid coverage (including medical, any extra lodgings required and travel disruption).

Will read the PDS but this seems like a very affordable policy compared to those issued in Australia which would be double or triple the price.

**edited to add - does not cover sea cruises... in case people were wondering :) **

Looks like a very good policy. Takes away a little of the stress regarding testing positive and losing your return flight. Could be a costly exercise for the insurer at the moment!
 

levelnine

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I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Do Not Travel' rating for most countries is removed come 1 November with the lifting of the travel ban. Should make insurance a lot more accessible.
 

Mattg

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I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Do Not Travel' rating for most countries is removed come 1 November with the lifting of the travel ban. Should make insurance a lot more accessible.
You would have to think so.

Although, with a week to go until international borders swing open, I'm surprised that the issue of international travel insurance still remains largely unresolved for now. It's one of the key reasons I personally am just waiting and watching before booking my flights to Europe for the end of this year.

Hopefully the Do Not Travel warnings will be removed and we'll get some more clarity from insurers next week.
 

levelnine

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You would have to think so.
And there we go:
With international travel back on the cards from November 1 – at least out of Sydney and Melbourne – and thousands of Australians headed overseas for the first time in over 18 months, the government will this week revise its travel warnings for almost 200 countries.
Details still TBA.
 
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