Emirates will shortly cease offering free multi-risk travel insurance with every ticket sold, which includes cover for COVID-19.
Emirates became the first airline last year to offer free travel insurance to all its passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic – at a time when policies were not being offered by many traditional travel insurance providers. Since then, a small number of other airlines including Etihad Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and WestJet have also offered COVID-19 insurance cover to passengers at various points as an automatic inclusion when buying an international ticket.
Emirates continues to offer free COVID-19 travel insurance with all tickets purchased until 30 November 2021. But the insurance will no longer be provided – at least in its current form – with tickets purchased from next month.
What does Emirates’ free travel insurance cover?
Emirates multi-risk travel insurance includes automatic coverage for multiple risks relating to coronavirus, including:
- Overseas medical expenses and evacuation costs
- Cancellation costs if your trip is cancelled due to you or a relative contracting COVID-19, or changes to school holiday dates
- Cancellation costs if you fail a COVID-19 test at the airport and are unable to continue your trip
- Up to USD150 per day if you are unexpectedly placed into quarantine due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being identified as a close contact
The Emirates insurance provides cover during your journey and for the entire stay at your destination, if you’ve booked a return ticket with a stay at the destination of up to a year. For one-way flights, you’ll be covered up to 48 hours after arriving at your destination, and for a further month for emergency medical expenses and quarantine costs.
Cover is available when travelling to most countries, except destinations subject to “comprehensive international sanctions” such as Iran, Cuba, Syria or North Korea. The policy is underwritten by American International Group.
Which Emirates tickets are eligible for automatic travel insurance?
The free Emirates COVID-19 insurance is automatically available with all Emirates-issued tickets, including codeshare flights operated by Emirates’ partner airlines. The main condition is that the ticket must be on Emirates ticket stock (i.e. the ticket number starts with 176). Emirates award flights booked using Skywards miles are also eligible, but not flights booked through partner airlines (such as Emirates flights booked using Qantas points or as a Qantas codeshare with a “QF” flight number).
The free insurance will continue to be available on all Emirates flights booked until 30 November 2021, even if your travel is after this date. However, it would not apply if you cancelled and rebooked your ticket after this date, receiving a new ticket number in the process. See the Emirates website for more information.
Some other airlines continue to offer free COVID-19 insurance
Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways and Japan Airlines also continue to offer COVID-19 insurance with all international tickets, although these limited-time offers will also come to an end soon.
Cathay Pacific’s coverage only applies to trips commenced by the end of 2021, while Japan Airlines will only cover flights departing until 10 January 2022. Etihad Airways will continue to offer insurance for trips completed by 31 March 2022 only.
If you’ll be flying by these dates – or will be ready to book with Emirates by next Tuesday (30 November), the free travel insurance on offer is not shabby at all. Even though paid international travel insurance is now available to Australians again, the airline policies may offer adequate cover depending on your needs and destination.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Airlines offering free covid insurance