By: Amanda Hand
Amanda is a freelance writer in the travel insurance industry. She currently works with G1G Travel Insurance as a content manager. She loves to travel, freedive, and try foreign cuisine.
While many travel plans are on hold in 2020-2021, we can begin planning your next trip without worrying about lost investments and the high costs of adequate medical care. The key? Buy travel insurance and know how it works in light of the pandemic. This article walks you through the benefits that make a difference and how you can use them to your advantage.
Over the course of my seven-year travel career, I have often imagined myself at far-off destinations. I envision the Belizean rainforest’s effervescent landscapes, feel the contentment that arises when walking cobblestone streets of Havana and romanticize being among strangers, coffee in hand as I observe bustling locals going about their daily lives.
I’ve had the immense privilege of traveling regularly as an industry professional, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that my wanderlust ran rampant as my mobility became restricted in light of the pandemic. But now, I find myself daydreaming of Nicaragua, Botswana, and Thailand more times than I can count in a day. And I’ll do anything to keep those dreams alive.
Knowing that I will be fully vaccinated by May means that I can begin planning the next adventure. As I narrow down the destinations, leaning on my expertise to bolster enough confidence to make that first payment, I realize that the trust required for booking travel must be hard to come by these days. And it’s no surprise why––education around travel insurance is lacking, and the pandemic decimated more dream trips than we dare to count.
I want to share the ways others can find that trust again, so they can feel good about navigating the process in a world forever changed by the pandemic.
While my visions of travel are kept alive with the insight of a travel insurance pro, I know I’m not the only one dreaming of an escape at the first chance I can get. Here is how you can begin planning a trip sooner than you may have thought possible.
Know that the coronavirus is treated like any other sickness
Knowing that COVID-19 is treated like any other disease or illness is an absolute must for any travel insurance plan. It affects coverage in several ways. A pandemic exclusion written in the fine print can cost you thousands of dollars from medical treatment, and hospital stays to trip cancellations and interruptions.
“Is COVID-19 treated like any other disease or illness?” should be the first question you ask as you begin shopping for a plan.
Here are 5 examples of when this can matter if you get sick with COVID-19:
- If you are quarantined
- If a doctor orders COVID-19 testing for you
- If you need to be evacuated because hospitals can’t treat you
- If you need medical treatment
- If you cancel your trip because you got COVID-19 or are quarantined for symptoms and exposure
Buy a cancel for any reason plan
You don’t dream of canceling your trip––until you have to. The pandemic has shown us that travel plans can change instantly, and no one wants the uncertainty. Cancel for any reason travel insurance plans give you the flexibility to cancel your trip for reasons otherwise not covered. This means complete control over your trip without running the risk of losing the money you’ve invested.
Think of it like this: you buy a standard trip cancellation plan, and we’ll say cancel for any reason is not included. Two weeks before your trip, a city listed on your itinerary has a serious COVID-19 outbreak. Borders aren’t closed, but you don’t think the trip is worth the risk.
You cancel your plans only to find out later that fear of getting sick isn’t covered. You lose all of the prepaid expenses. If you had cancel for any reason, you would have only lost a quarter of your trip investment.
Cancel for any reason doesn’t come without caveats, so be sure you understand eligibility requirements before buying. To help you out, I’ve outlined the most common ones below:
- You must buy your plan within 7-21 of your first trip payment or deposit.
- You must cancel 48 hours or more before your scheduled trip departure.
- Most plans require that you cover the total cost of your trip––any nonrefundable expenses.
Include trip interruption for any reason
Much like cancel for any reason, this benefit is available with some travel insurance plans and allows you to interrupt your trip for any reason. It’s helpful in the current climate because, as I mentioned above, circumstances change by the minute.
Travelers worldwide have arrived at their destination only to be turned away by customs at the border. With no backup plan, they’ve been left scrambling, waiting for the next available flight to get them home. And they were responsible for the total costs.
Trip interruption for any reason can help. It will cover 75% of any lost, prepaid expenses––think excursions, accommodations, tours, etc. It will also cover 75% of the costs it takes to get you to your original return destination.
The problem with this benefit is that, depending on the plan, it is only activated 72 hours after your scheduled departure. If you pull the plug and return home sooner than the three-day requirement, coverage won’t apply. I recommend this benefit to anyone traveling with more extended layovers or multiple destination cities.
Emergency medical evacuation coverage is a must
I have often wondered how travelers fail to see the importance of emergency medical evacuation coverage throughout my career. I don’t mean to sound indignant; I blame this partly on positivity bias, the tendency to favor positive information when reasoning, and think we all tend to avoid thinking of personal catastrophe. But emergency evacuations are very real and extremely expensive. We must talk about how that might show up during and after a global pandemic.
When the coronavirus overwhelms local hospitals, it may be necessary for foreigners to evacuate to receive treatment. It’s possible that your case may be severe and adequate care isn’t readily available. Regardless of the reason, a medical evacuation isn’t possible without this coverage, not unless you can afford to pay for it upfront.
Know that quarantine coverage is available
Imagine being halfway through your seven-day trip only to test positive for the coronavirus. Not only will you be quarantined for days, but you will now miss your return flight and be responsible for the costs of quarantine lodging.
A travel insurance plan with trip interruption should cover all, at the very least most, of those unexpected costs. That’s if it covers your involuntary quarantine, which is always stated in the plan documents.
This specific scenario classifies as a trip interruption because your sickness canceled the rest of your trip. Things you paid for ahead of time, like snorkeling outings and unfinished cruising or safari days, would be refundable.
To make the most of trip interruption, you should cover any nonrefundable trip payments.
A few things to know about covering your trip costs
It’s crucial that you understand the concept of insuring your trip cost regarding benefits like cancel for any reason, trip cancellation, and interruption. The amount you insure, which is nonrefundable, is what can be paid to you when you file a claim.
If you get a refund for any part of your trip during the cancellation or interruption process, you will subtract that from the maximum claim payout.
Knowing that the travel industry will be opening its borders again isn’t enough. It’s going to take time to see the full effects of the pandemic––especially the unforeseen implications that await–– and travelers need assurance that they won’t lose money. More importantly, travelers need emergency medical and evacuation coverage should they face the unimaginable. So long as you choose a travel insurance plan covering COVID-19, you can manifest your travel dreams into reality with an easy conscience.
Lucid Routes uses G1G Travel Insurance for every trip
Lucid Routes is a fan of G1G Travel Insurance. They offer several plans from differing companies, ensuring that you get the best comparison. Their AI bot, ITIRA, matches you with the best travel insurance for your trip and tells you precisely what is and isn’t covered upfront. Read more about why we recommend G1G here.
Lucid Routes is an affiliate partner of G1G.com. We receive a commission for any sales made by clicking on the link below. For questions about travel insurance, contact G1G. The above article is written for informational purposes only and does not guarantee coverage under any circumstance. If you are unsure of how coverage applies, be sure to ask G1G for help.