As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation progresses around the world, an increasing number of countries are closing their borders or calling their citizens to return home.
While this is happening, there are still travelers who are either stranded in places like Bali or South America, or who have simply chosen not to return home just yet. Among those travelers still abroad, many are wondering if their travel insurance covers coronavirus-related issues, such as doctor’s visits, treatment, prescription drugs, canceled flights, or quarantine-related expenses. And if they don’t have travel insurance, is it too late to purchase a travel insurance plan?
The short answer: it depends.
At the moment, the situation is fluid, to say the least, and coronavirus policies vary from company to company. To hopefully provide some clarity, we took a look at two of the most popular travel insurance companies – SafetyWing and World Nomads to see how their insurance covers the coronavirus.
Does SafetyWing Cover the Coronavirus?
SafetyWing policies typically provide coverage for unexpected illness or injury, including eligible expenses for hospital, doctor, or prescription drugs while traveling.
Fortunately, according to SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance FAQ page, SafetyWing covers Covid-19 the same as any other illness, as long as you didn’t contract it before your coverage start date or it doesn’t fall under any other policy limits or exclusions.
Does Safety Wing cover COVID-19 testing or quarantine?
SafetyWing covers both Covid testing and quarantine under specific conditions.
SafetyWing will cover Covid testing if a physician deems it medically necessary. They do not cover antibody tests because they aren’t medically necessary.
SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance now covers quarantine outside of your home country for $50/day for a period of 10 days. This policy is limited to one occurrence within 364 days.
Quarantine is covered if it is mandated by a governmental authority or physician because you tested positive for Covid or you are symptomatic and awaiting test results.
Does World Nomads Cover the Coronavirus?
World Nomads travel insurance goes beyond just medical insurance. World Nomads insurance also typically covers a wide range of travel-related occurrences, such as medical costs, delayed baggage, emergency dental costs, trip cancelations, and electronics.
As for coronavirus coverage, World Nomads does not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by U.S. residents. However, similar to SafetyWing, it’s not that straightforward.
According to the World Nomads coronavirus FAQ page, policyholders can submit claims for themselves or a travel companion who contracts the COVID-19 or goes under quarantine when traveling. Benefits are based on your policy and can include emergency medical care and trip interruption coverage.
In the event of things like border closings or travel bans, policies may include travel delay coverage if scheduled transportation is set back for at least six hours.
However, don’t start submitting that claim just yet.
World Nomads also states that coverage does not apply when travel warnings or travel bans are announced and advises travelers to consult the trip cancellation section of their own policy to see which specific events are covered.
Can I Get Travel Insurance Coverage if I'm Still Abroad?
Fortunately, you can still purchase insurance if you’re out of the country. As of right now, it’s a bit easier to do this through SafetyWing than World Nomads.
With Safetywing, coverage can still be purchased at any given time, even if you're already overseas. Your insurance will remain completely valid.
As for World Nomads, they’ve temporarily suspended sales on all travel insurance plans for all countries with the exception of America. If you’re American and you purchase a policy through World Nomads USA, you could still receive benefits for losses covered by the plan if you, your travel companion or a family member were to become sick (after you purchase the plan) as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
What to Do if You’re Still Abroad?
It’s not advisable to travel internationally at the moment. If you’re already abroad, your best bet is to contact your insurer and see how they can assist you, as things are changing daily.
Beyond that, do your best to stay in place and make sure that you’re up to date on lockdowns and border closures. Below are some relevant links to help you stay informed.
World Health Organization Travel Advice
International Air Transport Association List of Entry Requirements and Restrictions for Each Country
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BY: JESSE NEUGARTEN, CEO & FOUNDER
Jesse originally founded Dollar Flight Club in 2016 to harness his flight finding skills for friends and family. Years later, Jesse and the Dollar Flight Club team parse through the data to deliver the best flight deals to their more than 1,000,000 members. His favorite recent destinations of choice have been Greece, Mexico, France, and Sweden.